Google announced an upcoming change in their ranking algorithm for “doorway pages” and are advising users to stop using them. What are doorway pages? They are special pages designed to help a website rank for a particular keyword or phrase that has very little to do with the rest of the content on the site. They are written for the search engine in order to trick users to visit their site with irrelevant information with little to nothing to do with the actual site and Google doesn’t like it.
In a recent Google announcement, they advised users that:
We have a long-standing view that doorway pages that are created solely for search engines can harm the quality of the 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, we’ve seen sites try to maximize their “search footprint” without adding clear, unique value. These doorway campaigns manifest themselves as pages on a site, as a number of domains, or a combination thereof. To improve the quality of search results for our users, we’ll soon launch a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages. Sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns might see a broad impact from this change.
Are you using “doorway pages” on your website? If you’re unsure, Google suggests you ask yourself these questions:
- 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’ve answered “yes” to any of the questions posted above then chances are you have “doorway” pages on your website. You should remove them or rewrite them so you don’t get penalized by Google.
If you have further questions, Google has published some important information, definitions, and guidelines. See the links below:
Google’s definition of a doorway page along with questions to determine if you’re using them.
An update on doorway pages on the Google Webmaster Blog.