In an effort to minimize webspam, Google recently announced their plan to roll out a new Doorway Page Penalty algorithm. Doorway Pages are search engine optimized pages whose sole purpose is to capture online search traffic and funnel that traffic through to the actually usable or relevant portions of a domain’s website. Doorway Pages provide little-to-no value to the end user and are majorly used to optimize a business’s search rank for several different physical locations. But how will this new penalty algorithm differentiate between spammy Doorway Pages and Local Landing Pages such as property, neighborhood, city, or school pages?
Here’s the difference between a Doorway Page and a Local Landing Page:
Doorway Pages are sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user’s search results where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination. Here are some examples of doorways, according to Google:
Having 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
Local Landing Pages are sites or pages that provide information about a location. For many instances, a Local Landing Page could be an individual page for a single-location business (for example, a restaurant) or it can be a page that's part of a store locator of a national chain with thousands of locations. When developing a Real Estate website you can think of individual properties as business branches, each of their designated webpages is a Local Landing Page. Therefore these rules laid out by Google should be applied:
Have each location's or branch's information accessible on separate webpages
Allow Googlebot to discover and crawl the location pages
The location information should be presented in an easy-to-understand format
Use schema.org structured data markup
Here is how to keep your Local Landing Pages optimized:
Each page contains unique, relevant content – All of Onboard's content is aggregated to geography. Therefore we can provide a wide spectrum of content which is unique to the property and/or geographic landing page. By integrating this unique content, your Local Landing Pages are not seen by Google as duplicate Doorway Pages devoid of adding any value.
No pages are dead ends – All of our geographies are interrelated. Therefore we can provide the relationships needed to build your entire cross site URLs based on geography for each page. What this shows to Google is that each of your property pages provide relevance, and no one property page is merely a means to funnel traffic in.
Pages are easy to navigate to – All of our geographies have definitive parent/child relationships which will enable you to create clean, canonical URLs. What this offers to Google is a clearly defined, browseable hierarchy of URLs which enables Googlebot to discover and crawl your property pages.
Information is presented in a way that is easy to understand – All of our content is standardized across geographies which makes it easy to markup on a webpage and/or mobile app, which Google measures to assess the on-page usability and experience.
There are several ways to ensure your Local Landing Pages aren’t registered as Doorway Pages, thus penalizing your company’s overall SEO. To learn more, reach out to me.