Google is always updating it’s ranking algorithim – This update came out a while back, but it’s still something SEO Managers add to client’s websites without fulling understanding the penalty involved.
When was the last time you encountered a doorway pages in Google’s search results? Although this doesn’t happen very often, Google seems to think that doorway pages are an issue. In the official Google blog, Google has a strict penalty for the use doorway pages.
What is a doorway page?
According to Google’s announcement, doorway pages are pages that are created solely for search engines.
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.
How can you identify doorway pages on your website?
Google published a list of questions to ask of pages that could be seen as doorway pages:
- 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?
If you can answer these pages with “yes”, chances are that Google thinks that your page is a doorway page.
Will this doorway pages ranking penalty affect AdWords landing pages?
- Most of the things above also apply to landing pages that are used in Google AdWords campaigns.
- It is considered good practice to use individual landing pages for each ad group. Landing pages that have a strong connection to the ad text usually convert better than general landing pages.
- Will Google penalize these landing pages? Unfortunately, that’s not clear yet.
- Landing pages are good for pay per click campaigns but they are not suitable for organic search engine optimization. High rankings on Google and other search engines are the result of on-site and off-site optimization.