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Google Sets Guidelines for SEO Doorway Pages

Google recently announced that it will soon introduce a search ranking adjustment to clamp down on the use of web pages that are created solely for search engines. This is very important for webmasters and online marketers, as sites with large and well-established ‘doorway page’ campaigns might see a negative impact from this change.

Google’s Search Quality team is continually working on ways in which to minimise the impact of ‘webspam’ on users. This includes targeting these so-called ‘doorway pages’ as they have a long-standing view that such webpages are developed only to improve rankings on search engines, which in turn can harm the quality of a user’s search experience. For example, searchers might get a list of results that all go to the same site, so if a user clicks on one result, doesn’t like it, and then tries the next result in the search results page and is taken to that same site that they didn’t like, that’s a really frustrating experience.

Over time, Google’s seen sites try to maximise their ‘search footprint’ without adding clear, unique value. These doorway campaigns manifest themselves as multiple pages on a site, or across a number of domains. To improve the quality of search results for Google’s users, it will soon be introducing a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages and this could have a dramatic impact on the rankings of sites that use this unfavourable SEO technique.

To help webmasters better understand their guidelines, Google has added clarifying examples and freshened its definition of doorway pages in its Quality Guidelines for Webmasters. Therefore here are questions to ask of pages that could be seen as doorway pages:

  • Is the purpose to optimise for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of the 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?

Therefore it’s essential that webmasters who have previously used ‘doorway’ pages take notice of this imminent change and edit their website accordingly. You can read more about Google’s ‘doorway’ page guidelines here.

If you want to know more about how the use of these pages could seriously impact your business’s rankings on Google, contact us now.