I would like to talk about doorway pages and where the risk lies.Let me explain the issue as follows:
Website sells location based widgets, each one is unique and they can be grouped into sets to help specific user groups make a choice.
Sells these for a clearly defined geographic area, essentially an English County.
Back in 2011 we were worried about impact of large national and international brands where they just offered what was a directory listing.( this has now happened)
One of the key ways forward was to major on good quality local content.But for various reasons we couldn't host this on the brand website so we wrote a large number of wordpress.com blogs.The idea being that a visitor to the brand website would see the widget and if they were interested in further details then they clicked through ( do follow ) to the blog written just for that widget.
The links back from the blogs were on the contact page of the blog and are "no followed". There is no anchor text optimisation and there are no site wide links.
The quality of the blogs varies from marginally useful to really detailed resources ( 50 pages and upwards).
There were two types of blogs
1. The majority were specific to each widget.
2. But there was one relatively large blog where we created pages for various sortings of the widgets.Each sorting being of concern to an interest group.This was a relatively novel idea for the local industry and worked well for visitors.
In number the wordpress blogs were approximately 10% of referring domains as reported by WMT.
The response from visitors was good. Some of the blogs started to show their own UGC and they also appeared in the SERPS and with pagerank.
There was never any indication of penalties of any kind.
From 2013 we gained the ability to generate similar content within the brand website which we are now doing.
The links from the brand website to the blogs are being taken down as the content is written. The blogs are effectively orphaned but they still link back through a no follow link.
If any blog loses its traffic it will be deleted.Any which are still of use to visitors will remain.Well that is the idea.
However my real concern is the second type of blog. The one we wrote for specific interest groups.Despite being largely orphaned from the brand website it still does really well on Google.
Google recognises that it is about the brand and sends it good traffic which is then passed on to the main brand website through no follow links.
However there are only so many ways you can talk about these widgets and I am concerned that :
This blog could be viewed as a doorway page. There is limited overlap on text ( not more than 10% on any one page according to Copyscape ). What i fear is a manual review which would see this as a doorway page.
If that happened where does the risk lie? Would it be just with the blog or would the brand website also be at risk.
I think I'd make the products from the brand site available on the blog so it's not technically a doorway page [or site] since it has what people are searching for available on it rather than forcing them to the main site. Then I'd noindex the corresponding page on the brand site to keep from having duplicate content issues and let the blog rank.
If the blog ever tanks it can easily be dropped and the noindex removed from the main site's corresponding page, so there's a "Plan B" already in place and ready to go any time.
Thank you JDT. It is an interesting idea, I hadn't thought of making the blog more than just a collection of pages linking back to the brand website. I wouldn't want to no index the product pages on the brand website as they account for more than 50% of the google traffic.
Years ago this wasn't the case, google had trouble recognising the long urls for what they were. However this problem has now gone.
There was one other small point, doesn't really relate to the doorway page question but might be of interest.
For the brand website we had a paid link on a reputable specialist directory ( along with a lot of our competition).The directory had the link as site wide so we literally had thousands of pages linking back with kw optimised anchor text. These links were over 50% of all incoming links on wmt and I was getting more and more worried about Penguin implications.
What we did was we wrote a better landing page...but put it on the blog, not the brand website. This was better for the visitors and the blog acts like a sheep dip. ( not really a firewall as it doesn't turn visitors away)
So thank you..i will get on with writing new content to minimise the impression of a doorway page/website.
No problem, glad I could make a suggestion that makes sense.
I wouldn't want to no index the product pages on the brand website as they account for more than 50% of the google traffic.
Wow, I wouldn't noindex that either. I was thinking it was a new relatively non-trafficked page, but with that kind of traffic I'd definitely leave it and just make the blog content different.
It is an interesting idea, I hadn't thought of making the blog more than just a collection of pages linking back to the brand website.
Something I just started doing again recently is "pulling pieces out of sites" where they're not doing much [or as much as I want them to] and putting them [and the related products] on PMD or EMDs and then running a nofollowed "ad" with "other products you might also be interested in available from brand.com."
I did a couple a few years ago and they did [and still do] great, but I was one with the philosophy of keeping everything together on one site -- The way Google's been acting lately though I've changed my mind and I'm moving more to the "shotgun" approach, so if something happens to one site it doesn't tank all sales avenues and there's always the main site as a "backup plan" if things go wrong on one of the specific sites.