In the question and answer portion of the 10/1/2021 John Mueller hangout, one webmaster asked him about doorway pages.
Basically, the webmaster has a single page that leads users who are searching for the non-scientific name for a cactus to the original page itself.
John explained that they would call anything a doorway page if it leads users to the exact same marketing funnel after it’s clicked on.
You’re basically taking many different keywords and guiding users to exactly the same content at the end of that journey.
He provided an example where this would not be a doorway page—in an encyclopedia. There is very unique content at the end of that funnel.
He also explained that one technique for creating doorway pages that Google doesn’t like is a common local SEO technique where one page of content leads to the same content on many different location pages.
He likened this to creating many different doorways that lead to exactly the same house.
This discussion happens at approximately the 35:35 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
John (Question) 35:35
My question is whether it’s okay from an SEO perspective to create doorway pages when they actually help users. Take the URL below, for example, this page leads users who have searched for a nonscientific name of a cactus to the original page.
John (Answer) 35:59
Now, I don’t know about this specific situation. And usually, we would call things doorway pages if they essentially lead to the same funnel afterwards, where essentially, you’re taking a lot of different keywords, and you’re guiding people to exactly the same content in the end. In the case of something like an encyclopedia, it’s not the same content, it’s essentially, I don’t know, very, very unique pieces of content on there. And just because it covers a lot of keywords doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a doorway page.
So without digging into this specific site in detail, my guess is that that would not be considered a doorway page. But a doorway page might be something where, I don’t know, if you have a cactus page on your website, and you’re saying like cactuses in all cities nearby, you make individual city pages, where all of the traffic is essentially funneled to the same, same direction on your website, then that would be considered a doorway page where you’re kind of like creating all of these small doorways, but they lead all to the same house.