Google just announced another big change in algorithm, and this time it’s targeting doorway pages. I will explain doorway pages in a bit, for now this news is important for all the bloggers, and affiliate marketers. This news sounded like a part of Panda, as this target pages with low-quality pages. I talked about low-quality pages, earlier here.
According to search engine perspective, a low-quality pages could be a page with less or irrelevant information, at the same time it could be archive pages, which are never the direct answer to a single query. To add more perspective to it, let’s look at the official announcement by Google webmaster team.
Doorways are sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.
- Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s)
Above point explicitly says, that when a user query for a result, they land on actual result page, after clicking on a link from the resulting page of domain.
That is how tags, categories, and author archive works. Even in my case-study of recovering from Google Panda, I specifically mentioned tags, and categories are one primary culprit for Panda penalty. So if you are on WordPress, I would recommend you to no-index tags and categories. If you are on BlogSpot, ensure that your labels are not indexed in search engine.
Doorway Pages SEO could destroy your affiliate site:
Remember when Google rolled out exact match domain penalty, whose target was to penalise exact match domains, which have few or more low-quality content, and created solely for taking advantage of keyword in domain.
Similarly in Doorway pages SEO, webmaster team mentioned:
- Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?
That means, this penalty will affect those micro-niche or affiliate sites, which are created for generating affiliate revenue, without providing any value to the reader. This is a good news for those affiliate marketers, who have affiliate site with high-quality, and original content. At the same time, this is bad for many affiliate webmasters who create crappy affiliate site, without adding any value to the reader.
If you have an affiliate site with few quality content, I recommend you to improve all your low or medium quality content, to make it high-quality, and useful for readers.
Apart from all above there are few more kind of pages which fall in the category of Doorway pages. You can see them in the below screenshot:
Like last few algorithm roll-out, there are chances that this algorithm change might affect legit websites too. If that happens to you, don’t be too surprised, as it happened in the past with others. At that time, Just look at the factor which you can work to improve the quality of site, and wait for someone to share his experience of recovering from Doorway pages penalty.
It will also be interesting to see, if doorway pages algorithm will effect landing pages, which are created to capture email leads, and in turn send a free downloadable eBook. Because such pages, doesn’t directly answer the queries, and lead you to another action/page.
Here is an example of one of many such indexed pages from Hubspot, which is also one of my favorite resources for learning.
How to check your site for Doorway pages:
The easiest way to check your site Doorway pages from Google point of view is. Go to Google.com and type site:domain.com
Replace domain.com with your actual domain name. This will show all the indexed pages from your blog/website. Check if any of your archive pages (tags, categories, author), or search results pages are not indexed in search engine. If it is, you should no-index them.
Make sure to go to the last page of the search result, and click on omitted search results, and again check the search results till the last page.
According to Google, many unethical SEO companies create doorway pages on a client site, and load it with keywords and links. Here is exact words:
Another illicit practice is to place “doorway” pages loaded with keywords on the client’s site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO’s other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.
There is no definite date for the launch of Doorway pages penalty, but I would suggest you to take action right away, and ensure your site doesn’t get penalize when such algorithm rolls out.
Useful stuff to read:
Do you think indexed email capture will be treated as Doorway pages from search engine point of view? According to you, What other factors a webmaster should consider keeping their website safe from Doorways page SEO penalty?