Will Aaron Wall’s new definition of doorway pages stick?Posted 14 September 2011 by Sandy Cosser
Aaron Wall’s blog post yesterday (13 September) was a mite bitter. It related to doorway pages and, once you got past the attention grabbing (and misleading) title, Google’s apparent tendency to play fast and loose with its definition of doorway pages and apply punitive action in a way that can best be described as erratic.
For the record, Google defines doorway pages as:
… typically large sets of poor-quality pages where each page is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase. In many cases, doorway pages are written to rank for a particular phrase and then funnel users to a single destination.
Using doorway pages should, in theory, invoke the wrath of G and bring about site removal.
Wall calls doorway pages a click circus, as users click in an endless search to find the content they’re looking for (and instead finding only ads).
Wall’s theory, cynical as it may be, is that Google’s attempt to provide more relevant search results (via the Panda update) is really just an excuse for Google to provide more Google results. This has been referred to as Google eating its organic results. It’s a charmingly descriptive term that essentially means that Google-related sites are turning up more frequently in search queries – Google Books is the example Wall uses, twice.
This is where the “change” in definition comes in. According to Wall, and several other webmasters (cited by Wall), Google is indiscriminately labelling random pages doorway pages and removing legitimate sites from its index.
In full cynic-mode, Wall says that Google is basically using the Panda update and all its versions as an excuse, and I quote, “… to thin the head of webmasters and consolidate markets”. As not quite tongue-on-cheek evidence he points to the uninterrupted continuation of eHow and the penalisation of small e-commerce websites. He calls part of the phenomenon “brand bias”.
Finally we get to the new definition, as proposed by Wall:
Pages on non-brand websites, that are not owned by a fortune 500 company, which aggressively monetizes web traffic without giving Google a piece of the action.
If you’re not bigger than JC Penny or you aren’t hosted on google.com, you’re in for a hard time.
Wall might come across as cynical, but he makes some very good points. And he makes them in a very biting way. You may not agree with everything he says but he should at least give you food for thought. Especially when you consider that Google is rolling out changes faster than you can say “Carol Bartz was fired”.
Is there a sinister end in sight or does Google, as it maintains, really intend no evil?
What do you think?
(Image by svilen001, stock.xchng)