If you produce a variety of doorway pages to increase search traffic to your website, well, your goose is about to be cooked. Today, Google announced that they’ll be cracking down on doorway pages that don’t offer enhanced user experiences.
Regarding the new doorway algorithm change, Google’s Brian White explains that:
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.
What is a doorway page, you ask? If you’re asking, you probably don’t need to worry about it unless your site is in the hands of an SEO other than you. Google offers the following examples of doorway pages:
Having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page.
Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s).
Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browseable hierarchy.
These pages may frustrate users who’ve clicked on one, two, or three page variations only to return to the same site again. It’s conceivable that some users migrate to alternative search engines at that point. The doorway page that dazzles the user with a cool initial hook, but then offers no unique or catered content once he or she arrives on the site, has been put on notice.
Google suggests that you ask these questions about your site’s 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?
This algorithm is sure to cause big headaches for some- especially companies that operate with extensive networks of doorway pages. Check with your SEO to see if your website might be a causality of this latest algorithm update. You’ll need to eliminate doorway pages or provide unique content and functionality for each.