Content marketing is portrayed as an elixir for branding. Whenever your branding goes out of track, you pull a trick to put it on the track again. The trick you pull every time is high-quality content.
This portrayal corresponds to reality in the online marketing world where content marketing solves almost all the problems.
Digital marketers tend to ignore the issue of doorway pages. Google warned them a long time back that non removal of doorways from the site would amount to penalties. Many didn’t pay heed to the warning. Many SEO-friendly sites with high- quality backlinks still have doorways.
What is the doorway page issue all about and how can content marketing solve it?
Keep reading to find the answers.
Google has defined doorways as pages, created solely for the purpose of ranking. Google has put it as; “We have a long-standing view that doorway pages that are created solely for search engines can harm the quality of the user’s search experience.”
Put simply, Google’s priority is the search experience of users. If a page accounts for a poor search experience, then it’s a doorway. If the volume of content on a page is thin or the content is not useful, yet contributes to the sales funnel, then Google might be prompted to consider the page a doorway.
Now, let’s see how content marketing can steer a website clear of doorways:
Unique and informative content, composed with a creative flair, adds value to a page. Uniqueness is the preamble to a better search engine visibility. Duplicate content, on the other hand, puts a site in harm’s way.
Pages with substantially similar content are at a high risk of being identified as doorways. Contrary to the popular belief, content duplication is not always easy to avoid. Local landing pages are the best example of that.
A multi-location business can have several local landing pages, with similar content on them besides NAPs. As a result, Google may consider them doorways. One way to separate each from the other is to add reviews and testimonials from local customers.
Location-specific keywords and citations can also bring substantial differences in them. Localized content is a product of content marketing and it can solve the content duplication problem for local landing pages.
Value-added search footprint
Penalizing sites that occupy top placements in the SERP without unique and user-friendly content is compulsory for Google. Or else, the SERP would be filled with irrelevant pages, worthless for searchers.
How to add value to search footprints?
Through content marketing. It is the only window leading to value-added search footprints. A webpage failing to retain the incoming traffic for long indicates the content on the page lacks value. Such pages may be considered as doorways by Google.
Eliminating the doorways is one of Google’s priorities and a separate algorithm to deal with them could be just underway. Here’s what Google said:
“To improve the quality of search results for our users, we’ll soon launch a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages.”
As an inbound marketer, your job is to check
- Which page is optimized for which keyword/s
- Whether the page has content relevant to the keyword/s
- Whether the content is useful for visitors, coming to the site through the keyword/s
It seems Google has problems with pages without sufficient volume of user-friendly content, and also with pages optimized for the wrong keywords.
Landing page compression
How about merging the landing page with the homepage? Doesn’t strike me as a bad idea. How about you?
Let me clue you in on its benefits.
Homepage and landing page being the same can make the website clutter-free, and ease up the navigation for visitors. It can also drive up the conversion rate.
In a time when a loading-time delay of just one second can cause 7% reduction in conversion or wash $1.6 billion down to the drain for a retail giant like Amazon, some may find the journey from homepage to the lead capturing page a long one.
Wondering whether any site has tried this yet? The screenshot below holds the answer:
The red marked texts are the call-to-action. Normally, call-to-action elements are found on the landing page. But the screenshot above shows they can be on the homepage as well.
The content doesn’t beat around the bush, rather gets down to the business quickly. Thanks to the merging tactic, lead-generation can be less-troublesome and more overt, benefiting a business.
The success of this strategy depends on content marketing. You can see in the screenshot above that only 50% of the page was for text-based content. Adding useful information, one or two consumer reviews and sales punchlines, within such a tiny area requires content marketing prowess.
Goal-driven design eases up conversion. It has visual hierarchy at its core, which leads visitors to the call-to-action. Other than being a conversion booster, goal-driven design prevents a page from being declared a doorway by Google.
The visual hierarchy can have a motivational message in the beginning (a headline), facilitators in the middle and call-to-action elements in the end. The headline reminds visitors about their goals.
The facilitators are embodiment of the goals. If a person’s goal is saving money, then insurance policies, IRA guidelines, etc are facilitators. Call-to-action are submit buttons that enroll one for a policy or enlists him for IRA arrangements.
Such a hierarchy can be a great alternative to a faux-sales funnel, which turns pages into doorway candidates. According to Google, doorways can be “Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s).” As the visual hierarchy highlights the goal and the facilitators, visitor find it relevant and usable.
This way, pages with goal-driven design don’t meet any criteria that make them doorways and Google goes gentle on such pages.
It may be hard to relate visual content to doorways. But they do add up. Here’s how:
#Image search: Google loves original images. Pages with original images get a lot of traffic from image search. A high volume of traffic is a reliable indicator that the page has useful info for visitors. This way, Google don’t consider those pages doorways.
#Pages hard to find: Such pages are at risk. If the pages drive traffic but are not integrated into the synergy, then they may be considered doorways. While many suggest deletion of such pages, a much simpler and workable alternative is to add product images to them, so that people could locate them through product searches.
Getting rid of doorways is one of the SEO challenges. Sure, there are other remedial methods, aside from the five techniques discussed here. But the tips shared here are related to content marketing and very simple to follow.