business SEO: Doorway pages

Sparkster

Well-Known Member
According to recent updates by Google, to their search engine results criteria, doorway pages are now officially a no-no. Doorway pages are pages which contain a link to a specific product or website, which they are aimed to promote. Several types of these pages on one website, if they link to the same product or website, would be considered to be doorway pages. Webmasters who write product reviews which include purchase links, or articles which promote specific products, will need to take these changes into consideration.
 

Frank

Staff member
is this similar to the squeeze pages (is that what they're called?) that are really just one long sales pitch?

what if you're a legit review site? then what?
 

Sparkster

Well-Known Member
is this similar to the squeeze pages (is that what they're called?) that are really just one long sales pitch?

what if you're a legit review site? then what?
Kind of. If a review website, then it really depends on the design and content of the website's page(s). If a review or article is overly promotional or has been written specifically to try to promote or sell the product or service, then that would be considered to be a doorway page (if it has a link to a page where the product or service can be purchased). If the content on the page, however, is genuine, unique, original and informative and doesn't overly promote the product or service then it wouldn't be considered a doorway page unless there were multiple other pages on the website (or blog) linking to the same sales page.
 

OhioTom76

Well-Known Member
This really sucks for affiliate marketers, especially if they are promoting a handful of products from their site and mention them from time to time. It does seem a bit unfair for Google to penalize all web sites for simply linking back to some other web site multiple times, because there are legitimate situations where this may occur. For example, I read some Internet Marketing sites, which are legit sites with great quality articles that I come back for and read several times a week. They also happen to have some affiliate links to various products and services that they use and recommend. These are perfectly legitimate links for things that they genuinely endorse and use, and there is nothing wrong with them receiving commissions for doing so as well. One of the items for example is a Wordpress theme framework. Another would be the particular web hosting company they recommend.

I think the other thing they are cracking down with the "doorway pages" update are web sites who are bulk churning out pages, that are all the same with the exception of state and city names (and perhaps zip codes and area codes) dropped in them, as a cheap and dirty attempt at siphoning up local search queries. This is basically a "duplicate content" issue for the most part, but some sites have gotten more creative and spun the page content a bit to make it not look so obviously duplicated.
 

Sparkster

Well-Known Member
This really sucks for affiliate marketers, especially if they are promoting a handful of products from their site and mention them from time to time. It does seem a bit unfair for Google to penalize all web sites for simply linking back to some other web site multiple times, because there are legitimate situations where this may occur. For example, I read some Internet Marketing sites, which are legit sites with great quality articles that I come back for and read several times a week. They also happen to have some affiliate links to various products and services that they use and recommend. These are perfectly legitimate links for things that they genuinely endorse and use, and there is nothing wrong with them receiving commissions for doing so as well. One of the items for example is a Wordpress theme framework. Another would be the particular web hosting company they recommend.

I think the other thing they are cracking down with the "doorway pages" update are web sites who are bulk churning out pages, that are all the same with the exception of state and city names (and perhaps zip codes and area codes) dropped in them, as a cheap and dirty attempt at siphoning up local search queries. This is basically a "duplicate content" issue for the most part, but some sites have gotten more creative and spun the page content a bit to make it not look so obviously duplicated.
Yes, it does seem a little unfair doesn't it? Then again, when have Google ever been fair? It's an awkward situation for many affiliate marketers but I really have no idea how this is going to pan out in the long run. Ultimately, it's becoming more and more about end user experience rather than SEO-friendly content. The problem is some of us want to have these types of sites - why should we be penalized because of what we want or because of what business methods we use? All these types of changes have ever done is continually make the internet a poor medium for carrying out business.
 

OhioTom76

Well-Known Member
This can very easily create a lot of headaches for site owners, if it's being followed to the letter of the law. For example, should we get rid of the "powered by VBulletin" type links at the bottoms of our forums? I know people who share a small affiliate link on all their pages of the particular Wordpress framework they are using, as well as perhaps the web host they use. I really don't see something like this as "spam" at all, and in fact I find it quite useful when I am reading design oriented sites and really like how their site functions, and would like to know what's powering it on the back end.

A company I worked for in the past ran into an issue where Google was accusing us of "doorway pages" on our site, whereby we almost got penalized for, but then they ultimately backed down after we made a few minor changes. The issue was the landing pages we were sending our Google AdWords traffic to. We had a small sign up form on the page which included one simple qualifying question. Depending on how the users answered that question we would either send them into our sales funnel, or redirect them off to one of our partners as a lead. We were simply trying to monetize this traffic with companies that could better service them rather than reject them at the end of our funnel for not qualifying. Google saw some of these redirects - apparently due to a manual review - and warned us that we were about to be penalized.

The workaround ended up being the inclusion of an interstitial message on the page for those about to be redirected, warning them of such and why, and giving them a link to opt out and remain on the page.
 
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