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How Google and You Should check Doorway Pages

How Google and You Should check Doorway Pages

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24 January 2012
3 min read

A doorway page is a portal to other pages – which makes it a dead end for quality SEO. We’ve all seen them – ramshackle content, dozens of adverts and hundreds of links, apparently with little or no connection to the search you typed in or even to each other.It’s important to identify these pages so you can avoid them in your link creation campaigns. Google doesn’t want to know about them either because they detract from the web experience of its ends users, who are searching for quality content with high relevance to their search terms.

What Happens if Google Identifies You as a Doorway?

You’re gone. If Google’s mechanisms for identifying doorway pages catch one of your own pages in their net, your influence in Page rankings will plummet. Here’s how it happens: your page has been ranked highly for a specific topic such as running advice. Over time other topics start to become associated with your page and the original one is diluted until it disappears. Now your page is likely to be classified as webspam by Google – and by people finding it when they are searching for any one of the topics it has become associated with. Because when they open it they will find that it is also associated with a bunch of other topics that have nothing to do with what they were looking for.

 

Steps to Avoid Being Identified as a Doorway Page

There’s a lot at stake here. Any association with poor web behaviour will damage the efficiency of your whole operation.

Look to your links. Where are they coming from? How did you get them? If ever there was an argument for manually researching and creating long lasting links, this is it. A page about running is a page about running, so its associated links need to be sensibly taken from places that have genuinely associated interests. When you start accepting links from any old where you run the risk of generating more poison than magic potion.

Do your homework. Analyse the social media for the right people to align yourself with. Join conversations that are related to your industry. Be giving and be interesting. Then your pages will become associated with the pages of people and businesses that have a proper connection, through your industry or an associated industry, with what you do.
Make a New Page for a New Topic

The practice of using stale URLs or old web pages for hosting new content is not always suspect – sometimes it’s simply sloppy behaviour. If you have new content to promote, use a new page and get a new URL for it. Follow the SEO discipline that has got you this far. Put your primary keywords in the URL. Develop a new community of links and associations for your new page.

At heart the lesson is simple: don’t be lazy. You can’t ever use the existing traffic attached to an old URL for a new page – unless the subject matter of that page is the same as the subject attached to the URL originally. Even then you are unlikely to succeed wholeheartedly. Your writing style, or the style employed by your content team, may be different from the style of the original page – and it is (as I keep saying) content that keeps visitors on your page. Yours may be perfectly good, in fact it probably is – but if it is not what the old guard were used to they won’t hang around for long to show their appreciation.

In this day and age you can’t cut corners. You have to build a following. You can’t steal one from someone else’s old URL. You probably can’t even steal one from your own old URL. So here’s the thing: once it has ceased to be operational, cut it down and start afresh.

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