Google’s Doorway Pages Algorithm Update

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POSTED ON 22nd April 2015

Got doorways in your site? Consider yourself warned!

Google is launching a new doorway page penalty algorithm that will effectively remove doorway pages or those nuisance links which appear high on page rankings even if they have little or no value to users. This form of spamdexing is purposely designed to trick search engines. They work  by stuffing specific keywords or phrases to multiple low-quality web pages that redirect users to a single page destination which is often irrelevant to what the users are looking for. This is considered a Black Hat SEO, therefore, Google hates it and has been penalising these sorts of tactics for some time. Now Google is getting even tougher.

Here are what Google considers doorway pages:

  • Pages having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page.
  • Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s).
  • Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browseable hierarchy.

Doorway pages also go by other names such as portal pages, jump pages, gateway pages, or entry pages. But they’re definitely not landing pages. If you can’t reach the page by following the site navigation, then it is a doorway page.

This latest update from Google is both good news for its users and a stern warning for those websites using this spamming trick.

But what if you are unaware you have doorway pages? Google suggests you ask yourself these questions to determine if your pages are at risk of disappearing from Google search results:

  • Is the purpose to optimize for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of your site’s user experience?
  • Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?
  • Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?
  • Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?
  • Do these pages exist as an “island?” Are they difficult or impossible to navigate to from other parts of your site? Are links to such pages from other pages within the site or network of sites created just for search engines?

SEO experts suggest that you also check your website for orphan pages. An orphan page is a page that is not linked back to the homepage, or the rest of the site. It has no call to action, therefore, considered a dead end. This pages may be considered by search engines as doorway pages.

Here are a few things you can do to avoid penalties from Google:

  • Make sure you have a user-friendly website. It should have a well-designed and structured navigation system so your website visitors won’t have a hard time navigating your site. Check and remove any link which is repeated. Getting rid of redundancy in links will save you from Google penalty updates on doorway pages.
  • Avoid empty and hard-to-find pages. As you rid your site(s) of redundant links, considering cleaning up those empty/under construction pages as well including pages that are difficult or impossible for user to find.
  • Review all your existing content. Check if all the pages on your site provide valuable information to users and are not created just for the sake of particular keywords.
  • Try to avoid sub domain. Since search engines keep different metrics for domains than they do subdomains, it is highly recommended to place link-worthy content like blogs in subfolders rather than subdomains (e.g. www.example.com/blog/ rather than blog.example.com). Google may see subdomains as doorway pages.
  • Create original content. In SEO, original content is the king – remember this. There you produce more original content, search engines will help you get more exposure. It’s the only way to increase your website traffic.

Don’t create multiple sites for your business. Totally different services might make sense on different domains, but a marketing consultancy firm having a different domain for each area of marketing they practice, for each city they service is probably stretching it. And if all of your domains use the same phone number or link to the same contact form, Google will likely boot you out of their index.

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