Q and A: What’s the difference between a Doorway Page and a Landing Page?

Question

Hi Kalena,

We’re having a debate here – what’s the difference between a (bad) doorway page and a (good) landing page? Is hosting an informative 1 page on a topic (eg:www.bluewidgets.com) and having that point to multiple pages on a related, parent site (e.: www.widgetes.com) frowned upon by Google, and does that technique fall under the landing or doorway page title?

Thanks for your help!

Cindy

An excellent question Cindy.

At their extremes, the differences between a spammy doorway page and a good landing page are usually pretty obvious to us humans. A “doorway” page has been designed specifically to appeal to search engines and rank well for a particular keyword phrase (or phrases) is typically stuffed with keywords, makes little real sense when you read it, and adds no real value to the user experience, whereas a “landing page” has been optimised for search rankings, but also aims to be useful and appealing to human visitors, and encourage them to take an appropriate call to action.

It can be much more difficult to determine the difference between a well crafted doorway page and an over-optimised landing page – not only for humans- but also for Google.

Google has to algorithmically determine the difference between these types of pages and uses a whole variety of factors to decide whether or not a particular page deserves a good ranking or a penalty. The types of factors taken into account could include – keyword density, duplicate content, inbound and outbound links, number of similar pages,

Ultimately the difference is probably a matter of intent – If a page has been created to be useful to visitors it will probably be treated by Google as a landing page, if the page has been over-optimised to a point that it becomes of little real benefit to users, then it will be treated by Google accordingly. This is one of the dangers associated with over-optimising a page or even an entire site. Even though it may have started out with a clear and useful purpose, over-optimisation could result in reduced rankings.

In the example you’ve provided I think the important word is “informative”. It is quite legitimate (and in fact encouraged) to link from a useful page on one site to relevant pages on another site.

Hope that helps.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting Web Optimisation & Design

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