One SEO Professional was concerned about doorway pages and Google ads. An article they read detailed one person’s experience with this.
Their pages were being flagged as doorway pages. Furthermore, not only were these pages delisted, but the person’s Google Ads account was actually shut down.
This SEO professional cannot afford to have either of these things happen, since they are just a smaller, local service-based business.
They don’t have thousands of pages. They have maybe seven keyword-targeted landing pages.
One member of the Google discussion forums suggested to the SEO professional to just noindex those landing pages.
This SEO professional did deindex those landing pages. But, they are worried about being labeled as a doorway page in organic search, for obvious reasons. They were curious about what the risk level is when doing this.
John explained that because they have only seven pages, they shouldn’t have any problems with the implementation of the site they have.
John also said that the webspam team is more concerned about scale and whether someone is trying to change the search results significantly.
If the webspam team looked at seven pages in this configuration, they would simply say “It’s just seven pages. This is not worth our time.”
However, if the SEO professional had been a nationally “active” company in the search results, with separate pages for every single city within the country, that’s something the webspam team would flag, in order to preserve the overall quality of the search results.
A handful of pages is not something the webspam team would be worried about.
Even if the content is duplicated. John doesn’t believe it’s ideal for these pages to be duplicated, and this is the other aspect.
While the duplicate content is not ideal, the webspam team is still not going to take action on such a small amount of pages.
John can’t promise this, however, as he’s not 100 percent familiar with the website in question.
But, purely based on what he knows from them, it is highly unlikely that they would ever take action on a site like this.
This happens at approximately the 14:35 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
SEO Professional 4 14:35
First one up, I did write a question in there with regards to concern with doorway pages. Um, this is kind of linked in with Google Ads. I know this is search and all that kind of stuff. But I came across an article that basically said– explained one person’s experience where they created a bunch of landing pages and stuff, exactly what I just did. They were being flagged as doorway pages. And not only were they delisted, their Google Ads account was actually shut down. I can’t have either of those done. I can’t afford that. I’m a small, local service based business. Don’t have 1000s of pages. I’ve got like seven keyword targeted landing pages. In the Google discussion forums, somebody suggested, well, just noindex those landing pages. But–which I did. But I’m also thinking is, those seven pages, they are targeted for specific keywords, they could be very beneficial for organic search. I don’t know, what’s the risk level of being labeled as “Oh, this is a doorway page?”
So I think with seven pages, you don’t have any problems. That’s kind of at that level, even if someone from the webspam team were to manually look at that, they would see oh, it’s seven pages. It’s not, it’s not like 1000s of pages. It would be different, if you were, for example, a nationally active company, and for every city in the country, you had a separate page, then that’s something where we say, well, this is this is way, way past a kind of acceptable, it’s, it’s something that is really problematic, where we need to take some action to preserve the quality of the search results. But when you’re talking about, I don’t know, a handful of pages like the seven that you mentioned, I don’t think that would be a problem just purely from the webspam point of view. Even if someone were to manually look at that. They’d be like, it’s seven pages, like it’s not going to change the search results completely,
SEO Professional 4 17:02
Even though the content is really duplicated? Would I do any kind of canonical URL to the homepage for those landing pages, or?
I mean, I mean, I don’t think it’s ideal. So that’s kind of the other aspect there, it’s probably not an ideal situation, when you have pages that are very similar like that. But again, it’s not something, from a webspam point of view, they would take action on. So they would not, I mean, I can’t promise this because I don’t know what your site is. And I can’t, like tell them, like don’t do anything with this site. But I just purely what I know from them, like they would not take action on this. So your search listing and probably also the ad side. I don’t know the details of the ad side, but probably also that part would be perfectly fine, with seven pages. I think, overall, it’s not optimal. But so I would think about ways that you can make those pages actually useful for those individual kind of niches that you’re targeting.
SEO Professional 4 18:06
I have one niche. That’s the thing.
I mean, kind of just going past, I don’t know swapping out the city name, for example, in the title or something like that, where where you have, I don’t know maybe like directions from that city to your your place of business or some additional information that gives people a little bit more context there. And…
SEO Professional 4 18:29
They’re not city keywords, it’s basically I’m a photographer, I shoot headshots specifically. So my keywords are like headshot, Toronto headshots, headshots Toronto, professional headshots and stuff like that, right? All the content is pretty much the same, like I shoot headshots like I don’t know how many other different ways I can describe what it is I do, right? So that’s why the content is very identical.
Okay. In that case, I would pick one page and make it canonical. Because essentially, what you have there is just variations of the same keywords like when you’re saying like photography, toronto, toronto photography, for example. Those are just like variations of the same keyword. And for the most part, we figured that out and even within the natural texts on a page, you can mention both of those. It’s not like it’s not going to blow the page up if you mentioned those seven variations. Yeah,
SEO Professional 4 19:29
I went down this route, because honestly, I’ve been fighting with Google ads. Is there something like this for Google ads where we can really ask people that know?
I have no idea from the Google Ads side.
But purely from the search side, from my point of view, you could combine all of that into one page. The other thing that I think is also worth maybe looking into, is you can block pages from search and keep them for ads. Kind of like that noindex that was mentioned in the forum was if you keep those pages and you’re saying, Well, I don’t want them showing in search, you can choose a canonical or use a noindex on those pages. But within Ads, you can still use them as landing pages. And that’s…
SEO Professional 4 20:18
So, I’ll just have them noindexed then.
I mean, that’s something that a lot of people do, where they say, well, these are my Ad pages. And these are my kind of SEO pages. And that’s, that’s perfectly fine.