Google and Doorway Pages A Page for Each Area

Call them what you like, Doorway pages, Gateway Pages, even Zebra Pages, Google has never liked them. In the past Google has treated these as pages that are built, but have sneaky redirects in them, then they moved the goalposts of definition slightly, and now we have a clear statement from Google not to use them, and more importantly, exactly what Google themselves believe that definition to be.

Doorway pages are typically large sets of poor-quality pages where each page is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase.

So that is clear and simple,  Don’t put up LARGE SETS, of POOR QUALITY pages on your site, and optimise it for a single term. Does that mean you can’t have a page for your important terms? Absolutely not, the key there is large sets, poor quality. Google wants, desires and yearns for large amounts of HIGH QUALITY pages on a topic.

In many cases, doorway pages are written to rank for a particular phrase and then funnel users to a single destination.

Here they give us another indicator of an element within their algorithm, set out to detect these sites. This would be typical of lead generation sites, or sites that  have a single action page with many  of these doorway pages built in.  A clear example of this would be a site that sells a single product directly or affiliate CPA with many pages surrounding it but having a single action page.

Whether deployed across many domains or established within one domain, doorway pages tend to frustrate users.

This is actually debatable, as searching for something, landing on a page about that term, and finding what you want could be argued that it is delivering a GOOD user experience. Unfortunately while the argument may be debatable, Google are not up for debate.

Therefore, Google frowns on practices that are designed to manipulate search engines and deceive users by directing them to sites other than the one they selected, and that provide content solely for the benefit of search engines.

Interestingly Google have switched back to doorway pages with redirects to a main site, they appear here to be talking about satellite sites, or micro-sites optimised for a term and then pointing to a main site.  Is this a legitimate method for advertising however? IF the links are nofollowed then it could be argued yes, the site is an advert rather than a doorway site. Google appear here to be attempting to prevent businesses from advertising their wares legitimately.

I worked with a well known company a few years ago, and they had a website ‘quote me happy’ which supported their Offline advertising campaigns.  It would be wrong of any search engine to prevent a company from doing this. My advice would be that if you are using such sites, then nofollow the links to the main site, and ensure the capture site has relevant content.

Google may take action on doorway sites and other sites making use of these deceptive practices, including removing these sites from Google’s index.

This is a scary prospect, as they appear here to be saying that they will take action against a doorway site AND other sites making use of these deceptive practices. So what is to stop a competitor setting them up and reporting you?

Finally in the piece, they give some examples of use.

Having multiple domain names targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page
Templated pages made solely for affiliate linking
Multiple pages on your site with similar content designed to rank for specific queries like city or state names

It is fair to say that anyone who is using a strategy of having hundreds of pages (THIN pages), that are geographically based or topic based, should review their strategy, and, if you have suffered a loss of traffic or a change to the terms you have received traffic for, then this could be the answer.

Panda Algorithm hits Uk and other English Language Google users

Google announced today on the Google Blog that they have rolled out the infamous Panda / Farmer update to all English Language users. On top of this they have included the new feedback signal to ‘help people find better search results’. Google believe that their tests show that user feedback is trustworthy enough to reply on for ranking purposes, not only on your own Search, but the results others see, in short, overnight Google has pretty much changed its algorithm into a user controlled algo. Or to put it another way, spammers heaven.

So what happens if your baby gets thrown out with the bathwater? Fear not because Google say If you believe your site is high-quality and has been impacted by this change, we encourage you to evaluate the different aspects of your site extensively

So what will they do if an innocent site owner loses their business because of some poorly written algorithm that decided because the person who scraped his content has also spammed for links, the copy site is the one true originator? fear not because… Well actually fear a LOT because they go on to say

While we aren’t making any manual exceptions, we will consider this feedback as we continue to refine our algorithms.

So there you go, your business will just have been flushed down the pan, but don’t worry because you will have helped to refine the algorithm.

Oh and there is always Google Adwords 😉

Google TLD Algorithm Change Causes Uproar.

I am sure that I am not the only SEO who’s inbox and PM box on forums has been full of ‘My site has gone from the rankings’ type messages during the last few weeks. This is always the case when Google ‘stir their secret sauce’.  This latest incarnation appears of have had far more wide ranging impact that they might have envisaged, Possibly this is the only problem with having such a wide ranging interconnected algorthim.

One of the big changes has been the ‘slackening’ or perhaps lowering of the bar on non UK specific domains appearing in the UK SERPS. [Read more…]