Do you inadvertently have doorway pages on your site?
Yes, it’s true that no-one deliberately creates doorway pages any more in order to ‘fool’ the search engines and website viewers but there are obviously enough of them out there for Google to have made the decision to crack down on them further.
The problem only arises for the legitimate webmaster when and if they have pages that Google might class as doorway pages. As we know, Google are cracking down hard on websites that aren’t mobile-friendly and at much the same time, they announced that doorway pages are also for the chop.
Some people may have developed pages that Google will see as being unacceptable without really being aware of it. How can you check?
Is every page of your site created with the viewer in mind rather than search engines? Most webmasters will answer ‘of course’ but if you’ve overdone the keyword density, it could send those little Google spiders crazy. Even if this is just temporary, a loss of pageviews for your site will result in a loss of income. You don’t have to be an expert webmaster to check your keyword density – any search engine will gladly lead you to online (free) services that will check for you.
Does the content on a page do well for generic terms that are not accurately reflected on the page? For example, a company could have a page that does well – for now – in search engines for the term ‘how to grow mint’. When a viewer gets to that page, it is specifically about the company’s herb plants that are for sale and not giving the viewer any practical advice on what they were looking for – how to grow a specific plant. The searcher is not getting the specific value he or she was looking for. It’s worth spending some time in your Google Analytics looking at the search terms your viewers have used.
The dreaded duplicate content – do you have pages that repeat the same information? Again, this could cause the Google bots to look askance at your pages. SEO practitioners who create similar pages may, for example,optimise pages for certain search terms (how to grow mint, how to grow marjoram, how to grow thyme etc) with much the same information on all pages. This can be done accidentally if you have boilerplate content – in your footer for example – and not enough original content.
This may trap some legitimate websites. Google asks us to ask ourselves whether the goal of the page is to lead the viewer to affiliate websites without providing enough original content. (This will be a familiar challenge for anyone who writes on content sites). If you are recommending products on your site, be sure to check that you are providing real value to the reader and explaining exactly why you are encouraging them to take look at the product. Again, just a temporary lull in page views can reduce your online earnings.
Are the pages isolated in any way? Do they have your full navigation or would the reader find it difficult to find other sections of the site easily and quickly?Often when illegal doorway pages are created,they exist to divert the viewer to one specific page and not to any others. This means that the Google spiders could become concerned if they find any pages on your site that don’t have the full navigation.
It’s important to remember that these little beasties that are initially evaluating your site are simple computer algorithms. They are not human beings who are looking at your site – they are doing just what they have been programmed to do and look for certain problems. Initially, they cab flag your site until ‘the bigger boys’ come around to give it a more thorough check. But the internet is vast.
Of all the organisations you need to please – if you are making a living (or trying to) on the internet – the one you need to love you is Google.