Why Google Shut Down the Door to Doorway Pages & How to Avoid Them

There are countless SEO tactics designed to improve your search ranking. Doorway pages aren’t one of them.
A doorways page is a web page designed for the sole purpose of helping a site boosts its rankings. They are optimized for a certain keyword or key phrase and often feature spammy content that doesn’t bring any value to users.

Not only that doorway pages spam the web with keyword-stuffed content, but they are also annoying for anyone landing on one. Imagine clicking on a page you thought was a report on the best wedding venues in your area only to discover that it was a landing page for an online store selling wedding dresses.

Doorway Pages

So, there’s no wonder Google decided to kill doorway pages and penalize sites that are still using them as part of their SEO strategy.

With that in mind, here’s how to recognize a doorway page and how to make sure you are in the clear.

How to Recognize Doorway Pages

Getting a penalty from Google because you didn’t adhere to the latest algorithm update can be scary. If you can’t tell for sure whether you are hosting a doorway page or not, there are some key signs you can look for:

  • If the sole purpose of a page is to help your website rank for a certain keyword or attract visitors to a certain part of the site, then you are dealing with a doorway page; 
  • If the page is optimized for a generic keyword, but the content is very specific, then it’s a doorway page;
  • If the links on the page are not functioning, and it’s impossible to access other parts of the site from that page, then it’s likely a doorway page. 

However, there’s one simple way to ensure your site is without sin in the eyes of Google. Google broke the Internet last year by releasing its Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines in full. The search giant made it clear that quality content is one of the most important factors used to rank web pages.
So, if your website is loaded with quality content, then you’re in the clear. But, if your site has poor content and a few empty pages that it would probably be targeted by Google.

How to Protect Your Website from Doorway Pages Penalties

There are Vancouver IT companies that will notice that your website has been using doorway pages to boost its ranking, here are some steps they can help you take to avoid a Google penalty.

1. Kill Empty Pages

If you’ve found an empty page sitting around on your website, it’s time to take action and killed it. Empty pages don’t add any value to your visitors, and Google puts a lot of importance on relevancy. An empty page is very likely to be seen by the search engine as a doorway page, harming your website’s reputation and rankings.

2. Improve Your Site’s Navigation

Web users don’t have much patience. They will leave a page if they can’t find what they need fast. Google knows that and places site speed and navigation among its ranking factors.
Perform A/B tests to ensure your navigation is easy and intuitive. See if it offers a straightforward transition from one page to another.

3. Erase Duplicate Content

We’ve stated over and over again that quality content is one of the most important elements of success. Do duplicate pages help users in some way? Obviously, the answer is no. In fact, they can be pretty frustrating. You need to make sure that the same content doesn’t appear on multiple pages. Otherwise, you risk getting penalized by Google.

4. Monitor User-Generated Content Pages

User-generated content is at high risk of getting penalized by Google. The pages usually include galleries, reviews, guides, etc. If these pages don’t have enough content or content isn’t published regularly, Google might see this as suspicious. If these pages are inactive, consider reinforcing them or even removing them until you have enough content to fill them. You can also run a campaign to encourage users to post more content. That way you can help Google see that these pages add value to your site and users.

In a Nutshell

First and foremost, the most important takeaway from this article is to create quality content. If you fail to add value to your visitors, you’ll get pushed down further in the search results.

Secondly, make sure you destroy any empty or underperforming page. Ensure your web pages provide sufficient information to a web user or an evaluator that can help them decide if your site is trustworthy.
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