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Doorway Pages

Doorway pages will likely get your website penalized or banned by Google.

Using doorway pages or a doorway page system is the lazy man’s way of building a website. A doorway page system involves the use of hidden text and graphic links, creation of a bunch of doorway pages all separately optimized for different keywords, and a hidden site map that links to all of the doorway pages.

The doorway pages themselves are filled with optimized text and function primarily to get visitors to go to your other pages on your website. One of the problems with this hidden doorway system is that it smacks of trickery. The doorway pages don’t provide real content to the visitors, but provide a means to navigate to the other pages on your site.

If this were a legitimate system of navigation, why hide the text and graphic links, the site map and the doorway pages in the first place?

Don’t Create a Doorway Page System (but if you want to, given the risks, here’s how) …

Here is one way to create a system of hidden doorway pages. First, you research relevant but relatively low ranking keywords for your site that don’t have much competition. Second, you create a bunch of these doorway pages that are optimized for these keywords. Third, you build a sitemap containing links to all of these hidden doorway pages. The doorway pages are not directly linked to your homepage or any other of your main pages.

The sitemap, however, does contain links to all pages on your site including your homepage and main pages AND your hidden doorway pages.

This hidden sitemap, once completed, is the only page you link directly to your homepage. You do this with a hidden text or graphic link. Creating a hidden graphic link is easy. You simply create a .jpg or .gif file that has the same color as the background of your home page. Search robots cannot distinguish colors inside a pixel-based file. You link this graphic to your sitemap and you are done. The only telltale signs that this exists is in your source code and if you happen to run your cursor over the area it will change to the hand.

Creating a text link is a bit trickier since some search engines will penalize sites that have link text color that is too close to the background color (especially if it is the same as the background color).

Some sources suggest you create your pages with a white background (color code #FFFFFF) and that you create your hidden link text with an almost white color #EDFAE6 that is almost invisible to the eye and will not get your penalized with the search engines.

Instead of Creating Doorway Pages …

Now, instead of creating a tricky, hidden doorway page system filled with no real content for your visitors, why not make your homepage and other main pages your doorway pages? Instead of picking a bunch of low-ranking keywords and optimizing your pages for these keywords, why not pick the highest-ranking relevant keywords for your business and optimizing all or most of your pages towards these keywords?

With this method, the trick is to create content-rich, keyword-optimized pages that serve the dual purpose of informing your visitors and serving relevant information to the search engines. This is not the lazy man’s approach since this method takes quite a bit of skill and expertise in writing these pages with both purposes in mind.

The benefit of making all of your pages content-rich doorway pages and not hidden doorway pages is threefold. First, you avoid the ethical gray area of the hidden doorway page approach. Second, you pick the highest-ranking relevant keywords, build your website around these words, and make these pages content rich for your visitors and keyword rich for the search engines which keep visitors interested in your site (and buying your products) and when they rank well with the search engine will bring in more traffic than the lesser ranked, hidden pages. Third, when you develop content-rich doorway pages you don’t run the risk of the search engines finding your ethically questionable hidden doorway page system, realizing this is what is going on, and penalizing your site, burying it deep within the rankings of the search engine.

Now, you may ask, why not create a content-rich doorway page system AND a hidden doorway page system? You can, but you run the previously-mentioned risks plus when you develop a hidden system, you are taking time away from developing the rest of your website that could go into other, more productive areas such as rewriting your pages in respect to content and keywords or developing new pages. Remember, not all pages have to do well in the search engines. Some of your pages are just for your visitors to enjoy like Flash or Shockwave game pages, streaming audio or video or a product picture page with very little text on it. Remember that time on site is another ranking factor.

In order to get visitors to come to your site, you may also want to work on your linking strategy,  develop your own newsletter, buy advertising and other marketing methods to bring visitors to your site. Doorway pages may have been the “in” thing a couple of years ago, but now they have gone out of fashion. But if you keep your site focused and direct your energy in productive marketing methods, you site will see significant gains in traffic. At this point it will be up to you to find ways to convert your visitors into customers and reap the profits from your efforts.

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