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Doorway Pages: A Manipulative Black Hat SEO Technique

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In today’s digitally driven age, achieving a high ranking on search engine results pages (SERP) has turned into a top priority for many businesses. While some adhere to authentic, ethical practices such as creating unique content and improving user experience, others try to manipulate search engine algorithms through dubious tactics, known as ‘Black Hat SEO’. One such black hat technique centers around the misuse of ‘doorway pages’. This blog post delves into what doorway pages are, why they aren’t recommended, and the penalties associated with them.

What are Doorway Pages?

Doorway pages manipulate search rankings, designed solely for search engines, not human visitors, often called gateways or jump pages. They intentionally create them to target and rank high for specific search queries. When users click on these pages from a search result, they are usually redirected to a different webpage (typically the gateway to another site), which often has little or no relevance with their original search query.

Why are Doorway Pages a Bad Practice?

1. Poor User Experience: Doorway page deliver a poor user experience as they often redirect users to irrelevant content, leading to increased bounce rates, decreased dwell time, and reduced conversions.

2. Violates Guidelines: The use of doorway page goes against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google’s search algorithms aim to prioritize content that provides real value to users, whereas doorway pages are intended to trick search engines, not benefit users.

3. Penalty Risk: Websites caught using doorway page risk penalties from Google, which could result in lowered search rankings or even complete removal from search index.

Identifying Doorway Pages

To avoid unintentionally creating doorway pages, Google suggests considering these questions:

Does the content on the pages, intended to rank for generic terms, vastly differ from what the user sees?
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?
Do pages solely aim to draw affiliate traffic and send users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it’s possible that your website may have doorway pages.

White Hat Alternatives to Doorway Pages

To boost your website’s SEO, consider implementing these ethical, White Hat SEO practices:

1. Create Value-Driven Content: Instead of targeting irrelevant keywords, produce meaningful content that aligns with what your visitors are searching for.

2. Optimize Legitimate Landing Page: Rather than creating doorway page, optimize your legitimate landing page for SERP with correct use of metadata, high-quality imagery, fast load times, and call-to-actions.

3. Use Correct Redirects: Use redirects to enhance user experience, not to manipulate search engine rankings. If you must redirect, ensure that the redirected page is highly relevant to the original page.


While doorway pages might seem like a quick fix for improving SEO, they can do more harm than good in the long run. The key is to build an SEO strategy centered around increasing value for your visitors. Implementing best practices, staying updated with changes in search engine algorithms. And remaining patient and consistent in your efforts are crucial to a successful SEO campaign.

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