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Google Doorway Page Ranking Adjustment Set to Launch Soon

Date Tuesday, 17 March 2015 Michael Bunn , In: Digital Marketing

Google Doorway Page Ranking Adjustment Set to Launch Soon

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.

What is a Doorway Page?

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.

How Will the Update Effect Sites?

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.

How Soon is Soon?

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.

How to Identify Doorway Pages

Google gave the following guidelines or questions to ask yourself to determine whether your pages could be classed as a doorway page:

  • 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?

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.

Michael Bunn

Michael Bunn

Digital Director

Mike officially joined Blue Frontier in 2015 when the company acquired Dynamics Digital. Mike was the founder of DD and built the business up single-handedly. He combines genuine, market leading expertise with strong leadership and heads up the Blue Frontier Digital Team. The addition of the skills and experience of DD has meant that Blue Frontier can now offer a full end-to-end digital service. Mike sits on the board of directors, and is instrumental in guiding BF marketing strategy.

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