What are Doorway pages in SEO?

Doorway pages direct towards certain websites or webpages created to push its rankings highly for specific search queries. They could be done with malicious intent or for spamming users to check the same website/webpage again and again. It creates a bad user experience because they lead to multiple entry points to similar webpages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to ultimately the same destination. Sometimes they lead to intermediate pages that lead the users to the same destination.

Here are some examples of doorways:

  • 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

Doorway pages (bridge pagesportal pagesjump pagesgateway pages, or entry pages) are web pages that are created for the deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes (spamdexing). A doorway page will affect the index of a search engine by inserting results for particular phrases while sending visitors to a different page. Doorway pages that redirect visitors without their knowledge use some form of cloaking. This usually falls under Black Hat SEO.

If a visitor clicks through to a typical doorway page from a search engine results page, in most cases they will be redirected with a fast Meta refresh command to another page. Other forms of redirection include the use of JavaScript and server-side redirection, from the server configuration file. Some doorway pages may be dynamic pages generated by scripting languages such as Perl and PHP.

Doorway pages are often easy to identify in that they have been designed primarily for search engines, not for human beings. Sometimes a doorway page is copied from another high ranking page, but this is likely to cause the search engine to detect the page as a duplicate and exclude it from the search engine listings.

More sophisticated doorway pages, called Content Rich Doorways, are designed to gain high placement in search results without using redirection. They incorporate at least a minimum amount of design and navigation similar to the rest of the site to provide a more human-friendly and natural appearance. Visitors are offered standard links as calls to action.

Landing pages are regularly misconstrued to equate to Doorway pages within the literature. The former are content-rich pages to which traffic is directed within the context of pay-per-click campaigns and to maximize SEO campaigns.

Doorway pages are also typically used for sites that maintain a blacklist of URLs known to harbor spam, such as Facebook, Tumblr, and Deviantart.

Types-of-doorway-pages-Keyword-Institute-image

Cloaking

Doorway pages often also employ Cloaking techniques for misdirection. Cloaked pages will show a version of that page to the human visitors which is different from the one provided to crawlers – usually implemented via server-side scripts. The server can differentiate between bots, crawlers, and human visitors based on various flags, including source IP address and/or user-agent. Cloaking will simultaneously trick search engines to rank sites higher for irrelevant keywords while displaying monetizing any human traffic by showing visitors spammy, often irrelevant, content. The practice of cloaking is considered to be highly manipulative and condemned within the SEO industry and by search engines, and its use can result in a massive penalty or the complete removal of sites from being indexed. [2]

Redirection

Webmasters that use doorway pages would generally prefer that users never actually see these pages and instead be delivered to a “real” page within their sites. To achieve this goal, redirection is sometimes used. This may be as simple as installing a meta refresh tag on the doorway pages. An advanced system might make use of cloaking. In either case, such redirection may make your doorway pages unacceptable to search engines.

Construction

A content-rich doorway page must be constructed in a Search engine friendly (SEF) manner, otherwise, it may be construed as search engine spam possibly resulting in the page being banned from the index for an undisclosed amount of time.

These types of doorways utilize (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Title Attributed images for key word support
  • Title Attributed links for key word support

Bad Examples of Doorway Pages

Another popular misconception about doorway pages is that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ types: most doorway pages are’ bad’ BlackHat doorway pages but there are special ‘good’ WhiteHat doorway pages that can be used without risk and really work! 

This misconception is fueled by articles from ‘marketing experts’ trying to rank well for the term doorway pages. These ‘click chasers’ shoehorn another digital marketing technique into an article with the title such as how I used doorway pages to boost my rankings. What these articles normally show is a series of pages that are similar to each other but have nothing to do with doorway pages. You can boil all these articles down to this one poor example:

These pages for the term ‘swimming shorts’ and ‘summer shorts’ are similar but they both rank well, this must be a doorway page!

Looking at two pages in the search results that both rank and saying this must be doorway pages is certainly jumping to conclusions. This isn’t what makes a page a doorway page. 

The key element of what makes a webpage a doorway page is its use for the purpose of misdirection. In this so-called ‘example’ of a doorway page. It is perfectly logical that a search engine would see summer shorts and swimming shorts as having different and equal value for the user, perhaps they need shorts for swimming perhaps they need them for the summer. This is a case of semantics, not deception. Without deception, the question of how similar pages rank is: what counts as duplicate content? Not: what is an example of a doorway page? 

(Content Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doorway_page)

Recommended Reading :

How Hidden text and links affect SEO ? – Keyword Institute

What is Keyword Stuffing? Avoid SEO Self-Kill – Keyword Institute

2 thoughts on “What are Doorway pages in SEO?”

Leave a Comment