A doorway page is a website or web page explicitly built for search engines to rank. They serve little purpose to the reader, as their primary intent is to bring the user to the main website of the doorway owner.
It is not a good SEO practice, as Google does not like this technique. However, like all black hat SEO practices, some can get past the radar of Google, but Google will eventually find out and do something about it.
How does a doorway page work for a business?
You have a plumbing business, and your actual website name is ABC Plumbing Services. The problem with a website like this is that it is difficult to rank. Despite all your services and content, you cannot rank easily because of competition.
So, what you do is hire an SEO expert, and you want that person to build you a website that ranks for only a keyword or two, like “plumbing services New York.”
Then, you build a doorway page or website, the goal of which is to rank for that single keyword. The SEO expert will tell you how to do this, including content type and how to use keyword density for ranking.
What you want is whenever a person types “plumbing services New York” on Google, your doorway website appears at the top of the search results pages. Then, the user would click on your doorway page.
Now, that doorway web page contains little to no information to help the user. It tells the user to click on a link, which takes him to your actual website, ABC Plumbing Services. From here, perhaps the user will call you or hire you.
You can make many doorway websites for different keywords. If you manage to do this, you can get traffic from all sorts of users who used particular keywords.
It is not different from spam sites. There was a time when many spam sites targeted high-volume keywords. But if you clicked on these links, they routed you to porn sites.
Why bother making a doorway page? People do this because they want to rank for specific keywords. If you have been blogging or building sites for a while, you know that ranking for multiple keywords is a hard thing to do.
Is a doorway page a white hat or back hat SEO?
Doorway pages are black hat SEO. In Google’s eyes, doorway pages are spam. Google discouraged webmasters from creating them. In 2015, Google issued a statement to warn webmasters about Google’s stand on it.
Google made the announcement in conjunction with an algorithm update called Doorway Page Update. The update lowered the rankings of doorway pages. This kind of content is low-quality, and it does not help fulfill Google’s mission, which is to provide its users with valuable content.
Google does not only de-rank doorway pages but also websites associated with them. So, if you are thinking about building doorway pages, forget about it. You are better off writing high-quality content for your site than doing it.
Why are doorway pages bad for SEO?
Google is in a constant battle against spam. Since doorway pages are spam sites, Google does not pay particular attention to search rankings. Bing, another widely used search engine, does not even index it.
First of all, it is a waste of money. Today, doorway pages do not even rank at all. You will spend hundreds of dollars to pay the SEO expert, website hosting, domains, and others—all for naught. At best, just spend that money and hire an affordable freelance writer to write content for you.
Now, if you even manage to rank your doorway page, it will eventually turn out bad. Since a doorway page does not add value, it negatively impacts the user experience. When users search on Google, they expect unique pages and valuable content.
Doorway pages do not do this. Some even go as far as duplicating the pages and then changing the domain name.
Now, if the user finds a doorway page and clicks on it, what will he do? He will click on the back button to look for better information. He will also not take long exploring the doorway page.
All these actions tell the Google algorithm that the websites, the doorway pages, are useless. In the end, they do not serve their purpose after all. And as these things happen, Google will de-rank the doorway web pages.
Doorway pages Vs. Landing pages
Are doorway pages also landing pages? If so, how come landing pages work?
No, doorway pages are not the same as landing pages. A doorway page targets keywords, and its goals are:
- Rank the doorway page
- Redirect the user to the main website
You may be thinking that these are also the goals of a landing page. Sure, but the main difference is that doorway pages do not add value. They obstruct the user from finding the information they need.
Landing pages are not like that. They tell you everything you need about a product and do not create thin content. They provide users with relevant information about the product they are selling.
The Google algorithm can tell the difference between a doorway and landing pages. A landing page has better branding, helpful content, and compliance with Google’s expectations.
In addition to this, landing pages are not repetitive. They are not duplicates. The user does not have to go through several hoops to find the information he is looking for.
Summary: What Are Doorway Pages in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
There are many black hat SEO techniques out there. Some still work today, but they will eventually be found out and condemned. And if this happens, your business will suffer. You may get value from it now, but there is no long-term sustainability for it.
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