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Algorithmic Adjustment Approaching
Google recently announced they will be updating the search algorithm with a Doorway Page Penalty. If you needed further evidence to read, understand and follow quality White Hat SEO guidelines, here it is. In this post I’ll explain what a doorway page is and why it will get your website into trouble.
Why Doorways Aren’t Searcher Friendly
Doorways are websites or pages created only for search rankings; they don’t exist to help human searchers answer questions. Often doorway pages are created so the same page can show up multiple times on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
According to Google’s definition of a doorway page, they cite these as examples:
- Multiple domains/pages targeted at specific cities or regions to funnel searches to one page
- Pages created to funnel visitors into other usable or relevant portion of a site
- Similar pages that don’t adhere to a clearly defined, browsable hierarchy
Here is an example of a doorway page: CarGurus.com (intentionally didn’t provide a link as we don’t want to give them any Google SEO juice ;). The purpose of this page doesn’t help the human searcher find what they are looking for quickly. It’s a page full of links. It doesn’t answer questions, and forces the user onto pages that don’t necessarily help them find information they actually seek.
According to Google’s Brian White, “the doorway page penalty is meant to discourage Webmasters who are trying to “maximize their search footprint without adding clear, unique value.” He further warned: “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.”
You can read about Google’s Doorway Page Penalty announcement on yesterday’s Webmaster Central Blog.
How to Avoid Doorway Page Penalty
If you already employ White Hat SEO techniques on your website, then there’s no real reason to worry. If you’re not sure, here are questions to ask:
- What’s the purpose of the page? Was it created to solely rank for a search term or drive traffic from an affiliate site? If so, then it’s a risky move; the doorway page penalty may apply.
- Are their duplicate versions of this page, where the content is generally the same? Uh-oh… another red flag.
- Can you navigate to this page easily? Google frowns upon “island” pages.
Ideally every page on your website should answer a question. The page’s content should feel natural to a human. It should provide information that enhances a user’s experience of your website.
If the page’s content looks contrived, then I suggest you rewrite it…. preferably before the doorway page penalty is launched.
What do you think of naming this latest penalty “Badger?” It has long claws and it’s related to the weasel. Perfect!
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