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Doorway Page

Last updated: Nov 21, 2022

What is a Doorway Page?

A doorway page is a website or page created to manipulate search engines so that the results that appear on the search page (SERP) differ from those that the user visits.

The purpose is so that a page can get ranked for a particular search query and then redirect visitors without their knowledge to another page using some manipulation methods.

Some examples of commonly used practices in this case are:

  • Redirect users from the page they visited in search results to another page (the sales page or other pages deemed important).
  • The use of multiple domain names or targeted pages for different target areas, but visitors will be routed to the same page.
  • Use of several websites with slight differences in URL and display on the home page in order to maximize ranking for certain search queries.

The Effect of Doorway Pages on SEO

As part of black hat SEO, a fake page that doesn’t provide original content can damage the user experience. It tricks users into visiting a different page than the results that appear in the SERP.

Such a type of page also tricks search engines by affecting their index so that the page may appear in certain search queries but redirect visitors to other pages. Websites that use this page have the potential to experience a decrease in ranking or even be blocked from Google.

Doorway Page Characteristics

The process of identifying this kind of page is quite easy because the page is designed to manipulate search engines, not to help users. The following are its characteristics: 

  • Duplicate content: Typically, the pages are duplicates of other content that are performing well in search results. The goal is that the page can get ranked.
  • Redirection: Some pages use JavaScript to redirect from the page shown in the SERP to the specified page.
  • Content Rich Doorways: These pages are designed to be able to get a high ranking without using redirection. They are made with a variety of similar designs and navigation to other pages to make them appear more user-friendly. Later, users will be offered a link as a CTA.
  • Blacklisted URLs: These types of pages are also often used to manipulate search engines to display blacklisted URLs in the SERPs.

Doorway Page Methods

There are several methods used to create a doorway page, namely cloaking, redirection, and construction. A complete explanation for each method is:

Cloaking

One of the ways to manipulate search engine indexes is to use cloaking. This method will make the appearance of the page seen by the user different from the contents of the indexed page content. To be able to implement this method, webmasters will use server-side scripting.

The website server can distinguish whether website visitors are humans or robots. The way to tell the difference is to pay attention to several signals, such as the IP address and user agent.

The application of cloaking will make search engines display doorway pages with high rankings even though the keywords are not relevant. Of course, this method is very risky because it is against Google Webmaster Guidelines. Websites detected using this method will face manual action, including removal from Google's index. 

Redirection

The redirection method is often used so that the audience who visits the page is immediately directed to the specified website page. To use this method, the HTML page will contain a meta refresh tag. In addition, the redirection process can also be done by JavaScript or server-side redirection.

The use of the redirection method can also be combined with the cloaking method. This method can manipulate search engines in a more sophisticated way so that web crawlers will ignore them.

Construction

Another way to trick search engines is to make a page appear to be user-friendly. Its appearance will be made similar to that of other high-performing pages.

This is because pages that are not user-friendly will be considered spam, and Google will remove them from search results.

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