What is a Doorway Page for SEO? Where’s the Line?

Google has issued a warning that soon – and very soon – they will be penalized so-called “doorway pages.”  You can read the official blog post, here.  Here’s the warning:

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.

Hmmmmmmm.

Doorway Pages and SEO

doorway-pages-and-seoA “doorway page” is usually a set of geographic pages that are closely linked / related to each other and “mimic” logical searches done by users. In most cases the website in question is in a conundrum. If they create “doorway pages,” they are technically in violation of Google’s policy. If they do not, they have the proverbial snowball’s chance in Hell of showing on relevant searches.  Google’s solution?  AdWords (of course).

But there’s a fine line between just flat out terrible doorway pages, and pages that DO provide some value. So to be more on the “white hat” side of this – if you find that your customers search by many similar terms (usually, but not always cities), you might brainstorm a way to create USEFUL content that also reflects logical searches. We’re doing this – for example – by building out a directory of “continuing education” classes (in the so-called “real world”) that are complementary to (but not the same as) our online courses in SEO, Social Media Marketing, and AdWords. We find many people first want a continuing education class at a local university (if one exists), and if not, they’ll try our online SEO classes.

So we’re providing value by researching the continuing ed programs… and we’re working on showing in relevant searches.  It’s win/win.

So reading the announcement you might reconsider any “low quality” pages you have that are heavily duplicate of each other.  Don’t freak out – Google’s worrying about the user experience (and a bit nefariously why we should all advertise on AdWords)… The trick is to identify something of value AND something the reflects the search query. But isn’t that what SEO is all about: putting your best foot forward?

Here are some new articles and commentary on “doorway pages”

What are your thoughts on Doorway Pages?  Tweet to us at http://twitter.com/jmgrp.

What is a Doorway Page for SEO? Where’s the Line?
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Jason McDonald

About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason’s motto as a consultant is that he doesn’t do SEO ‘for you’ but rather he does SEO ‘with you.’ That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.