Google have announced via their Webmaster Central Blog, that they will soon be launching a ranking adjustment that specifically targets doorway pages. The update will have a negative impact on these pages, and aim to prevent them from appearing in search results.
A doorway page is a page or website, designed with the sole intention of achieving search rankings for very specific keywords or search queries. For example, a site containing numerous pages targeting different locations all with very similar content, designed to funnel you into one page.
These kinds of pages are not good from a user experience point of view. They offer the user very little value from the page itself, with them having to click through the site to get to the actual relevant and useful content.
By making use of multiple doorway pages, in the past sites have been able to increase their search visibility through use of this tactic, but offer a bad user experience. Hence Google’s upcoming update on how these will be dealt with.
These doorway pages will face significant drops in ranking and traffic due to the update, with search results pages containing far fewer of these pages, in the aim of providing the searcher with a better user experience.
It is possible, that if a high number of doorway pages are being used by a site, however great or valuable the rest of the site’s content, the whole website could face a decline in rankings.
Unfortunately, Google have not provided a date for this change, simply that it will take effect “soon”. If you are making use of doorway pages to gain search traffic, we suggest you rectify this as soon as possible by removing or noindex-ing them.
Google gave the following guidelines or questions to ask yourself to determine whether your pages could be classed as a doorway page:
Although the use of doorway pages is considered a somewhat outdated SEO tactic, it is surprising how many sites are still utilising this technique. It is time to ensure you get out of the habit if this is something you make use of for your site.