Doorway Pages: The Risks and Consequences In 2023

Black hat SEO techniques are often frowned upon by Google. This is because they have no value for the searchers, and the benefits they offer are not worth the risk. Below, you will learn about one such black hat technique called doorway pages

In this article 

  1. What Are Doorway Pages, And Are They Helpful For SEO? 
  2. Doorway pages Vs Landing Pages
  3. How To Determine If A Page Is A Doorway Page
  4. How To Avoid Doorway Pages
  5. Doorway Pages: What Next?
  6. Related Reads

What Are Doorway Pages, and Are They Helpful For SEO? 

Simply put, a doorway page is a web page designed to fool search engines and users. These web pages are used to rank for a specific keyword, usually long-tail keywords, while simultaneously sending the user to a different page. Doorway pages are also used as bridge pages and exist only to rank for specific keywords in the search results. Google defines doorway pages thusly: “Doorways are sites or pages created to rank for specific, similar search queries. They lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.”

Google considers these (doorway pages) spam as they offer no value to the user. They can also lead the user to pages that contain malware and, in some cases, phishing websites. Phishing is a cyber crime where an attacker steals the user’s information. The existence of doorway pages motivated Google to improve its anti-spam algorithm and protect its users from harmful websites. The algorithm detects a doorway page and punishes the originator for it.

Before 2015, doorway pages were a common practice in search engines. These pages essentially helped websites to rank higher in search results by using keyword stuffing and invisible text that is only visible to the search engine crawlers. These tricks were used to rank the web page higher on the search engine results page. However, in March 2015, Google updated its Webmaster Guidelines that penalized doorway pages. So, what used to be a practice that could help rank better is now blacklisted by Google. 

Doorway Pages vs Landing Pages

The difference between a doorway page and a landing page is that the former contains plenty of keyword stuffing, keyword variations, links to multiple pages, and sometimes sends users to multiple sites that are completely different from the actual destination. Marketers use landing pages for ad campaigns and lead generation. They are often compared because doorway pages are designed to trick the visitor and search engines and may look like landing pages. Though they may look similar in appearance, the values they offer are completely different from each other. 

How To Determine If a Page Is a Doorway Page

Since doorway and landing pages look similar, it is important to know the qualities of the former. A doorway page is like multiple landing pages that lead the user across multiple pages, all of which lead to the same product or goal. These are some examples of doorway pages. 

  1. They have multiple keyword variations.
  2. Domain names that target specific geographical areas and redirect visitors to one page
  3. Include additional clicks for the user that are unnecessary. 
  4. Multiple pages with content that is slightly different from each other. Each of these pages is indexed individually.

How To Avoid Doorway Pages

how to avoid doorway pages
4 ways to avoid doorway pages

If you have pages on your website that overlap their content, consider combining them into a single page with all the helpful information.  Also, use 302 redirects to lead all the pages to the new combined page. 

These are 4 helpful tips to avoid getting penalized for doorway pages.

1. Stay Away From Duplicate Content

Avoid having multiple pages on your site with similar content. This includes different pages that target different keyword phrases focusing on one location. Instead, focus on creating unique and helpful content for the user.

2. Avoid Pages That Are Hard To Find

Make sure the page on your site is easy to find and navigate through.

3. Avoid Having Multiple Websites

If your goal is to provide the same products and services using different domains, chances are you will get penalized. It is better to avoid having multiple websites that are used to increase the rankings by targeting specific search terms. 

4. Use Specific Long-Tail Keywords

Instead of targeting a broader range of keywords, focus on specific keywords, preferably long-tail keywords, and optimize the content on your page accordingly. This way, you can avoid getting penalized and drive quality website traffic. 

Doorway Pages: What Next?

After you have identified a doorway page, the next step is to ask yourself two questions: should I remove them completely or change the content to make it relevant and useful to the readers? The answer is evident. It is better to avoid creating multiple websites and pages that are irrelevant to the user. Using doorway pages to achieve high rankings in search engines can also stain your company’s credibility leaving a bad taste for the user. Instead, focus on creating valuable and unique content to avoid any penalties and improve your website rankings in the long term. 

Related Reads

10 Best Practices for Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

Google February 2023 Product Reviews Update: What’s New and Should You Be Worried?

What Is Google’s Helpful Content Update?

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