What are Doorway pages and how do they impact search?
There are plenty of websites on the internet that use the “doorway page” strategy to get traffic to their site. The objective of doorway pages is to act as a “doorway” and divert traffic to the main site, and to rank higher on search engines. By creating doorway pages sites try to manipulate the SERPs for higher rankings. The doorway pages typically have navigation links and links within the content leading to the main site. The pages are optimized for specific keywords and anchor texts and links are used in the content so that the main site gets the SEO benefit from it. Doorway pages are usually hosted on separate domains. Many of these pages are “orphans” meaning they have links to the main site but the main site does not have any link back to them. The main site gets the advantage of one way link because of the doorway pages.
So what is troublesome about doorway pages?
Doorway pages are frowned upon by search engines because these pages are just “Doorways”, they get traffic and divert them to another site. These pages are created especially for search engines. Their focus is not on adding value for the visitor but to get high rankings on search engines. Since these sites pretty much have the same content as the main site most search engines may not find it beneficial to have them in their index.
Doorway pages have been in existence for quite some time now, it was very rampant ten years back and I am sure there are sites that use this strategy today as well, but the numbers have gone down, search engine algorithms have gotten better at finding these “Doorways”.
An example of doorway page strategy: A florist has a main site and purchases ten more relevant domains. Each of these domains contain optimized pages regarding sending flowers and link to the main site. Imagine if all of these 10 sites start ranking in Google, Yahoo! and other search engines!
Visitors will get to see more or less the same content on each of these sites and end up visiting one site only! Would it be fair to the visitors or other site owners?
Here is a recent update from “Google Webmaster Central Blog” regarding doorway pages. If you are using doorway pages as a ranking strategy, you may want to retract and rethink your strategy since at some point and looks like pretty soon; your site may get penalized for using practices that are not the best practices.