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Google’s Doorway pages update

Google announced on the 16th March that it is launching a ranking update which focusses on removing the benefit websites have experienced from running doorway pages.

Doorway pages set up specifically for the search engines to find and see links back to a main website or service page on the main site have long been frowned upon by Google. This tactic is a ‘Black Hat’ method of creating more online mentions and links for a site with a view to manipulating the rankings in Google. Google has said in its update that anyone running large scale doorway page campaigns may see a significant hit to their visibility following this change. It has also posted a series of questions which it uses when reviewing content with regard to doorway pages – these are summarised as:

Don’t create content just for search engines
• Make sure your content adds to the overall user experience and brings something to the table which is unique and useful for users of your website
Don’t create duplicate versions of pages just to target different variables such as location pages of 6 different colour variations of a product
• Don’t create content which is not well linked in the structure of the site
• If you create content on a specific topic with lots of in depth information, don’t try and optimise this for a larger generic head keyword but instead focus on the specific long tail keywords which the content is about

The first piece of advice is the most important here: “Don’t create content just to get rankings for a keyword!” Always write your content thinking about what the user will get from it rather than what rankings you might achieve.

As a brand operating in multiple international markets it is even more important to know exactly how you are using your content across your different local websites. Your strategy needs to ensure that content is created not just to meet these Google guidelines, but also with an understanding of your individual audiences and their local cultures and behaviours, so that every element of your site helps you to achieve your business objectives.