In this section I will discuss some slightly more advanced search engine optimization techniques. Donít worry if some of them donít apply to you, or understand how a particular technique works.
Some techniques are a bit controversial and just because I discuss them, it doesnít necessarily mean I endorse them. I include discuss them with you, so that you at least know about them and know what people are referring to when you read or hear about it.
Some search engine optimizers have very strong opinions towards the validity of certain SEO techniques. Iíve heard people say you canít do this, or you canít that, simply because a search engine has publicly stated a certain technique is not allowed.
For example, the validity of ďcloakingĒ always produces very strong discussions. Many search engines publicly state that all forms of cloaking are spam.
However, I have read stories from professional search engine optimizers who have been using cloaking for many years, achieving great rankings for their clients, without ever getting any of their sites banned by a single search engine.
Plus, there are valid uses for cloaking. For example, redirecting visitors to local language versions of a site is a valid cloaking technique, which many search engines and other popular websites use all the time.
I donít have such strong opinions either way. I like to present all SEO techniques with an open mind, so that you can make up your own mind. Please donít misunderstand me. I donít advocate the use of SEO techniques that will get your website banned by the search engines.
The problem is not whether a certain technique is valid or not. The problem is that some SEO techniques are in a gray area. Itís not always black and white. A technique that was acceptable a couple of years ago could be considered bad practice today. What is banned today may be acceptable tomorrow.
SEO is just another marketing concept. Like all marketing concepts you should test all techniques to see what works. There is no 100% right or wrong techniques. I believe that given all the facts, youíre intelligent enough to decide for yourself.
Doorway pages (bridge pages, entry pages, gateway pages) are information pages created for the sole purpose of achieving higher rankings for a particular keyword phrase in one or more search engines.
Doorway pages act as entry points to the real content of a site. They are used to attract search engine visitors, who are then encouraged to explore the rest of the site. Doorway pages are not visibly linked from a website's home page.
Having said that, do not think that doorway pages are simply empty pages with minimal content and some links to the rest of the site. On the contrary, doorway pages should be rich in content, and offer links to other pages within the site, as well as links to related pages in other sites, in an effort to boost link popularity and relevancy.
Doorway pages should offer just as much as the original page, but without the elements that can affect the pageís ranking, such as tables, graphics and multimedia content.
Doorway pages are usually designed with one keyword phrase in mind. Sometimes theyíre designed with one search engine in mind to maximize the relevancy of the keyword phrase for that particular search engine.
You should apply all of the basic search engine optimization techniques to doorway pages. The major difference is in improving the keyword weight and density in the body content. Doorway pages should be simple. There should be minimal, if any, use of graphics, multimedia and tables. Stick to plain text, as this is the only element of a page that search engines index and use to determine the relevance of a webpage.
Doorway pages are one of a number of controversial SEO techniques. Some search engines, such as Google and Inktomi, publicly state that doorway pages are consider as spam.
The problem is that search engines find it difficult to police this policy. A smart optimizer would create doorway pages that look similar to regular pages. As such, how can a search engine tell if a page is a doorway page or a standard page?
They canít unless a human visitor views the page. Itís technically impossible. Most of the time I doubt even a human can distinguish the difference, so donít expect computers to be able to tell the difference.
Hereís another example. How do you promote an affiliate product? Well, typically I would add a page, or two, to my website promoting the product and link to the merchantís website via affiliate links.
So are those pages considered doorway pages? I would say so. And thousands of websites promote affiliate products in this way. So if search engines consider all doorway pages as spam, then can you imagine how many websites it would affect; far too many.
The truth of the matter is that search engines donít ban these pages. In fact search engines like doorway pages; so much that quite often doorway pages occupy the top rankings. So, as long as you use doorway pages to visitors to relevant content, you wonít get into trouble with the search engines.