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Search Engine Friendly Workarounds - Doorway Pages

In This Section
  What is a doorway page?
  Machine generated doorway pages
  Manually designed doorway pages

If you cannot use any of the other workarounds the doorway page is a good last option. Doorway pages, like the meta keyword tags, have been misused to such an extent that they are sometimes considered synonymous with spam. But they don't have to be.

  • Machine Generated Doorways: The reason for the bad feelings towards doorway pages is the fact that a lot of SEO specialists and website owners created thousands of automatically generated pages that were all template driven and lacking in content. You may have heard of the WebPosition Gold Page Generator but this wasn't the only way to automatically create a doorway. Some SEO companies wrote their own software that you could feed 2 or 3 keywords into and it would churn out a page full of illegible rubbish with the keywords placed throughout the page in a way thought to produce high rankings on a particular engine. The problem with these types of doorways is obvious, they serve no purpose other than flooding the engines with rubbish pages that then redirect the viewer elsewhere. Sometimes the viewer is redirected to a page related to their query, but not always. The cons related to this type of doorway are plenty and there are no pros for the engines or viewer.
  • Visible, Manually Designed Doorways: Another form of doorway page is sort of like an information page in that it is visible to the viewer and contains legible keyword rich text but is not very well designed, doesn't fit in with the site's overall look and feel (being BDU for the search engines' sake) and isn't linked from any prominent section of the site. They typically have one button allowing you to click to enter the site's homepage. The cons are that the viewer sees a not so beautiful page that doesn't conform to the company's image, has to click and usually ends up at the homepage instead of the exact information they wanted. The pros is that there is no redirect.
  • Redirect/Framing, Manually Designed Doorways: And yet another form is the doorway page that is a manually developed page with keyword rich text, very like you would see on a visible page of the site yet without the marketing fluff. The difference between this type of doorway page and the one above is that this doorway page automatically redirects the viewer to or frames the page that is most relevant to the text on the doorway page. The cons are that it isn't prominently linked and it redirects (or frames the destination page), the pro is that the viewer doesn't see a non-conforming page, doesn't have to click again and gets to the information they were expecting to see.

Whether you choose to use a visible or non-visible doorway make sure that the text is legible with no spelling or grammatical errors. Do not create one doorway per engine or worse, per keyword per engine. If you have to use them at all you should create one doorway per topic designed so as to be generally search engine friendly and cover the keywords related to that topic. If you try to get the keyword density perfect for every engine's individual algorithm you're going to drive yourself mad and you'll have to redo the page every week or so anyway.

The doorways should ideally redirect, frame or lead through to the "real" page of the site they are being used as a substitute for so that the viewer gets what they were expecting. You should keep the amount of doorways used to as few as possible and should remember that "real" pages of the site are always given higher rankings.

Doorway pages can be effective for high search engine rankings but they are a last resort as a workaround for sites that are not search engine friendly. Use doorways if you have to but try to work on making the site or at least part of it search engine friendly as well.

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