In mid-March, Google made another change to their SEO ranking algorithms. This time to distinguish between Landing pages and Doorway pages. And to penalize a site if it was using Doorway pages. If you might be confused on which is which, you’re not alone. According to wikipedia:
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. wikipedia
What is a Landing Page?
Obviously, Google does not think Doorway pages have such useful and noble aims. In fact, they don’t want to rank Doorway pages in their search engine results at all. Pretty serious stuff. So it will pay you to know the difference. Simply put, a Landing page is a page that features one of three things:
- an upcoming event or
- a featured product or
- new information about your site
All three of which directs your visitors somewhere on the page to some call to action (button) either to register for an event, purchase a product, sign up for a newsletter or signup to receive a free product or download.
What is a Doorway page?
It’s a page that doesn’t add clear or new useful content to the Internet. Its main purpose is to increase the site’s “search footprint” in order to gain an unfair advantage in Google’s search rankings. The new algorithm promises to put a stop to that. So how do you know whether you have a Landing page or Doorway page on your site? Google suggests you ask yourself the following questions. And hopefully avoid getting put in the search engine penalty box!
Is the purpose to optimize for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of your site’s user experience?
Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?
Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?
Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?
Do these pages exist as an “island?” Are they difficult or impossible to navigate to from other parts of your site? Are links to such pages from other pages within the site or network of sites created just for search engines?