Google to SEO Spammers: Don’t Let the Doorway Hit You On Your Way Out
Google’s Search Quality team recently announced a new ranking adjustment intended to penalize doorway pages in organic search results. Behind the move is Google’s conviction that pages created solely for search engine rankings harm the quality of the user’s search experience.
Simply put, doorways are sites or pages created with the sole objective of achieving rankings for search queries, often in the form of multiple similar pages linking to essentially the same underlying content. Matt Cutts, Google’s longtime expert on such matters, describes Doorway pages as ““thin content with little or no added value”. Examples include a site offering services in multiple cities having nearly identical landing pages differentiated only by city name, or pages pulling most of their content from article banks or RSS feeds without adding unique content or value of their own.
Doorway pages are sometimes also seen as an expedient tactic for online reputation management to gain real estate on the search results page. Google states that they have seen many sites try to maximize their search footprint by using doorway pages without adding clear, unique value. Shortcuts like these degrade user experience and Google’s move here intends to address this by forcing marketers to earn their rankings with unique, relevant content. While Google has always discouraged this practice, the latest algorithmic effort to improve user experience is a notable step.
As SEO professionals committed to marketing performance and great user experience, we strongly discourage “spammy” SEO tactics like Doorway pages. We recommend instead that marketers focus on developing unique content for their target pages and enhance ranking potential by creating relevant content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other platforms. Actively publishing in social media not only introduces more opportunities for audience engagement, but also expands the marketer’s footprint on the search engine results page, which value shared, relevant user generated content.