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SEO myth: Doorway & gateway pages

November 18, 2003

When the Internet was still in its infancy, doorway and gateway pages could, in certain circumstances, have partly served some ligitimate function, although opinions vary wildly on that assumption. We say partly because, doorway and gateway pages have always been illegal and prohibited on most major Internet search engines. And they still are, in fact even more today than at any other time.

However, that did not prevent certain individuals or companies from using doorway or gateway pages (similar). In fact, some are still illegally using them, in effect creating a lot of unwanted spam in the search engines.

Just how are doorway and gateway pages created? A quick verification of some search engine positioning (SEO) firms' Web sites will reveal to you that all of them promise to deliver you high rankings in most major search engines. For some, the way they attempt to do that is by creating what is called in the industry "gateway pages" (or doorway pages), in the hope they will help rankings for a specific corporate Web site. These are pages created by these firms that are completely independent of your current pages, which they load with certain keyword and key phrases that, according to them, should entail more traffic to your site.

They then submit these (illegal) doorway pages to the major Web search engines. Those pages are not "clickable" by definition. Their mere presence is supposed to increase your rankings. Rank for Sales strongly advises anybody not to use any doorway or gateway pages. In fact, they will probably get you in trouble at some point in time. Besides, they are illegal and forbidden in all major search engines. In this section of our Web site, you will find out why.

Most of these companies use some form of automated programs which incorporate some general templates that they edit with, in what they would consider the most appropriate identification of your industry keywords and key phrases, along with other basic text. These programs then output a so-called "results page" that, they claim, will rank high for a particular engine. The whole process, wich takes a lot of time, energy and effort is continuously repeated for every single major search engine! Sometimes these so-called "site positioning firms" will create additional and different doorway pages (the same as gateway pages), again using a different set of "results pages" generated by the same automated programs they use.

In creating doorway and gateway pages, those processes are supposed tell some Webmasters what keyword density each engine supposedly "needs" to look at, based on past results, and how many times you should put sensitive keyword phrases into the incorporated text and meta tags of the gateway (doorway) pages. The question everyone should ask here is: are gateway and doorway pages really worth all the time, expense and effort? It sounds like a lot of unnecessary trouble and a real waste of time. Carefully remember that each and every search engine wants to "look" at the same thing as we all do: well-written Web sites that contain good, valuable content that is of help to the Internet search community.

What happens in the real world is, those pages rank high for numerous keyword phrases regardless of the correct keyword density or its exact placement in the text body of the page because they are filled with good and valuable content. Any Web site that is filled with good and valuable content will, as a rule, rank high in most of the major Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Alta-Vista and DMOZ, etc. Remember that engine spiders (or crawlers) such as Googlebot, Freshbot and all the others, always look for good, useful content the minute they "step into a site".

Experience has taught us there are minor variations in the number of times a keyword or keyphrase should appear and how many words should be on a given page. But, as a whole, those numbers will have a very small impact in your site rankings. If we gave a lot of attention to these automated programs, we would probably find out that most of our client's sites have inaccurate keyword density for certain engines. For example, the program could tell us that specific pages possibly have too many keywords and that others don't have enough. We have seen instances to that effect in the past and site owners and webmasters alike should not worry about those facts.

If your company or business already has a Web site and if it's more than one page, then you have your own built-in, natural doorway (gateway) page. Each and every page of your current site is a doorway to the rest of your site. When we optimize a site, we always have that very important rule in mind. In reality, there are sometimes technical issues why each page of a site cannot be a gateway.

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With your homepage as your basic point of entry, you simply create other informative pages that link from the main page to the rest of the site. These are not gateway pages in the original sense of the word, because you're linking to them from your main page, and you actually want people to read them in the first place. These pages should give useful information about your business, your products and the people that work for it. It also goes without saying that all the pages of your site should be easy and "user-friendly" to navigate.

Creating doorway and gateway pages that are not linked to the rest of your site and don't provide important information about your site are, not only unnecessary, but may even harm your site's rankings. We have seen that happen more than once, especially in some of the spider-type engines. The real action that typical gateway pages do is create useless spam and uneccessary files in the engines. This may seem strange for some of you but that is what it basically does.

Since 2001, some search engines such as AltaVista have already started to take a stand against doorway and gateway pages by not allowing them in any way and by actually deleting them from their databases. Developments such as these have put a number of search engine placement companies suddenly out of business. Rank for Sales strictly recommends that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) be done correctly, and that the use of doorway and gateway pages be AVOIDED at all times.

In February of 2006, Google has prevented access to the site when Google accused the German car manufacturer of trying to manipulate its search results with the use of doorway and gateway pages. From that action, BMW's website was effectively prevented from appearing in Google's search results pages. BMW said it had done nothing wrong at the time.

Article written by Serge Thibodeau,
President & CEO,
Rank for $ales
Copyright (c) Serge Thibodeau 2003

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