Gateway Pages - Doorway Pages - Bridge Pages
Years ago a search engine optimization technique was developed to influence or manipulate the positioning of websites in the search engines. This technique is referred to as the creation of doorway pages, gateways or bridge pages.
The concept is to build pages that rank highly for specific keyword sets. This is done by calculating the search engines algorithm and then building a page that ranks highly in that particular search engine based on the calculations.
Machine Generated Pages
There are a variety of programs that are marketed that will automatically create these doorways, gateways or bridge pages for you. You enter specific information into predefined form fields relative to the page that you want to optimize, and the program generates a page that is optimized for the selected search engine and keyword sets. These pages are referred to as machine generated pages.
Unfortunately, this technique has been abused over the years by many consumers and SEO/SEM consultants alike. We've seen websites that had 5 or 6 pages of core content and then hundreds of gateway pages that were developed to target just about every keyword set the site was optimized for. Typically, only a few of those pages may have ranked well, the rest were ineffective. Hence, the billions of web pages indexed as indicated in the next paragraph.
Today, this technique is frowned upon by the major search engines and directories. When you see numbers pertaining to billions of web pages being indexed, you can be assured that a large percentage of those are gateway, doorway or bridge pages. The search engine spiders or robots are more intelligent then they were a few years ago.
These machine generated pages are being dropped from the search engine indexes on a regular basis, or they are buried so far down in the SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages), that they would never be found. At times, the entire domain that the pages reside on may receive a ranking penalty and/or be banned from the search engines index. Do you want to take that chance?
How do search engines know about these pages?
If the pages are machine generated and untouched after generation, there is a specific footprint that the page has (the structure of that web page). When you look at the footprint of thousands of these pages, they are easy for search engine spiders to detect. Most doorway, gateway or bridge pages are orphaned. This means that they have no links pointing to them, but they have links pointing from them. The links pointing from them are usually aimed at your home page or a specific page on your website that the keyword set is targeting.
Believe it or not, this technique still works today with some search engines. Most, if not all of the major search engines and directories have published guidelines that state they do not want doorways, gateways or bridge pages in their indexes. These types of pages dilute the quality of the results and take up valuable resources.
There are more refined and strategical ways to improve the visibility of your website. Most professional search engine optimization companies may offer one or more of the following SEO/SEM strategies in their contract pricing.
By Edward Lewis, aka pageoneresults™ - System Administrator