Doorway Pages Penalty: Here’s How to Avoid Getting Penalized By Google 

Written by / In group / Updated on
February 15, 2020

The best way to impress Google is to impress your website audience first. If you’re trying to manipulate Google, you will get penalized sooner or later.

Have you heard about doorway pages?

Doorway pages are thin and low quality pages which are optimized only to rank well for specific keywords. These pages usually act as a door between your website users and content. Hence they are often known as doorway pages.

They are NOT going to help you in the long run.

If you’re looking to grow your search traffic and improve your overall site rankings organically, you need to avoid doorway pages. Here’s the exclusive post about doorway pages penalty and how to avoid getting penalized by Google.

How do doorway pages affect search rankings?

doorway pages penalty algorithm

If you are knowingly or unknowingly using doorway pages on your sites, de-index them immediately or else Google penalizes your sites for spamdexing (also known as “manipulation of spam indexing”).

They will not only affect your search engine rankings but you will get less to no traffic from Google. So make sure you don’t create such doorway pages on your sites just for the sake of getting links or traffic. It won’t work anymore after the roll out from the Google’s update on doorway pages!

What are doorway pages?

Doorways are sites or pages that are exclusively created to rank highly for specific search queries. These doorway pages are really 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.

These doorway pages are usually aimed at link building and boosting search engine traffic to pages where only spam links exist. Doorway pages are also known as bridge pages, portal pages, jump pages, gateway pages or entry pages.

They are essential low quality pages that are optimized to rank higher for specific keywords which act as a door between users and content.

In simple terms, doorway pages can be explained as:

If a user clicks on one result, doesn’t like it, and then tries the next result in the search results page and is taken to that same site – they are known as doorway pages.

Doorway pages examples

In simple terms, doorway pages are also known as “standalone pages” that are created only to visitors from search engines. These pages are often considered as spam and give bad website navigation to users.

For instance, if you’re searching for “plugins” and instead of getting a plugin site, you get a page that says, “Click here for plugins.” You just did that! Now they’re asking you to do it again. Are you going to click now?

Examples of doorway pages

Here are some examples of doorways (according to Google guidelines):

  • Having multiple domains or pages that are targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one individual page
  • Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site
  • Mostly similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browseable hierarchy

Let’s demonstrate through a screenshot to easily understand how doorway pages work in general. Have a look at the following image:

doorway pages examples

Examples of doorway pages!

 

As you can see, multiple links (often with anchor text) are pointing  to major product sections on main site. This often leads to bad user navigation.

For instance, if you are trying to download a song from a music site and when you click on a link, if irrelevant pages to marketing sites appear, they are considered as doorway pages. How frustrating for a visitor it would be?

That’s the reason why doorway pages are bad for search users as they not only give bad user experience and also considered as spam pages.

How to check your website for doorway pages?

So how do you know whether your site has doorway pages or not?

There’s a simple trick. Enter site:domain.com (replace domain with your domain name) on Google search results.

Once you do that, Google will show all the indexed pages from your site.

Now, all you have to do is to find if any of your archive pages such as tags, categories etc are indexed in Google search results. If they are getting indexed, you should no-index them to avoid doorway pages penalty.

Read: Avoid These 13 Deadliest SEO Mistakes At All Costs

How to Avoid Doorway Pages Penalty

Here are some helpful tips to avoid creating doorway pages and increase your ranking organically in the long run.

Create high quality pages using E-A-T

Google says E-A-T is among the top 3 considerations for Page Quality of any website on the Internet.

If you’re not aware of what EAT is all about, let’s talk about it.

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

Let’s briefly talk about EAT so you can understand it better while creating great content for your website audience.

  • Expertise (E): The author of the content should be an expert in the topic he’s creating content about. How much expertise does the author have on the subject matters a lot?
  • Authoritativeness (A): The author of the content should be an authority on the topic. Make sure to add credentials and testimonials wherever necessary as it easily increases your site’s authoritativeness.
  • Trustworthiness (T): No matter what niche you are in, your content has to be top notch, comprehensive, trustworthy and ultimately useful for your website audience. Your overall site’s security (such as https version of the site), overall site content quality, website design, backlink profile, social media signals all play a key role here.

Make sure your blog posts are comprehensive and visually appealing.

Whether you know it or not, the posts with 2000+ words usually rank well in search engines (and also attract more social shares).

Not only that, long form of content always generates more backlinks than shorter blog posts.

long form seo results

As you can see above, a thoughtful study by BuzzSumo and Brian Dean found that long form of content gets more links than short blog posts.

Avoid tricking Google

As we already discussed above that doorway pages are often easy to identify because they are created primarily for search engines like Google, not for people.

So if you want to avoid doorway pages penalty, here are some of the things you should avoid.

  • Avoid cloaking: As doorway pages often employ cloaking techniques for misdirection. Cloaked pages usually manipulate search engines by showing a version of that page to website users which is different from the one provided to search engine crawlers (this is done usually by using server side scripts).
  • Avoid black hat SEO: Black hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing, link cloaking, buying cheap and toxic links for faster rankings etc can often lead you for a Google penalty. Make sure you NEVER focus on black hat and try to use these proven ways to build links.
  • Advanced redirections: Sometimes people also use advanced redirections black hat techniques such as installing a meta refresh tag on the doorway pages. Don’t ever do that. Google is smarter than you!

Above all, make sure to avoid duplicate content issues. Duplicate content contains extremely similar content being used on multiple pages.

Whether you know it or not, 29% of pages had duplicate or something similar issues across the internet. So if you want to avoid doorway pages penalty, make sure to avoid duplicate content.

Your site structure is vital

Your website’s structure is extremely important both for search engines and your website users. Your site structure refers to how you organize your website’s content.

Your website structure often deals with how your blog posts and pages are grouped together, linked and presented to your website visitors. If it’s easy to navigate by your users and search crawlers, you will get the best results from Google.

Here are some quick tips to create a website structure to improve SEO.

Develop a silo structure: Silo site structure is categorizing your website’s content into various categories (and subcategories). That way Google can quickly determine the relevance of each post on your blog based on your silos or topics.

Here’s how it looks like;

deep silo structure

If you’re curious to know how to implement it, make sure to check out our detailed guide on creating a silo structure for SEO.

Smart internal linking is the key: Internal links play a key role so make sure to improve your internal linking structure. You should often link to your most essential blog posts and pages as Google crawlers will consider them the best and it also improves the link juice to those pages.

Remove or update old content: Most people don’t update their old blog posts. It’s a HUGE mistake. If you’re not updating it, it might lead to 404 error pages, slow page loading times and so on. Either update your old content with fresh information or remove and redirect those posts using 301 redirects.

Perform site audits

The best way to find and fix all your site’s technical and SEO related issues is to perform in-depth audits of your site.

Here’s where an all in one SEO tool like SEMrush comes into play.

SEMrush is the #1 SEO tool used by over 4 million people around the world. It helps you with everything including keyword research to competitor analysis to performing detailed site audits.

That being said, here’s how a site audit on SEMrush looks like;

semrush site audit score

As you can see above, it shows you a list of all the errors and warnings including thematic reports that show you different site issues such as;

  • Crawlability
  • Https
  • Internal linking
  • Site performance etc

Quick tip: While performing site audits using SEMrush, make sure to focus on fixing the errors first as they can severely impact your site’s performance in search results.

Looking for a free trial of SEMrush? Use the following link to try their tools for 30 days absolutely at no cost.

Grab SEMrush for Free for the Next 30 Days (Worth $99.95)

SEMrush offers 3 pricing plans which include;

  • Pro plan costs you $99.95 monthly
  • Guru plan costs you $199.95 monthly
  • Business plan costs you $399.95 monthly

We have written a detailed guide on using SEMrush to perform site audits where you can find a ton of details along with the screenshots. So make sure to check it out.

Here’s a detailed video explaining PROVEN ways to avoid penalties from Google (including a checklist).

The best way to doorway pages penalty by Google

Don’t go against Google guidelines. Always follow Google’s quality guidelines to play safe if you want to boost your organic traffic without hurting your readership.

We also suggest you de-index your doorway pages completely from Google search results and fill your websites with relevant content that is useful for the visitors.

Focus on using the right keywords that your prospects might be searching for. Also use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc to increase your brand awareness and follow proper on-page optimization techniques to increase your search rankings.

Here are a few more things to remember if you want to avoid doorway penalties from Google.

  • Make sure you have a proper navigation system on your website that is user friendly. Your website visitors should easily navigate your sites and find if any link is repeated. Remove the redundancy in links if you want to stay safe from Google penalty updates on doorway pages.
  • Be sure to check out all the pages on your sites and make sure whether all of them provide valuable information to the users and not created just for the sake of particular keywords.
  • NEVER use multiple number of similar pages with keyword stuffing. It’s a surefire way to get penalized by Google updates on doorway pages.
  • Try to avoid sub domain and make sure not to copy others content to increase your website traffic.
  • Don’t use landing pages to employ doorway pages. Make sure your landing pages are provided with useful information and proper call to actions.

Browse More SEO Tutorials:

Final thoughts about doorway pages penalty algorithm

Doorway pages are usually huge number of poor quality pages that are optimized for a specific keyword in order to increase website traffic.

Google is strict regarding this and it will penalize any site that uses doorway pages as a way to manipulate search results. So avoid using any tactic to increase your website traffic. If you try to manipulate Google search results, it will permanently ban your sites from search index.

Do you have any more questions related to doorway pages penalty? If yes, let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Anil Agarwal

Doorway Pages Penalty: Here’s How to Avoid Getting Penalized By Google Anil Agarwal who owns Bloggerspassion.com, is a full-time blogger and SEO expert who has been helping people build profitable blogs for over a decade. Bloggers Passion has been featured on premium online sites like Forbes.com, Huffingtonpost, SEMrush, Problogger, Crazy Egg, The Next Web and so on.

2 Comments

  1. Monika says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for this valuable information. I recently had this manual action by Google on my website regarding doorway pages. But I didn’t create any doorway page. I had an old website. I re-designed it as well as created fresh content and in the process re-directed the old content as I wanted to replace the old content with the new one. I gave fresh SEO Title tag and meta tag descriptions for all pages and posts. I am not able to understand what could have gone wrong? I am 100 precent sure about the quality of my content and its definitely not duplicate. Can you help me understand ow I can resolve the issue? Thank you for your time for reading this article.

  2. Renee Groskreutz says:

    In the end, it keeps coming down to the same thing again and again, make quality content. If bloggers would approach their sites from the perspective of caring about the client, this would not be a thing. Now with that said, I get why people are doing these things. It is difficult to compete so you wind up trying “tricks” and I have probably over optimized in the past myself. This is a constant struggle but perhaps, the answer is just to keep providing true and valuable answers.

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