Jill Whalen

Jill Whalen


++Doorway Pages++

From: Laurie Heron


Recently, I was approached by an SEO who had "analyzed" my site, and they informed me that my site was devoid of keywords, which was odd. I'm convinced that this company is not a quality SEO, but they did say something that I was curious about. I copied and pasted the following directly from their web site:

5 Doorway Pages

All Doorway Pages Include:
Unique URL and Unique Domain - that will cause search engines to see them as completely separate websites you will now have 6 times the power in Search Engine Submissions. Bi-Weekly Submission to 8,500 Search Engines...

Is there any legitimacy to this strategy?

Thanks for the newsletter and tips.



~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hey Laurie,

Thanks for your question! When you say this company approached you, does that mean via unsolicited email (spam)? There seems to be a plethora of "submission" companies out there that prey on unsuspecting Web site owners through spam. They make them believe that their site is not being found in the search engines, and that they can help. You've probably all received spam from a fictional "Christine Hall." Ms. Hall even sends her slime to me regarding the Rank Write site, which currently ranks #5 in Google for the phrase "search engine optimization"! I truly doubt she could do better!

The first rule of thumb is that if a company approaches you about their SEO services (when you didn't ask them for info), they're spamming you. If they participate in email spam, there's a 99.9% chance that they'll participate in search engine spam. So right off the bat, you have to be suspicious about anything they say they'll do for you. Your best bet is to simply trash those emails as fast as you can hit the delete key. The only thing those companies do is give legitimate SEO companies a bad name.

That said, let's look at what this company says they'll do for your site:

* 5 Doorway Pages

That in and of itself is bad news, in my opinion. I've never been an advocate of doorway pages, as they simply add clutter to the search engine databases. Sure, there are occasions where the design of a site necessitates the use of doorway pages; however, these pages should always be integrated into your main site and become an important part of it. They should never be stand-alone pages that simply point to your main page.

It sounds like what this company wants to do is even worse than simple doorway pages. They want to take it one step further and create a whole new domain and URL! No, no, no, no, no! Don't ever do this or let another company do this for you. Not only does this create duplicate content in the search engine databases, but it can also hurt your current site's rankings.

It's true that in the past you could often get away with such techniques, although they were always considered spam. These days, you might still get away with it for a while; however, there's a good chance that you'll eventually get caught. Once you do, your doorway domain as well as your main site stands a chance of being penalized or even banned. These sneaky doorway domain techniques have become so prevalent over the years that the search engines (especially Google) are really starting to crack down on it. It doesn't matter if your doorway domain has totally different content from your main site. The content of an *extra* domain is not considered to be unique, and would be classified as spam by nearly every engine.

Besides, why create keyword-rich content pages for a new site when you could be doing this for your main site? You don't have to worry about having too much copy on your site. People really don't mind reading a bit when searching for products or services. In fact, I'm quite sure that they want to learn as much about their potential purchases as they can. If you don't have a lot of information, why should anyone buy from your site?

Content is what it's all about, folks. Content is great for both the search engines and your potential customers. It's what was important in the past, and what will continue to be important in the future. Don't ever let an email, a company, or a sales rep talk you into believing that SEO is about tricking the search engines. SEO is about helping the search engines and helping your customers, which in turns helps your site!

So let's see what else this supposed SEO company does. Oh lookee...they submit your site bi-weekly to 8500 search engines. (gulp) Sounds kinda cool, huh? Again, no, no, no, no, no, no and double no!

First of all, there are not 8500 search engines that could accept the average Web site. There is a whole pile of "Free-for-All" (FFA) sites that will, however. FFA sites are pages that anyone can submit any site to, but they are really just email-harvesting farms. They make you submit your email address along with your site, then sell the email addresses to spammers. And guess what else? You'll never get any traffic from these 8500 sites anyway! So although it sounds impressive on the surface, it's really just a scam. Apparently this scam continues to fool newbies, which is why it's still offered on so many sites.

So what about the bi-weekly submissions? Isn't that a good thing?

Nope! They're also worthless and another big no-no. Submitting to worthless sites every other week won't help you because...well, they're worthless sites!

But even if the bi-weekly submissions were only to the major search engines they *still* wouldn't be a good thing; in fact, they might even be a bad thing. If your site is already in the search engines, no amount of resubmission will make it rank higher. If it's not in the search engines, submitting it every other week won't do anything to speed things up. At best, your submissions will simply be ignored. At worst, your submissions will brand you and your site as "a pain in the butt doo-doo head" by the search engines and you'll be put under extra scrutiny. Do you really want the search engines checking your site with a fine-toothed comb to see if it's complying with their standards? Why call any extra attention to your site?

These days, free submissions to the search engines are basically pass. If you don't want to take the pay-per-inclusion (PPI) route offered by Inktomi, Lycos/FAST, AskJeeves/Teoma and AltaVista, then just wait it out. If it makes you feel better to submit your URL to their free add-URL pages, then go ahead and do it ONCE; it will certainly not hurt you. More importantly, however, you'll need to submit to directories such as DMOZ/ODP and Yahoo!. Once either or both of those directories have indexed you, the crawling search engines will eventually find your site. You should also seek out other relevant, high-quality sites that might be willing to add a link to yours, as these will also help it to be found. (For more info on pay-per-inclusion, please see Advisor issue 007.)

To recap, here's a summary of today's "don'ts":

* Don't read spam.
* Don't create doorway pages.
* Don't create extra domains and URLs for more chances of being found in the engines.
* Don't submit to 8500 (or even 1200 or 90) "search engines."
* Don't submit on a periodic basis to any search engine's free add-URL page.

And here's a summary of today's "dos":

* Do create keyword-rich content for the existing pages of your site.
* Do submit to directories such as Yahoo! and DMOZ.
* Do seek out relevant high-quality links.
* Do pay for inclusion in the spidering search engines if you're looking for fast results, and/or have ever-changing content.

Hope this helps!

May 30, 2002

CEO and founder of High Rankings®, Jill Whalen has been performing search engine optimization since 1995 and is the host of the free High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter, author of "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" and founder/administrator of the popular High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum. In 2006, Jill co-founded SEMNE, a local search engine marketing networking organization for people and companies in New England.

High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm located in Framingham, MA specializing in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, in-house training, site audit reports, search marketing seminars and workshops. High Rankings has a 100% success rate for substantially improving client rankings and targeted traffic.

Jill speaks at national and international conferences and has been writing about SEO and search marketing since 2000. She's been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. Her articles have appeared in numerous print magazines and online websites including CIO Magazine, CMS Focus, The Internet Marketing Report, ClickZ, WorkZ, Inc.com, Entrepreneur, Lycos Small Business, WebProNews, SiteProNews and others. Jill has also appeared on many online and offline radio programs such as Entrepreneur Magazine's E-Biz Radio Show, SearchEngineRadio and the eMarketing Talkshow.

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