Google is implementing new algorithm updates in an attempt to reduce the listing of “doorway pages” in organic search results. Doorway pages are also known as gateway pages, bridge pages, jump pages, portal pages and entry pages. Doorway pages redirect users, without the visitor knowing what is happening, via some form of cloaking. Many people who hire Phoenix SEO company are wondering how Google’s update on doorway pages will affect SEO and internet marketing.
First, Google’s description of doorway pages isn’t clear. However, Google stated that their update targeting doorway pages will focus on the following:
• Sites with multiple pages and unique domains targeted at funneling traffic from specific regions to one site.
• Pages generated solely to funnel visitors to specific parts of a website.
• Pages with noticeably similar content which are closer to the search results than actual site content.
In Google’s definition the point of emphasis is the word “funnel.” Most websites have a defined “conversion funnel,” meaning the path by which the web programmer wants visitors to take when visiting their site.
What Exactly Constitutes a Doorway Page?
Doorway pages are individual pages created solely for spamming search engine indexes, referred to as “spamdexing.” They work by implanting results for specific phrases with the intent to send visitors to a different webpage. Spamdexing gets to the core of what Google is seeking to prevent. The search giant wants to cut websites created just for search engine results, then redirecting a visitor to a different page.
It’s important to note that Google’s intent in going after doorway pages is to target superfluous pages. Undesired sites that are shells using HTML and keywords to target users, but don’t provide tangible value. Google’s Panda algorithm, released in February of 2011, is designed to penalize these types pages. However, “content-rich” doorway pages may be getting past Google’s Panda algorithm.
Content-rich doorways are also used to garner high placement in organic search results, but without using redirection. Content-rich doorways incorporate navigation and design that is like the main website page. Designed to provide a more natural and human-friendly appearance where users are provided with standard navigation as calls to action. Examples of content-rich doorways are law-firm micro sites which have many domain names or templates with keyword content to achieve higher rank in search results. Even content-rich doorways will be targeted by Google’s new algorithm if there are no links from the main site to the doorway page.
Often sites will fit the “spamdex,” definition even if the site doesn’t use redirects to funnel users to a different page. Many spamdexing pages encourage visitors to convert from the doorway page, instead of funneling them to a more appropriate page on the site. These types of content-rich doorways don’t fit within Google’s doorway definition.
Questions for Marketing and SEO Strategies
Like Panda, Google’s new algorithm will have noticeable consequences for SEOs and internet marketers if they don’t learn how to play ball with Google. To help internet marketers and SEO strategists better understand Google’s guidelines, here are a few questions to ask of pages that could be seen as doorways:
• Is the purpose of the page solely to optimize for search results and funnel users into the actual usable portion of the website, instead of the page being an essential part of the website’s experience?
• Are the webpages designed to rank on generic search terms, but with the actual page content being precise and specific?
• Does the webpage replicate beneficial accumulations of data, such as locations and products, which are already present on other pages of the website?
• Are pages made only for attracting traffic from affiliates and to funnel visitors without generating unique content or functionality?
• Is the page difficult, or impossible, to reach from other pages of the site?
If the answer to all the above questions is “no” then the page shouldn’t be targeted by Google’s doorway page update. If the answer to any of those question is “yes” then it’s a good time to make some changes to your webpages and hire professional Phoenix SEO experts.