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Does any1 know if SEs are starting to penalise sites for using doorway pagers to improve rankings?
I have two companies in the running now one of which recommends the use of doorway pages to improve listings, the other is adamant that engines are moving against the use of such pages and if they recognise a page as being a doorway it will drop down the listings.
As SmallTime implied, some of this might be attributed to a difference in how each is defining the term "doorway page," but I'd probably question that first company a bit closer about the techniques they'll use in general; in order to make sure that their knowledgebase isn't a bit dated. To me, for someone to say "you need some doorway pages" in mid-2002 would be sort of a red flag. I'd want to know exactly how they'd use them, and for which search engines.
mid-2002 - JayC
A few years ago what we then called ‘doorway’ pages were very popular, worked great to draw in traffic, were not ‘included’ as actual content for the site, were often cloaked, and on and on.
I think many of us as professionals in the industry today have moved beyond this interpretation of the antique ‘doorway’ page but, that doesn’t mean we aren’t using them. What we’re doing is now building them into the site. Every page is now legitimately contributing to the site. We don’t need ‘orphan’ pages.
First we have the plan. The, “What’s this site about?” with an analysis and strategy to get there. In optimization terms it’s still about keywords and now we’re building the site around them with legitimate content.
To address your initial questions Sharron, along with a big welcome to Webmaster World, I would suggest the following:
…two companies in the running now one of which recommends the use of doorway pages to improve listings
Have them define exactly what they mean by ‘doorway page’, what that includes and entails. Get very specific on this. Do they mean the antique version I mentioned above or are they suggesting the new ‘mid-2002’ version of suggesting ways to make the actual content of your site optimized ‘doorways’ to your site?
…I have been told that the only way round this is if you can get the engine to think it is a page from a directory
Well, ‘the only way around’ comment stops me. I admit that is a way that works but I wouldn’t opt for it without first developing a plan based on a sound analysis that fits into your strategy for creating your web presence. Do you want your site to be a directory? If so there are some planning and design considerations you’ll want to look at before opting for this method. I wouldn’t lock myself into anything without first really considering the options.
…Does any 1 know if SEs are starting to penalise sites for using doorway pagers to improve rankings
You figured it out with the ‘orphan’ part. If it’s not a legitimate addition to the site, if it’s there only to ‘fool’ the engines and misrepresent visitors then watch out.
If we consider that every page is a doorway to your site then I think we’re looking at this with the proper focus.
Exactly, paynt, the point I was trying to make: how they're defining the term is important. But most seo professionals today realize that the term "doorway pages" has become associated with the outdated technique of building orphaned pages of plain text essentially focused on repeating keyword phrases. Certainly the term could be used to describe some techniques that are legitimate and effective today (and for that matter, there are still situations in which the old style of doorway pages might be appropriate), but most people with an up-to-date knowledge of seo wouldn't use that term because of its attached stigma.
So I'd question anyone who said to me, mid-2002, "use doorway pages to improve listings" with an extra bit of skepticism -- just as I would someone who said "here's your problem: you need more keywords in your meta tags!"
just as I would someone who said "here's your problem: you need more keywords in your meta tags!" - JayC
Smile - ah! big smile:)
but most people with an up-to-date knowledge of seo wouldn't use that term because of its attached stigma.
It's sometimes hard to teach an old dog new tricks, or an old SEO new terms!
I'll agree with JayC. I think the terms doorway, gateway and/or bridge pages are now obsolete in this industry. Its 2002, not 1998!
If you've reviewed as many SEO websites that we have (over 300 in the past 90 days), you'd have a deeper appreciation for those companies who have seen the writing on the wall and have shifted their focus to optimizing existing content. If that cannot be done, then development of additional content is necessary. How that additional content is developed is key to the entire equation.
There are many SEO websites out there that blatantly advertise the creation of doorways, gateways and/or bridge pages. The way they are advertised is clearly an indication of the types of pages they are producing.
And, when you have a paragraph that follows stating that they will submit to thousands of search engines, directories and link lists, that should give you plenty of warning!
When I hear doorway, gateway or bridge pages I may think, throw away pages and ultimately disposable site because I believe that's the risk you take.
I find myself though in talking with a client who themselves are using the terms, "doorway, gateway or bridge pages", explaining that every page of their site should or could be a ’doorway’ to their content. It’s not the term as much as the meaning that becomes important, theoretically I suppose.
The way I'm understanding this is that we have been recommended to buy a selection of domain names each of which will have one page optimised for results with a link to our company URL. This is, I think, what is now viewed as the antiquated method of using doorway pages. I hope I'm learning quick here:-)
I agree wholeheartedly that every page should be a doorway to your site and as such we used to submit many of the pages under our main domain to the SEs. I have however since read that a number of SEs will penalise you for submitting more that one page, preferring to crawl the rest of the site in it's own time. Have you had any experience with this?
When you talk of having doorway pages optimised within the main content of your site I assume that you mean the addition of pages that are within the main domain i.e. www.company.co.uk/useful info with keywords, metatags etc and a link to the product. Given that our site is a commercial tool providing product information this would seem to be the only way forward as putting a product on more than one page would just make the site more confusing to navigate.
Another option I have been offered to help improve our rankings is to buy a domain, ideally www.keyword.co.uk, this domain would, as I understand it, be framed and directed to our company URL. It would be optimised for the keyword but the framed section would prevent the SE picking up that it is directed elsewhere. There would be no page to view on the keyword domain as it would open up our main site, not a page with a link through. Does this sound a reasonable way to proceed to you?
The whole area of enlisting web marketing services seems to be a minefield, especially in terms of finding a company that is aware of the latest thinking, your help in bringing me up to date with the current views is invaluable, thanks again for your time.
Maybe the queen of hubs will also offer some advice relating to multiple domains and linking.
A new domain framed and directed to our company URL, I don't like the sound of that :( if it was me have your main site on your keyword URL then use URL forwarding for the company name URL
Just to reflect back on the old days it was a rush to feed the engines but sadly those days have past. You’re correct Sharron, now we get links and hope for spidering. If it weren’t for the majors and then all the second level portals, we wouldn’t have much submitting to do.
That should give you a clue that the internal linking is really important. In deciding what you’re going to do I suggest you read the discussion going on right now Questions to ask SEO company [webmasterworld.com]. Then, pop over and read Google and invisible text [webmasterworld.com]. It pays to be careful because there are so many ways folks practice optimization and site promotion.
Given that our site is a commercial tool providing product information this would seem to be the only way forward as putting a product on more than one page would just make the site more confusing to navigate
That would not be a given with me without an actual evaluation and analysis to determine what the site is all about. I do believe the optimization should be worked into how you structure and develop a site. Read Brett’s excellent post in the discussion Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone [webmasterworld.com].
In years past, we would buy hundreds of domains and fill them with killer doorway pages, cloak them and send them out into the world. That can still work but it's expensive and risky, although with disposable domains maybe who’s to judge?. I'm not sure how it affects branding though. I believe many site onwers are of the mind to build on what they have and making that a valuable and viable product.
this domain would, as I understand it, be framed and directed to our company URL
Please tell me it isn’t so!
Maybe the queen of hubs will also offer some advice relating to multiple domains and linking. - tigger
Actually that could very well be an answer that would work for you if you want to muddle your way through the post tigger suggested. Feel free to start a new discussion on it if you have current questions. We haven’t talked hubs much lately. I could get into that.
Anyway, you can see Sharron that we’re glad you’ve brought your questions forward. It helps us as a community to talk about these issues and there seems to be a lot of that going on right now.
Please tell me it isn’t so!"
I'm afraid so which is why I am reluctant to go down this route as I h8 frames with a passion. However I have been lead to believe that in this instance they would act as a bonus, because the SE isn't going to read it it won't know that there is no real content on the page that has been optimised for the key word. Once it has directed you to our main site you are frameless and free to wonder at will. The framed page wouldn't be seen.
I have indeed started looking through the threads Tigger suggested, which are starting to raise more questions, it now seems to me that link popularity is the way to go to improve rankings but given that I can only really think of sites that would be unlikely to give us a reciprocal link I'm guessing that it wouldn't do much for our rankings, only theirs!! You don't get credit for linking to other sites do you?
Linking is now certainly a major part and although your direct competitors won't link sometimes you'll be surprised that a similar related companies will exchange links, but a link is a link :)
Try looking at your competitors sites and look at there backward links to see who they have linked to then send the usual begging email
Is there another reason for not framing that I'm not aware off?