Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Nebojsa Djukic on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Tuesday, March 24, 2015).

"doorway pages" question.

Hi guys,

Here is a "doorway pages" question.

As we know Google is about to get rid of small business sites that have dozens, even hundreds of pages about the same service in many suburbs/areas.

Such websites are very common and personally I don`t see anything wrong with them.

People that are looking for local services (locksmiths, plumbers, gardening services..) don`t care if a website of a local plumber contain many similar pages because they simply won`t browse them.

Users land on a page dedicated to a service in their area, they check testimonials etc, request a quote and that`s all. They don`t go through 5 more pages  about the service in other areas, so there is no need to create each page completely different.

Google insist on creativity and I think it`s crazy to expect your local plumber or a dentist to publish creative content on regular basis. 

If Google penalize little business owners just because they provide their services in many areas, what`s an alternative? 

What kind of websites should those people create to please big G and still continue to rank for "plumbers in Lambeth" and similar? What`s an alternative to websites with many similar landing pages that promote the same service in many areas??

This question begins at 00:32:15 into the clip. Did this video clip play correctly? Watch this question on YouTube commencing at 00:32:15
Video would not load
I see YouTube error message
I see static
Video clip did not start at this question

YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Nebojsa Djukic: Hi guys,

    Here is a "doorway pages" question.

    As we know Google is about to get rid of small business sites that have dozens, even hundreds of pages about the same service in many suburbs/areas.

    Such websites are very common and personally I don't see anything wrong with them.

    People that are looking for local services (locksmiths, plumbers, gardening services..) don't care if a website of a local plumber contain many similar pages because they simply won't browse them.

    Users land on a page dedicated to a service in their area, they check testimonials etc, request a quote and that's all. They don't go through 5 more pages  ;about the service in other areas, so there is no need to create each page completely different.

    Google insist on creativity and I think it's crazy to expect your local plumber or a dentist to publish creative content on regular basis. ;

    If Google penalize little business owners just because they provide their services in many areas, what's an alternative? ;

    What kind of websites should those people create to please big G and still continue to rank for "plumbers in Lambeth" and similar? What's an alternative to websites with many similar landing pages that promote the same service in many areas?
  • Anthony De Guzman - Toronto SEO Specialist: The problem with doorway pages is that they're often too similar, and the only differentiating factor are the titles, URLs and cities. The key here is to make these pages more useful for the potential customers.

    If you're targeting in, let's say Chicago -- maybe have some content on the page that ONLY targets potential Chicago customers. ;
  • Nebojsa Djukic: Thanks ;+! That's the problem from Google perspective, but I think it's not the problem for a user (and the whole update is about user experience, right?)

    If you are looking for 'Apartments to rent in Chicago' and you find a nice website with a landing page about accommodation in the city, apartment prices, locations, contact info etc... that would be enough for a user. You simply don't care if a page about apartments in Miami on the same website is similar to the Chicago page.  ;

    Of course that pages about the same service have to be similar. How carpet cleaning in Burlington could be different from carpet cleaning in ;Etobicoke? Isn't too much to expect carpet cleaners to create uber interesting content?

    I already came up with several ideas how to say the same thing on many different ways (and to trick the update, if you want), but that wouldn't improve UX. Users are already happy and all they care about are prices, quality of the service and such things. Regular people don't care about permalinks, duplicate content and all that things.

    But the search engine is owned by G, it's their game and they set the rules...

     ;
  • Anthony De Guzman - Toronto SEO Specialist: + ;I agree that for most topics and services, the content is more or less going to be the same. What matters is that users stay happy with the content of the page.

    The primary purpose of these doorway pages is to funnel users deeper in the website by ranking a page with insufficient content. If the user's query is satisfied with the landing page, and does not have to delve further into the website to find out more, then I don't see anything wrong with it.
  • Nebojsa Djukic: Yes +, ;that's what I think too. ;

    My pages are regular landing pages that provide all information about my services in a particular area. I don't ask visitors to click any link with the goal to funnel them to a certain page. Just want them to call me or to send an email.

    I'm just afraid that regular small businesses will be again wiped out together with shady websites.
  • PromozSEO: The problem arises when you create pages in bulk for different locations with same or identical keywords (intent).
  • Nebojsa Djukic: + ;Yes I understand but I think that's wrong. If a page help to a visitor to find a local service and solve an issue the visitor have, that page is good enough.

    For me it's not important if that page is filled with similar keywords as other pages on that website.

    There are people with similar problems that live all around the world. Same problems, same solutions - despite the area where you live. A plumber will offer the same solution to his customers from all areas of his city. ;

    There is no really need for much creativity. Some things in our lives should be simple. Hiring plumbers and gardeners are definitely these things.
  • Tony Wang: Yes + ;, there is some truth to what you say. However, Google created those rules because they don't want you to easily rank in another city. What they want you to do is pay for advertising. They provide a local pack for free if you are located in that city, otherwise expect to either pay to advertise or create unique content.
  • Nebojsa Djukic: Absolutely +, it's all about Adwords.  ;If I remember correctly there was a report after the first Penguin update which said that Adwords income jumped for 64%. ;

    With each new update many business owners give up and switch to paid traffic.

    But as I said, this is Google's game and we can leave the playground or adapt. Instead to tilt at windmills I'm looking to create websites that will still promote services in many areas, but will have content that are not even close to doorway pages.

    I would like to hear some ideas how to do that.
  • Dave Elliott: if you are using the gateway/landing page purely for adwords then just no index it. I have been informed by our ppc team that a perfect quality score is still possible with noindexed pages, so if it isn't required for organic search then there is no issue doing this.
  • Nebojsa Djukic: Hi + ;, at the moment I do not promote any websites with Adwords. All my pages are 100% unique, they provide useful information for visitors and the goal of these pages isn't to funnel visitors to a page deeper in the website. I consider them normal landing pages, but the question is will Google consider them as doorway pages.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on G+, Tuesday, March 24, 2015).

Reference Links