Doorway pages add no new value to a site and inconvenience users, so it makes sense that Google has taken action to penalise use of them. Here, we explain what doorway pages are and why you should avoid them.
What are doorway pages?
Doorway pages are low-quality pages created to rank well for particular keywords and search phrases. They’re designed primarily for search engines and without value for users in mind. These pages exist solely to drive traffic, acting like a funnel to a main site.
Types of doorway pages
Cloaking/redirection doorway pages – A doorway which presents one page to search engines which is completely different to that seen by a user, created entirely for ranking purposes. When a user lands on this type of doorway page they are instantly redirected to a different, generally more useful page within a site. These pages are created to funnel users to the actually relevant part of your site.
Content rich doorway pages – Pages that are seen by the user and have no redirection, however are designed mostly with search engines in mind. Though these types of pages somewhat consider user experience, with more thought over design and navigation, they still provide visitors with low value content and offer an overall poor user experience.
Most common doorway page
One of the most frequently seen types of doorway pages are domain names or pages made to help a site rank for different regions or cities but that funnel users to the same page. For example, if a website were trying to rank for ‘London’, they might have a site or domain name like “London widget”, existing purely to enter the word ‘London’ so that search engines rank the site for this term.
How to rank well for multiple cities
Instead of creating doorway pages intended to help your site rank for multiple locations, there are a number of more valuable ways to do so.
– First, accept that it’s impossible to rank well for a number of cities because your services are not as useful to every city.
– Begin by focusing on one city, and create useful content that engages with people of your chosen city. Research and get to know that city
– Target cities with regional offers and discounts
– Consider targeting regions that are not typically targeted
Doorway pages and Google
In 2015 Google announced a new doorway page penalty algorithm to decrease the likelihood of doorway pages ranking in search results. This is to prevent sites from trying to maximise their search footprint and rank for multiple pages in search results which all lead back to the same destination.
The Google webmaster guidelines state that you should “avoid doorway pages”. The reason Google doesn’t like to rank these pages is because they often provide minimal value to a user.
Is my page is a doorway page?
If any of the following apply to you, you have a doorway page.
- If the purpose of the page is to optimise for search engines and funnel visitors to the actually relevant part of your site
- If the page is intended to rank for generic terms but the presented content is highly specific
- If the pages duplicate aggregations of of items (locations, products) that already exist on the site in order to drive more search traffic
- If the page serves the sole purpose of drawing traffic instead of creating original or valuable content for a user
- If the page is an “island”, i.e difficult to navigate to or from other areas of your site
- If the only difference between the content or titles of your pages is the name of the city
It’s important to remember that Google ranks pages that it thinks users will like. Doorway pages don’t consider user experience and usually don’t offer useful content to visitors. If you want to drive traffic to your site, the best and most sustainable way of doing so is to produce valuable content that sincerely appeals to users, not just content optimised for search engines.