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Google Doorway Pages vs. Independent Hotel Websites – Explained

Google Doorway Explained: -, Milestone Inc.

There has been a lot of confusion regarding Google’s update on March 16 regarding “Doorway Pages”.  We believe that the definition of “doorway pages” has been misinterpreted, and we feel obligated to provide a few words to clarify the confusion and help our clients get a better understanding of what this means for their hotel business. Here are our views on the subject:

  1. As a starter, here’s the link to Google’s announcement and key elements of the announcement are repeated below (in italics):“Google announced they are releasing a new “ranking adjustment” to their doorway page classifier to better handle doorway pages in the search results.  Google’s Brian White said:  Over time, we’ve seen sites try to maximize their “search footprint” without adding clear, unique value. These doorway campaigns manifest themselves as pages on a site, as a number of domains, or a combination thereof. To improve the quality of search results for our users, we’ll soon launch a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages. Sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns might see a broad impact from this change.
  1. Google’s definition of Doorway pages:
    Doorway pages
    Doorways are sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination. Here are some examples of doorways

    • Having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page
    • Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s)
    • Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browseable hierarchy
  1. Google’s announcement is clearly targeting spam pages within a website or alternate websites that are created with duplicate content to increase the search footprint mostly within the same site or on different sites but with identical content.
  2. Milestone developed hotel local sites absolutely cannot be considered doorway pages for the following reasons:
    • Milestone local websites have very rich local and destination content that is extremely useful to the consumer and create a lot of local engagement.
    • They do not have duplicate content and in most cases add significant quality of information over and above the sites.
    • Sites developed by Milestone are not island pages and are complete sites that can be navigated.
    • What Google is trying to avoid (from Google’s article on algorithm update) –

      “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. 
      For example, searchers might get a list of results that all go to the same site. So if a user clicks on one result, doesn’t like it, and then tries the next result in the search results page and is taken to that same site that they didn’t like, that’s a really frustrating experience.”Clearly, this is not the purpose of the independent sites and we do not lead consumers to the same pages.
    • Sites are verified by Google through webmaster. Google and all search engines index these sites every day and provide valuable information on what users likes on the sites
    • All sites have schema which is giving search engine reason to establish local and geo identity.  Sites have 40+ schemas
    • All sites are mobile friendly and have mobile friendly label by search engines
    • Sites have very high relevancy scores. Sites have qualitative and relevant links pointing back to vanity sites
    • Sites have great amount of social relevancy built up.
    • Sites are great source of supplemental revenue for property. Independent sites are doing great job in driving and converting unbranded traffic.

Contributed by Teresa Villaruz, Sr. Marketing Manager

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