24 Mar

Google And Doorway Pages

Ah, I remember doorways pages from when I started out in SEO way back in 2004. Back then they were invisible, but that’s another story.

Google’s latest announcement regarding doorway pages is intriguing. I hope that the aim will be to demote the bad boys in the SERPs – i.e. those that scrape and mash together bits of syndicated content in a bid to dupe Google into thinking that what lies in front of them is fresh, unique content.

My gut-feel is that there will be a lot of collateral damage with this, and in many cases I imagine there to be a fine line between a “doorway page” and an otherwise well “optimised page”.  There’s sure to be plenty of edge cases that fall foul of being incorrectly labelled as doorway pages.

I’m sure the irony has not been lost on others, but just to remind ourselves of what it is that Google are trying to weed out of the SERPs, the criteria for doorway pages will be defined is as follows:

  • Is the purpose to optimize for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of your site’s user experience?

  • Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?

  • Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?

  • Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?

  • Do these pages exist as an “island?” Are they difficult or impossible to navigate to from other parts of your site? Are links to such pages from other pages within the site or network of sites created just for search engines?

Let’s just reflect upon those criteria for a second.  Then let’s think about Youtube.  Imagine you’re a Sam Smith fan.  You might want to listen to some Sam Smith music.  In fact, you may want to search for “Sam Smith playlist”.  Seems like you’re not the only one:

Oh wow, looks like Youtube have done well to corner the market for that keyword:


And what exactly is a playlist page? Isn’t it just a collection of content that can be found elsewhere, to help drive traffic for a generic term, such as “Sam Smith”?


And how do you navigate to that page? Why, I’m just going to run it through Majestic SEO to find out:


No results! So that’s suggesting that this playlist page has no links (or that Majestic hasn’t yet found them).

So let me get this straight – it’s a well optimised page that funnels in search traffic, through the consolidation of content that can be found elsewhere, and it’s also hard to navigate to?

Wow. Just wow.

And do I think that Youtube are going to effected by this? I strongly doubt it.

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