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Search Engine Positioning Going Mainstream
Article by David Gikandi Photo/Credit
Lately, using doorway pages to gain top search engine positioning has
become a major topic in Web circles. Doorway pages, also known as entry
or bridge pages, are Web pages designed specifically to rank highly on
the unique ranking algorithms of each search engine. They are often
identified with spammers - at least until now.
Danny Sullivanís Search Engine Watch (www.searchenginewatch.com) recently
featured the use of doorways by State Farm Insurance, the leading US auto
insurance firm, to get to the top of search results for insurance related
searches. State Farm did get the top positions, securing the first and
second positions for "auto insurance" on Excite, Infoseek, HotBot, and
Lycos, plus the first and second positions for a number of other phrases
like "life insurance", "boat insurance", "home insurance", and "car
insurance". Everything was going great for State Farm, its doorway pages
generating an extra 100,000 unique new users in 11 months. This being the
first time that a major corporation has been publicly exposed for using
techniques associated with spamming, many Web promoters were curious to
know what the search engine companies would say about it. What they heard
was the best piece of good news they have had in a long time.
According to interviews with search engine executives in the Search Engine
Watch, the search engines seem to have adopted a whole new healthy attitude
towards doorway pages! As long as your doorway pages do not promote keyword
s or phrases that have nothing to do with your Web siteís content, and that
you do not submit too many doorways with the same keyword and clog up the
search results, you are free to go for it! In other words, if your doorways
help search engine users to find what they are looking for without being
deceived, no one will penalize you. (Watch out for Infoseek, though.
It doesnít like it when your doorways redirect users to a new location
without their intervention, e.g. using the META refresh tag or a CGI).
The reason doorway pages are such a hot issue is that:
Over 95% of Web users find what they are looking for by visiting the top 6
[six] search engines. Yahoo alone handled over 55 million searches and page
views in December 1997. Everybody knows that even a few good positions on
even one or two important keywords or phrases can drive thousands or
hundreds of thousands of quality visitor traffic to a Web site per day.
The search engines are over-flowing. They have too many pages in their
indices and they do not do a very good job of giving the users what they
are looking for. Often, a good Web site may be ranked low by a search
engine, and a very bad Web site in the same subject area ranked high!
Sometimes the only way the good site can rank higher is by using doorways.
Research has shown that people hardly ever go past the top 30 search
results for any one search. The top 10 results receive 78% more traffic
than those in position 11 to 30 do. The top 30 results get over 90% of the
search traffic. This alone explains why some sites do so well and others
so disappointingly, and why it is so critical to be ranked highly.
Creating doorway pages is one of those elusive things in life. It can be
done, but it no longer is easy to cheat the search engines as it used to
be back in 1995! It now takes some considerable time studying, tracking,
testing and reverse-engineering search results. Those that get it right
are handsomely rewarded!
Coincidentally, this interest in doorway pages heightened just as we were
launching the SearchPositioning.com Web site (www.searchpositioning.com),
which features an online Automatic Doorways Generator, plus other tools,
software, information, and resources useful in search engine positioning.
We developed, through reverse-engineering many search results, a system
that creates optimized, professional doorways for Web site promoters. By
developing a system that easily allows webmasters to serve themselves
online, we were able to drive costs down and provide the automatic
doorways generation service at an affordable $34.95 per year for unlimited
doorways and keywords. Our goal is to enable any webmaster to responsibly
position their site highly on search engines. The few services that did
this before we stepped in were offering customized services that are
beyond the financial reach of most webmasters, well in the thousands of
Doorway pages are definitely very effective Web promotion tools. But they
are also controversial, misunderstood technically and ethically, and can
sometimes do more harm than good when abused. None of us really knows 100%
what the best approach to all this is. I believe that sharing, discussion,
and putting issues out in the open are what promotes awareness, better
decision-making, and progress. I am therefore inviting all readers to
contribute their experiences, thoughts, fears, ethical concerns, successes,
tips, and problems with doorways. We can all learn from each other about
this most important and effective aspect of Web promotion. I also wish to
invite you to our Web promotion discussion forum at www.searchpositioning.com.
To get the discussion going, let me say something about one thing that
everybody asks about doorways: is it fair and ethical to use them? I would
say yes. Doorways are not inherently good or bad, it is how they are used
that is. In good use, they help people find what they are looking for.
They also solve some serious weaknesses in search engines. You could, for
example, have a site on parenting. But because your site may be made almost
entirely of dynamically generated pages (database or CGI driven), behind a
membership system, be highly graphical, of have long editorial text that
scores poorly with search engines, your site will go unnoticed by search
engines. It may be the best site on parenting, but the engines will rank
it very poorly. Doorways here can give you the justice you deserve. And
until search engines learn to properly index dynamic content, images,
pages with long text, password protected pages, and, best of all, learn to
rate and weight in the entire siteís content and factor it into the search
results, doorways are the best solution for many webmasters.
If you want to learn more about doorways, visit www.searchpositioning.com .
Positioning is 95% of your business!
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