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Doorway Pages: What are they? Do they work? - Way Back Wednesday #9

Adrian Bredeson
by Adrian Bredeson on Aug 10, 2011 10:51:00 AM

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For years E-Power Marketing used a technique where in we created content on a Website that were called "Doorway Pages". These pages were effective in winning and holding top search positions. E-Power's Doorway Pages were not hidden in any way, as some other SEO firms of the time were doing. They were simply Web pages strongly search optimized for one target phrase. Keyword density was carefully maintained as the optimal keyword density for search engines changed.

However Doorway Pages became a dirty word around 2003. That was when the Google Webmaster Tools Search Engine Optimization guide stated, "If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or 'throwaway' domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google's index."

This warning created concern among some clients and prospects, even though what Google objected to was not what E-Power was doing. Doorway Pages are objectionable to Google when they used "throwaway" domains such as what IP Cloaking SEO agencies used. E-Power clearly explained what we were doing and why our Doorway Pages were not a problem with Google. So we renamed our Doorway Pages, instead calling them "Information Pages" to distinguish them from IP Cloaking Doorway Pages. Now we call them "Search Optimized Landing Pages."

Strong search optimization of a Web page for a specific phrase remains effective still today. The key is quality content. If the content is weak, it won't work to gain search visibility. But today we don't worry about Keyword Density because that method has no effect on Google search visibility. When E-Power Marketing creates Search Optimized Landing Pages, we are targeting a very specific key phrase and intensely optimizing the content for it.

Another usage of the term "Doorway Page" is in reference to the creation of dozens, even hundreds, of Web pages with essentially the same content, with only the target phrase changed. Google recognizes these "Doorway Pages" describing them as: "typically large sets of poor-quality pages where each page is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase. Google's aim is to give our users the most valuable and relevant search results. Therefore, we frown on practices that are designed to manipulate search engines and deceive users by directing them to sites other than the ones they selected, and that provide content solely for the benefit of search engines. Google may take action on doorway sites and other sites making use of these deceptive practices, including removing these sites from the Google index."

So if you are approached by an SEO agency telling you that they offer an "automated search solution," stay away. They are practicing the "Doorway Pages" technique that Google warned you about.

Do you have experience with any of these varieties of "Doorway Pages?" We'd love to hear about your encounters with SEO Firms still utilizing these outdated methods of SEO.

Follow the @EPowerMarketing Twitter account and use the #WayBackSEM hashtag to get in on the discussion!

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Adrian Bredeson
Written by Adrian Bredeson
As Director, SEO and Social Media at E-Power Marketing, Adrian is primarily focused on the organic success of client programs through SEO, social media and content marketing. Adrian also heads up the agency's marketing initiatives. With a background in psychology and PR, her passion for telling a brand's story by understanding and engaging with their target audiences has been put to good use at E-Power!

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