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Google and Doorway Pages
Post Florida Google may inadvertently encourage doorway-type pages
superscript




msg:63164
 8:18 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Some very high ranking commercial sites appear to be in that position because their high ranking page looks non-commercial to Google.

A good, and very high ranking example I found only contained these Buy terms in an image file. There is a single link further into the site, but no text to suggest to a robot that it is a storefront.

 

John_Creed




msg:63165
 10:45 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

People search Google for information and content sites, not affiliates and online stores with people trying to sell them stuff.

IF they want to buy something, i'm sure they'll be willing to go a few pages back if they can't find someone hawking a product on the first few pages. Either way, someone makes a sale. It just might not be you.

Oh, and about doorway pages; They're useful (if done right) and have been useful for a long time.

tigger




msg:63166
 11:16 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>People search Google for information and content sites, not affiliates and online stores

what!

my clients have online stores get "DO" get people searching for their products so I don't know where you get this information from

Chris_R




msg:63167
 11:29 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree with Tigger 100% - I remember someone complaining once - as they were searching for stock info and were frusterated they got an ad for one of those companies that sell one share of stock you can frame.

I thought it was funny - as I had just done a search to find exactly that. They make great gifts and look cool framed in your house.

There are plenty of people that actually are LOOKING for products out there. They have no problem buying them - and could care less if they came from affiliate stores or whatever.

There are tons of people that will go to a search engine and just type in an actual model number - they are looking for the product to buy in many cases.

Not everyone uses search engines in the same way.

gstewart




msg:63168
 11:43 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

They're useful (if done right) and have been useful for a long time

I've always steered clear, though I'd like to use them - how to "do them right"?

Macro




msg:63169
 1:21 pm on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

how to "do them right"?

By creating them for your visitors. Create some relevant content around keywords important to you. Spread that content over several pages. Link to all the pages from your sitemap page (called site_guide.htm perhaps, sit back and wait :-)

iJeep




msg:63170
 1:02 am on Dec 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, I have seen many doorway pages too.

They actually are fairly useless to the human user because they are generally long lists of keyword packed links to other doorway pages.

The end user wants to see the actual product in the least amount of clicks and with the least amount of confusion.

killroy




msg:63171
 1:23 am on Dec 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

How about puttign what the user wants ON the "doorway" page?

i.e. put the product description and info and the order button right onto the doorway page...

SN

John_Creed




msg:63172
 8:32 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

I personally only buy from authority sites or sites that were recommended to me. If I want to buy a book i'll check Amazon.com and search there or use another brand name company and not Joe Blow with some affiliate site that I found by typing in "cheap widgets". (Unless of course i'm searching for something very niche or looking to buy used. Than I check eBay.)

I'm sure huge numbers of people are searching for online stores, but if a commercial search engine and a purely information/free-sites search engine were created...it's no secret which engine would get almost all of the users.

Unless a searcher uses terms such as "buy", "cheap", or any comparable term or phrases making it obvious that he is looking to buy, informational sites are always the most desirable results from a search engine.

Usually a good informational site about a product will have a few banners or affiliate links pointing to where to buy the product.

If so many people were truly looking to buy buy buy, I don't see why they don't just click the adwords on the side. Than you're 100% guaranteed to find a site trying to sell you something and you wont be bothered by any informational sites or irrelevant results.

Google should not descriminate against commercial sites in-order to improve sales of adwords, but I don't see a problem with commercial sites coming up after informational sites on most terms.

"how to 'do them right'?"

By creating them for your visitors. Create some relevant content around keywords important to you. Spread that content over several pages. Link to all the pages from your sitemap page (called site_guide.htm perhaps, sit back and wait :-)

Bingo. That's exactly what I meant.

Only they're not for your visiters, they're for the search engines. Links to the doorway pages should be out of distance enough that your regular users will rarely click them, but Google will be able to find them easily. They should be well written enough that when a user lands on it from a search engine they know exactly what it is on your page and it's not spammy gibberish, but keyword cluttered enough that you make sure to target the EXACT keywords and phrases you want for a specific page, and then a link to whatever it is you were describing.

And you might need to link them from your home page if your sitemap page doesn't have a high enough PR.

I use several doorway pages on my site, they all have a PR of at least 4, and all of them rank FAR better than the individual sections of my site they point towards. They link to small individual sections of my site and in the serps they're beating out sites specifically dedicated to just that one topic. And this has been working for way longer than the current update.

John_Creed




msg:63173
 8:43 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, I have seen many doorway pages too.

They actually are fairly useless to the human user because they are generally long lists of keyword packed links to other doorway pages.

The end user wants to see the actual product in the least amount of clicks and with the least amount of confusion.

That's the type of method which has given doorway pages a bad name. A doorway page should be an alternate index page that focuses on specific sections of your site. Not a spam method.

Linking a doorway page to other doorway pages defeats the entire purpose of the gateway because the user doesn't go anywhere.

And why would anyone link one doorway to the next anyway? For PR purposes so Google could find them all and index them? Well all you need is text links on the bottom. The main link on the doorway page goes to your content you were describing, and than a bunch of out of place links on the bottom to other doorways. If that's what you want to do.

I_am_back




msg:63174
 9:15 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

I definately do not buy into this commercial and non-commercial argument that is being put forward by anti-Florida people. I'll leave that sensationalism to the media to cash in on. It's just one of many conspiracy theories. BTW I hear that google is sending out microwaves to brainwash us into using only Google. I'm takig no chances and constantly wear tin foil wrapped around my head :o)

If you create Doorway pages you do so at your *own risk*. Google however, correctly views them as spam and will probably dump you. IMO the penalty FAR outweighs the small increase in traffic. To actually suggest them is very poor advise IMO.

Why not simply create content pages, get even more traffic and be in favor with Google and the world of searchers?

getvisibleuk




msg:63175
 9:24 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

"People search Google for information and content sites, not affiliates and online stores with people trying to sell them stuff. "

ROFL. This is singularly the most humurous post I have read this year!

But wait:

"I'm sure huge numbers of people are searching for online stores, but if a commercial search engine and a purely information/free-sites search engine were created...it's no secret which engine would get almost all of the users. "

perhaps I was wrong ...

I can here people up and down the country on Christmas day saying "here love here you go you're Christmas present - it's a print out of some information I found on the net. Well its common knowledge people don't use the net to buy things, amazon didn't have that XYZ you wanted and no other shops exist on the internet".

But wait there's more:

"If so many people were truly looking to buy buy buy, I don't see why they don't just click the adwords on the side. Than you're 100% guaranteed to find a site trying to sell you something and you wont be bothered by any informational sites or irrelevant results. "

classic - so charities, associations and government agencies don't use adwords to INFORM people?

[edited by: getvisibleuk at 9:30 am (utc) on Dec. 9, 2003]

I_am_back




msg:63176
 9:29 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, change it to:

"Most People search Google for information and content sites, not affiliates and online stores with people trying to sell them stuff."

and I'll agree. The trends clearly show that the buyers are ever increasing though.

John_Creed




msg:63177
 10:39 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you create Doorway pages you do so at your *own risk*. Google however, correctly views them as spam and will probably dump you. IMO the penalty FAR outweighs the small increase in traffic. To actually suggest them is very poor advise IMO.

Why not simply create content pages, get even more traffic and be in favor with Google and the world of searchers?

That's generic SEO 101. Create content, get more links, the standard rhetoric.

Everyone here knows that's stuff.

Why not think out of the box for a change? Do you even know what a doorway page is?

A doorway page, as described by me, is an alternate index page for each individual section of your sight. It serves the purpose of describing and linking to a specific section of a site. Not only would Google not ban for this, but a compititor wouldn't think to turn the page in, if done right.

Usually a doorway page is not needed. Simply put the text on the content pages. But that's not always an option, depending on what kind of content pages we're talking about.

I_am_back




msg:63178
 10:48 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

That's generic SEO 101. Create content, get more links, the standard rhetoric.

Everyone here knows that's stuff

Is is the 'back to basics that most overlook I'm afraid. You yourself must have overlooked it if you condone doorway pages.

Do you even know what a doorway page is?

Yes it's a checkbox on the Google spam report page. Enough Said :o)

John_Creed




msg:63179
 10:48 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

classic - so charities, associations and government agencies don't use adwords to INFORM people?

eh, Anyone can use adwords, obviously. But most of the stuff up there is someone trying to sell something.

It's no secret that most people using a search engine are looking for information or content sites. So more often than not, having content or information come up over products is a good thing.

If a user wants to buy something, the money doesn't just dissappear because someone's affiliate site isn't the first result. He'll keep searching until he finds something to buy, or he'll click the adwords on the side.

I_am_back




msg:63180
 10:52 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's no secret that most people using a search engine are looking for information or content sites.

arrh good, you have watered it down now (most) :>

John_Creed




msg:63181
 10:57 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

You yourself must have overlooked it if you condone doorway pages.

Obviously you dont know what a doorway/gateway page is.

There is nothing wrong with creating alternate index pages for each section of your site.

A doorway page as I described would not be banned by Google. It's legal. Most people do it and don't even know they're doing it because they dont refer to it as a doorway page.

"Do you even know what a doorway page is?"

Yes it's a checkbox on the Google spam report page. Enough Said :o)

Another person who reports your compititors because you can't beat them and then a few months later you complain when your own site dissapears before christmas? Riiiight....

I_am_back




msg:63182
 11:06 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

John, so now you ae saying Google doesn't know what a doorway page is! That's funny! You tell me why, if Google doesn't mind "Doorway pages", why they have the "doorway page" option on their Spam Report page?

Another person who reports your compititors because you can't beat them and then a few months later you complain when your own site dissapears before christmas? Riiiight....

Now you are simply clutching at straws to try and support your *very bad advise* of suggesting others use Doorway pages. You are so far from the truth here you couldn't have missed the target by more. You are simply making baseless assumptions and getting worked up.

ANY Webmaster worth his/her salt would NOT suggest Doorway pages.

John_Creed




msg:63183
 11:26 am on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

You're obviously unwilling to think out of the box and prefer to speak in generic terms. Do you even know what a Doorway page is, other than that paragraph on Googles site?

Obviously not.

I use the term doorway pages because the term doesn't scare me. You can re-name it anything you want and it would still mean the same thing; alternate index page, page dividers, the front page to a new section, etc...

Substitute "doorway" for anything you want. I did not advise anyone to do anything. I just pointed out that it worked and has worked since way before this current update.

Do you even know why Google doesn't like "Doorway" pages? Do you even know what Google is referring to when they state not to use them? Do you even know what the difference is between a doorway page and a regular page with words on it?

merlin30




msg:63184
 12:20 pm on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Do you even know what the difference is between a doorway page and a regular page with words on it? "

Has it got a picture of a door on it?

superscript




msg:63185
 12:29 pm on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's an interesting point - this is why I used the phrase 'doorway-type' pages in the first post. To me, a doorway page is a page that is low on content, whose principle aim is purely to attract visitors, without alerting the search engines.

My index pages, and I guess many index pages, are designed to pull in visitors, but mine are full of content and navigation. I wouldn't class these as doorway pages.

Can we agree on a useable definition of a 'doorway page'?!

Snack




msg:63186
 4:47 pm on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have one site that has about twenty-five doorway pages. At least, that's what I was thinking when I made them. Each one is centred on a specific geographic area, since my site is national and I want to come up in the serps for specific cities. I made them as 'alternate index pages' with links directly to the local content. They are only linked from the site map, so they are definitely intended more for Google than for my users.

But I have gotten a pile of emails from users since making those pages, thanking me for providing locally-cented content. And here I was just trying to avoid being labelled a spammer.

If you can create doorway pages that are useful to the surfer by pointing them directly to what they need, then it's an extremely good tactic.

Edited to say: I would define 'doorway page' as a page with no unique content in itself. My pages have very little unique content.

plasma




msg:63187
 5:05 pm on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

@John_Creed:

That was the best post since a long time. I 100% agree.

I'm sure huge numbers of people are searching for online stores, but if a commercial search engine and a purely information/free-sites search engine were created...it's no secret which engine would get almost all of the users.

Unless a searcher uses terms such as "buy", "cheap", or any comparable term or phrases making it obvious that he is looking to buy, informational sites are always the most desirable results from a search engine.

Great idea. Maybe Google should have a feature where you can configure a string that gets appended on all searches, e.g. "-buy -cheap"
A configurable content filter.

Jbrookins




msg:63188
 5:12 pm on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think John is meaning something more akin landing pages. While landing pages are common and accepted practice, the term 'doorway page' is usually reserved for the spammy SEO practice of creating redirect pages that are packed with keywords and non-user-digestable spider food.

I'd say that this has always been good practice. Post-Florida may not have changed that.

skipfactor




msg:63189
 5:20 pm on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>I have one site that has about twenty-five doorway pages.

And how did they do through Florida?

powerchuter




msg:63190
 5:27 pm on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am intrigued by the information vs. purchase debate.

I have two sites that sell xyzwidgets

site 1) is extremely informative, the domain is keyword.com, it has over 500 professionally written articles about xyzwidgets and their uses - In addition to the community forum, product reviews etc... it also has a selection of widgets available

site 2) front page shows the xyzwidgets that we have, click to buy

----
i always expected site 1 to be our sales leader and from this discussion i would think most would agree

However; while site 1 does ok, site 2 outsells it by a few million $ per year - go figure

Snack




msg:63191
 6:00 pm on Dec 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

None of my sites changed significantly in the Florida serps. I had a problematic index page on that site - it had gotten lost in the last update, but was found again with Florida. So overall I gained.

My doorway/alternate index pages are still as high as ever. Most of them are the top result for fifteen or twenty keyphrase+city searches.

I_am_back




msg:63192
 12:09 am on Dec 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

John, with all your rhetoric you forgot to answer my question. Here it is again.

You tell me why, if Google doesn't mind "Doorway pages", why they have the "doorway page" option on their Spam Report page?

Now, it matters not what your definition is, only what Googles is.

*Here is one of the things that Google states as a reason why your site may not be listed.*

You employ doorway pages. Google does not encourage the use of doorway pages. We want to point users to content pages, not to doorways or splash screens.

Now, to try and argue the point is really making you look like you are saying black is white. Either admit you are wrong or learn the correct terminology.

BTW, don't forget my queston.

anime_otaku




msg:63193
 12:28 am on Dec 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

let's not refer to them as doorway and think of the concept of the page itself.

is it page solely made to make a person click on some link to bring the surfer to another domain, an affiliate link, or content rich page? a page with just a bunch of words or lacking uniqueness in content could be branded as a doorway page. if the page is such to a point it is irrevalent to the theme of the site, some may even brand it as spam pages. this is what google hates. "evil".

now on the other hand if the pages in question are content rich, and wanted people to click on some link (classic example is porn thumbnail gallery posts a.k.a. TGP) then it is not a "bad" or "evil" doorway page, but one of valid content. Call them doorway pages as well if you want but they are to google not doing "evil".

google does not want "evil" doorway pages, but content pages.

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