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What Are Doorway Pages and Why Google Penalises Them

SEO 10th Jun 2015

This is the transcript from our new video so it may not read as well as a normal blog post would.

Hello. Today I’m going to be talking about doorway pages. In March, Google’s Search Team introduced a ranking algorithm adjustment which targeted doorway pages.

So, what are doorway pages? Doorway pages are pages that are designed specifically for ranking benefits. They consider search engines, but not users.

So there are a number of types of doorway pages. Two commonly seen are cloaking and redirection pages. These are pages designed for search engines to see, but users don’t see these pages. If you click on one of these pages in the SERPs, you’re instantly redirected to a more useful page.

Content rich doorway pages, these have had design slightly in mind, but again the information on those pages aren’t actually useful and they require you to take an extra step to find the information that you’ve actually searched for in Google.

So there’s common confusion between a doorway page and a landing page. A doorway page, again, is a page that requires the user to take an extra step to find the information they’re looking for. Entirely designed for ranking benefits. There’s nothing there for the user to see.

A landing page is a page specifically designed to convert. So an example would be if you’ve got a paid campaign for shoes, the landing page for that paid campaign would be shoes, specifically what the user would want to see.

So why are doorway pages used? Again, they’re for ranking gains. That’s the main purpose. So an example of this would be if you’re a plumber in Southampton, if you want to target different areas but you only have one building, which is in Southampton, you would create, say, plumber in Portsmouth, plumber in Bournemouth, you would create those sort of doorway pages. This is an attempt to sort of monopolise on local searches for your certain keyword.

One thing to be aware of is if you’re a franchise and you have physical buildings in different areas, Google says in their guidelines that it’s okay to have a URL dedicated to those locations. So as long as the information is unique and relevant and useful to the user and you have a physical building in that location, it’s okay to target this sort of pizza shop in Portsmouth or something like that.

Why is Google making a fuss? Well, Google is trying to sell a product. Google’s main objective is to provide as useful information as it can for their users. Doorway pages go completely against this. Doorway pages are just trying to get users to their website, and they require a user to click through to find more information on which they’re originally trying to search.

So what should I do? Well, the first thing is if you feel like you’ve got doorway pages on your website, ask yourself these three questions: Is the information useful to the user? Is the user going to find the information they’re looking for? And are there no unnecessary steps for the user to take on this page?

If the answer is no to all of the above, it’s likely you’ve got yourself a doorway page. I’d remove it. Basically, remove it. Doorway pages are getting penalised, and (a) it’s not worth the risk, and (b) it has a bad representation of your brand in the eyes of both search engines and users.

It’s important to start creating pages that have users in mind and not search engines. Think user, not search engine.

If you’d like any more information on doorway pages or any Google ranking algorithm changes, then please contact me today. I’m on Twitter @LukeTheMono or contact Koozai today for more information. See you later.

Luke Monaghan
About the author

Luke Monaghan

Luke’s a pretty chilled guy with a dry sense of humour. He loves his music and is your go-to guy for all things Adele. If he could have a song to describe his life, it would be Queen, Don’t Stop Me Now, so he’s pretty ambitious and up for a good time. His party trick is making the sound of dripping water with his mouth – see… that’s a good time!

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