SEO Glossary / Gateway Page

Gateway Page

What is a Gateway Page?

A gateway page, also known as a doorway page, is a web page designed to rank for particular search queries without offering useful information or answering the user’s search query. Instead, the page redirects the visitor to a different page. These pages exist solely to boost visibility and rank better for specific keyword phrases in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Characteristics of Gateway Pages

Gateway pages often:

  • Use meta refresh or JavaScript redirects to forward users to another page.
  • Employ cloaking to show different content to search engine bots and real users.
  • Create pages with seemingly useful content but ultimately redirect users to a different destination.

Why are Gateway Pages Considered Harmful?

Gateway pages are considered harmful because they:

  • Provide little to no value to users.
  • Can lead to a poor user experience by taking users through a maze of redirects.
  • Are designed to manipulate search engine rankings.

Google's Stance on Gateway Pages

In March 2015, Google announced its fight against doorway pages by making “ranking adjustments” to the algorithm. Since then, Google has cracked down on pages that disregard the user’s search experience and exist solely for search engines. Sites that use doorway pages can get a manual action (penalty) from Google for “cloaking and/or sneaky redirects” or “Thin content with little or no added value”.

Identifying Gateway Pages

When in doubt, ask yourself the following:

  • Is the intent of the page to optimize for search engines and funnel visitors to the relevant portion of your site while disregarding user experience?
  • Are the pages intended to rank for generic terms, even if their content is highly specific?
  • Do the pages duplicate useful content (locations, products, and such) that already exists on the site to capture more search traffic?
  • Are these pages made solely to draw affiliate traffic and send users along without adding unique value?
  • Are these pages difficult (or impossible) to navigate to from other parts of your website?

Alternatives to Gateway Pages

Using gateway pages goes against Google’s guidelines. Instead, consider these white-hat SEO techniques:

  1. Create Pages that Rank for Multiple Keywords: Focus on creating high-quality content that can rank for multiple related keywords.
  2. Use Long-Tail Keywords: Target long-tail keywords with valuable content rather than manipulating search rankings with doorway pages. You can use tools like Ranktracker's Keyword Finder to identify long-tail keyword opportunities.
  3. Avoid Meta Refresh and Unnecessary JavaScript Redirects: Use server-side 301 redirects when necessary and avoid techniques commonly associated with gateway pages.

FAQs

What’s the difference between a doorway page and a landing page? A landing page is designed to provide relevant information and convert visitors into customers, while a doorway page is created solely to manipulate search engine rankings and redirect users.

How to detect a doorway page while browsing? Gateway pages are often generic, keyword-stuffed, and full of links leading to other pages within the same website. Look for redirections and irrelevant content.

What is a content-rich gateway page? Content-rich gateways are more sophisticated versions of gateway pages, designed to rank high in SERPs with keyword-focused content but ultimately redirect users without providing unique value.

Can I report doorway pages to Google? Yes, you can report such pages to Google using their doorway page reporting form.