Google considers doorway pages as bad for business. It’s for this reason that they have started penalizing and banning websites that make use of doorway pages.
Google started penalizing doorway pages several years ago when they realized that these pages are detrimental to the experience of search engine users.
Searchers are often inundated with search results that come in different domains but redirect to the same website.
It’s completely understandable why Google implemented algorithms that prevented doorway pages from appearing in search results.
It’s specifically defined in Google’s Quality Guidelines that doorway pages won’t be allowed to rank highly in their search results.
Creating doorway pages is now widely considered as a blackhat optimization method. If you are caught doing it, it’s most likely that your website will be penalized.
Of course, there are ways on how to skirt the guideline but the benefits you get are usually just short-term rewards. That is you will be caught sooner or later and suffer the consequences.
That said, it’s never a good idea to use doorway pages to attempt to game the search engine algorithms.
Why Doorway Pages Are Considered as Detrimental to User Experience
Since doorway sites are created to rank for very specific search queries, they can create a lot of duplicate content in the search results without providing much help to the user.
Multiple pages with very similar content often clog the search results. This is bad for the user because even if he clicks on every single one of the pages, he still gets the same content.
In short, doorway pages create a lot of search results that don’t help the searcher at all.
Making matters worse is the fact that a lot of online marketers haphazardly used the method to create tons of sites that feature spammy, keyword-stuffed content and with little to no value for the users.
Because of these quality issues, Google released an algorithm update that was specifically designed to kill off the proliferation of doorway sites.
They have been updating the algorithm ever since. And they are getting better and better in identifying doorway pages and removing these from the search results.
Is It Worth It to Engage in Creating Doorway Pages?
The quick answer is no. It’s never a good idea to create doorway pages just to drive traffic to your main website.
Google has specifically stated that doorway pages are bad and are against their quality guidelines. If Google says you shouldn’t do something, you should probably take heed of their advice.
Since they implemented their initial algorithm update a few years ago that targeted doorway pages, Google never backed down with their strong stance against the method.
In fact, they even improved their algorithms so that more doorway pages are either penalized or banned.
How to Identify Doorway Pages in Your Website
Google has also published questions that you can ask yourself to help you identify which pages in your website can be considered as doorway pages.
Go over these questions and see if some of your website’s pages can be described as doorway pages.
If a page meets the criteria of a doorway page, you should either remove the page or improve it to make it more valuable for the user.
Anyway, here are the questions to help you identify doorway pages in your site:
Is the page an integral part of your website?
When we say integral, we mean the page to be of great importance to the user. For example, the about page in a website can be considered as integral because it helps the user learn more about the creator of the website.
However, if a page repeats the same content in the about page without additional info, then it’s a doorway page because it doesn’t add value for the user.
Is the sole purpose of the page to funnel visitors to another page?
If the page is meant to drive people to another page, then it’s a doorway page. The page solely serves as a stepping stone to the main site.
Are the pages ranking for generic keywords but the contents of the pages are very specific?
This is one of the main characteristics of a doorway page. They are misleading which makes them very frustrating in the eyes if users and searchers.
Are the pages repeating content that are already available in the website?
It doesn’t matter if the pages are not exact copies of the already available content.
If they are offering the same content with no additional information or value, then they are doorway pages.
Are the pages made solely to attract and redirect affiliate traffic?
Doorway pages are most rampant in affiliate marketing websites.
In an attempt to attract traffic for specific affiliate products, marketers often build a lot of doorway pages to attract people searching for these products.
What happens is that hundreds of these pages with almost similar content are created to clog the search results.
How to Protect Your Website from Penalties with Regards to Doorway Pages
It’s always possible that there’s a section in your website that Google considers as a doorway page. You may not agree with the classification but it’s often not a good idea to argue with Google.
You may think that there are no doorway pages in your website. Google may think otherwise.
So what should you do to protect yourself from penalties that Google might impose on your website for pages perceived by the search engine as doorway pages. Here are some strategies that you can implement:
Get rid of all empty pages and pages with very little content.
If you have empty pages in your website, now is the time to take them down before these get flagged as doorway pages.
Review all the sections and pages in your website to make sure that every single page is not empty.
Value is the keyword here. If a page doesn’t provide value to your intended user or audience, then you should take it down.
Improve your website’s navigation.
One characteristic of doorway pages is that they are often very difficult for people to navigate. This is because doorway pages are meant to redirect the visitor to another website.
Now, when Google tries to crawl and index your website, they take into account how easy it is to navigate through your website.
If they find it difficult to navigate through your website, they can mistakenly flag your website ad a doorway page.
Do away with duplicate or similar content.
If there are pages in your site with very similar content, there are two things you can do. Either you delete one of the pages or you consolidate both pages into a single page.
Watch out for multiple domains.
It’s not bad to maintain multiple domains as long as you make sure that they all contain unique and valuable content.
Don’t create very similar content for all your websites and pages because your sites will be immediately tagged as doorway pages.
Each site should have unique features that the other sites don’t have. Because what’s the point of having two websites if these contain very similar content and pages?
The general rule is that you should use a single and centralized website instead of distributing your content in several domains.
In conclusion, doorway pages are bad for business. You shouldn’t create them if you want your website to rank well in the search results.
Google specifically flags doorway pages. So there’s absolutely no reason why you should even consider making them.