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.