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Does Google want to own doorway pages?

     
5:01 pm on Dec 28, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have a site with several pages that are umbrella pages for a series of related pages. My users actually want to see four or five related pages of content. I have no other way of directing them than to have these umbrellas.

In the old days, we called them index pages. Google apparently calls the doorway pages.

It seems more than a coincidence that these so-called doorway pages apparently got penalized at the same time Google has been rolling out its own doorways in search results. Note the results at the top of the search term "South Carolina attractions":

[google.com...]

Your thoughts?
2:27 pm on Dec 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yes Google wants to own doorway pages. All those information boxes they acquire from other pages other than their own and display on the search result pages is Google trying to keep people on their site so they can view their Ads.
5:28 pm on Dec 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So it's a bad user experience if a doorway page is on my site, but it's a good user experience if the doorway page is on Google. :)

Thanks for the response. I thought that was the case. At some point Google will burn too many bridges.
8:57 pm on Dec 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Does Google want to own doorway pages?
An argument can be made that AMP pages, which reside on Google servers, are doorway pages to sites. So yes.
9:18 pm on Dec 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google has been very upfront about this for years. When someone searches on "doughnuts," he or she wants to be sent to a page about doughnuts, not to an index page with links to other pages on doughnuts, muffins, cinnamon rolls, and biscuits. That's Google's stance, anyway, and Google has a reputation for being a data-driven company.
I have no other way of directing them than to have these umbrellas.

There's nothing wrong with having such pages (they're a normal part of a site's navigation), but that doesn't mean Google should dish them up in its search results.
9:35 pm on Dec 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I understand your point, but I'll give an example that is more relevant to my situation.

If I want to read articles about historical Corvettes from the 1960s, I don't want to go to a single page with 10,000 words and 50 photos about 10 different Corvettes. I want a page that offers 10 articles of 1,000 words and 5 photos each. If nothing else, page speed is a major factor.

The usefulness of the page is shown in the number of people who click back and forth between the index page and the individual articles, the number of times the page is shared on social media and other metrics.

I get that Google doesn't want to offer such a page in search results anymore because it wants to own doorway pages. But it's also penalizing my page by putting 6-8 irrelevant pages above it in the search results.
9:59 pm on Dec 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google is a scraper but few will call it out for this. Google's FUDbuddies in the media and the SEO business will, no doubt, have their praise and excuses ready for what is essentially Google's latest landgrab.

Regards...jmcc
10:10 pm on Dec 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Another case of do as I say, not as I do.
11:33 pm on Dec 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Another case of do as I say, not as I do.

Of course. Google Search is a spidered search engine, not a directory. It's purpose is to deliver deep results.

The point of having index pages for various topics (or "menu pages" or "doorway pages," if you prefer those terms) is to help visitors who are on your site. Those visitors arrive via deep links from Google, Bing, Yandex, or whatever, and once they're on your site, you can tempt them with what your navigation menus, featured stories, and such.
12:39 am on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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i don't get it ! Can someone please define what Google means is a doorway page, because it used to mean a page loaded with keyword stuffing - sometimes hidden. This new definition seems to include most home pages and category pages - surely that can't be right. Are Google just thinking up ways to penalise people for normal site architecture or have I missed something?

Of course. Google Search is a spidered search engine, not a directory.


Google business listings are a directory driven.
1:37 am on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is a doorway page the same as a category page?

Staying on the topic of doughnuts and the category of 'doughnut glazes/icing'...So you have a category page with links to...

Glazed doughnuts
Cinnamon
Icing
Whatever else...

My site has several category pages, it's not in any way designed to scam Google. It has lumped all articles in a particular category on those pages.

Or am I just really confused?
1:56 am on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Or am I just really confused?


Me too, are category pages now classed as doorway pages by Google?
Are most Home pages classed as doorway pages?
2:03 am on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am tired of this vague indecipherable cr@p coming out of Google. Please define what you mean or better yet stop dictating how websites are built and do your job of indexing without the ridiculous penalties you dish out.
2:48 am on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am tired of this vague indecipherable cr@p coming out of Google
Where is this coming out of Google? Where has Google said they want to own doorway pages?

AFAIK this is only conjecture presented by the OP as a discussion topic.
3:17 am on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks keyplyr you added some clarity.

It seems all that has happened is an update of Guidelines for Doorway pages and this has caused confusion.

Doorways are sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.
Here are some examples of doorways:

Having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page
Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s)
Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browseable hierarchy
6:10 am on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I want a page that offers 10 articles of 1,000 words and 5 photos each.


Your complaint that Google can't understand what kind of content you want and satisfy that need is a legitimate one. But that level of personalization is not currently happening. That's not how Search Engines work today.

Current search engines focus on what satisfies the most users making a particular query. If you think that's sloppy, I agree. But it's what it is today.
6:32 am on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think this is a blackhat technique.
10:37 am on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I use seeveral doorway / index / category pages on my website purely to get the pages below them indexed.

If G has ever said that they are in any way spam then that doesn't match up with the site link entries you will see if you enter my domain into G.

Six sitelink categories appear and four of them are doorway pages, one is the contact us us and the other is a popular page. So G clearly understands the high value of those doorway pages.
2:38 pm on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Martinibuster, I respectfully disagree. I can't recall ever seeing a page with a 10,000 word article and 50 photos on 10 different topics that ranks highly in Google. I also don't know any reputable publisher who does such a thing, and I have worked in mainstream media for nearly 40 years. As I said in my post, page speed alone would be a major negative factor.

I believe Google wants Google.com to follow the same model as YouTube in which it controls all of the content. The development of snippets, side profiles, AMP, doorways and other initiatives all point in that direction.

Google knows its profit and revenue growth depend on acquiring content as Google.com matures as a product. Just like Facebook instant articles.

YouTube doesn't have that problem.
7:59 pm on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I can't recall ever seeing a page with a 10,000 word article and 50 photos on 10 different topics that ranks highly in Google. I also don't know any reputable publisher who does such a thing...


So... you're saying nobody reputable publishes 10k articles and that Google does not rank those (non-existent) 10k articles. Am I reading that right?

What is it that we disagree on? I read your post three times and couldn't figure that out. :)

Long and authoritative articles do exist. But you could be right that they don't rank highly. And why they don't rank highly is attributable to many reasons, like those who write them aren't professional writers and tend to ramble and many other reasons, take your pick.

I just checked the word count of one of my favorite articles on a topic I'm interested in, an exceedingly well illustrated article, and it has 27,605 words. I've encountered it many times when doing research. Another, better organized article, consistently outranks it at number one. But I don't think it's because Google favors shorter articles over longer articles. It could be just as you said, that those long articles simply don't exist.

And it could also be because people aren't interested in long articles because long articles are uncomfortable to read because most people are on mobile phones.
8:44 pm on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Reading time.... I've seen a few sites that actually have an estimated reading time at the top of each of their articles. 3 Minutes, 5 Minutes, 12 Minutes, etc. Checking their word counts (for the articles, not all the ads and stuff) that works out to about 80 words a minute.
11:03 pm on Dec 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I use seeveral doorway / index / category pages on my website purely to get the pages below them indexed.

If G has ever said that they are in any way spam then that doesn't match up with the site link entries you will see if you enter my domain into G.

People (I don't mean you) obsess too much about penalties. If Google doesn't serve up John Doe's index or category page on a SERP, that doesn't mean the page or the site is being penalized, or that Google is trying to create a monopoly on doorway pages. It just means the algorithm didn't break the way John Doe might have liked in that particular case.

Design your site for users, and Google will figure out what's worth indexing and returning as a search result.
12:59 am on Dec 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You can lead a robot to index, but you can't make it serp.
 

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