Are Local Landing Pages Doorway Pages?

Adam Steele
Apr 2, 2015

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Overwhelmingly, no. If you pay attention to the updates coming down the pipe, then you know there is a looming Google update that is targeting “Doorway Pages” and I know when I heard about it, I was a bit spooked. I did the research though, and I am no longer fussing, and hopefully nor should you. Here’s what you ought to know, but first, the definition right from the horses mouth…

Doorways 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 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.

And now, again directly from Google, some questions you need to ask yourself to determine whether or not, you have doorway pages…

  1. 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?
  2. Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?
  3. 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?
  4. Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?
  5. 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?

Let’s quickly dig in with my answers to the above…

  • A1. Well duh, of course we are optimizing for the search engines. Am I funneling to other, actually useful/readable pages, no. I have created a badass, useful, local landing page, and the only other place they need to be going, is my contact page. I have spent a good bit of time on user experience, providing visitors with all kinds of killer resources. 2/3, I’d say we are looking good on this one.
  • A2. I’d say my terms I am aiming to rank for are specific, as is the content on page. A BMW serviceman in the neighborhood of Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC Canada is pretty fucking specific if you ask me. That might be something I would target, and write about. Moving on.
  • A3. Be careful with this one. I know guys with pages that have these lists of the services they provide, that are exactly the same across every local lander. How many ways can you explain the services provided by a plumber? Lists are just easier! Is this was Google is talking about, I couldn’t say for sure, and this would seem pretty benign IMO. Still I would be careful about it. I would get specific on these pages, and target a narrow set of terms.
  • A4. This could be a sticky one for lead gen boys and girls. You don’t do the work. You MAY be sending people away even, to other sites. In that case, you’ll want to over-index on content, value, etc. Easily avoidable, you should not have to worry about this one if you bust your ass, and create great pages.
  • A5. Simple. Navigation. Don’t leave these pages stranded. Don’t orphan them. Clearly link them from your nav menu, footer, whatever.

Make a page that when someone arrives there, they don’t need to go anywhere else. Everything they need to know, is there, including a contact form/phone, etc. They should not have to visit another site or page. That’s the kind of punch you want these pages to pack.

This shit is not brain science. Just put in the work, and you’ll be fine. Be lazy, and prepare for a spanking.

Good luck out there!

Inspiration credit goes to Nifty Marketing.

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