Is this an example of spam and doorway pages? They have dozens of these yet rank

JoyHawkins

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

Personally I think they are and I wouldn't advise mimicking their strategy but unfortunately I do see a ton of these types of pages still rank well.
 

Tim Colling

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

What Joy said.

However...

It hurts my heart to advise my clients against using them, though, when their competitors use them with significant success and have done so for years.

This is a great example of Google not enforcing rules and relying on FUD to make a lot of people follow the rules. We're all afraid of "getting our clients in trouble" by having the bad luck of having Google pick our clients to make an example of.

I call this "paying the chump tax". We're all kind of chumps for following the rules and giving the advantage to those who don't follow them and probably will never get caught.

It's maddening.

Arrggghhh... :mad:
 

camarchi01

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

I will point out that the Island Lake "spam page" page isn't ranking at all in my search for: medical office cleaning services in island lake, il.

This is the page that is ranking:
Island Lake Cleaning Service Northwest Complete Cleaning
which is a pretty decent page.
Not this one:
#1 Medical Office Cleaning Service Island Lake, IL Northwest Complete Cleaning


But yes I know that:
#1 Medical Office Cleaning Service Round Lake, IL Northwest Complete Cleaning
is ranking for: medical office cleaning services in round lake, il.

Maybe Google sees one as a duplicate and the other as just fine. Because in reality it IS decent content.
 

JimFranco

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

the thing is there is like 25 of these location pages with the exact content.
 

JimFranco

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

I think it is only right not to follow such strategies , especially since a really good method for beating a competitor in ranking is to report their spam.
 

JimFranco

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

Personally I think they are and I wouldn't advise mimicking their strategy but unfortunately I do see a ton of these types of pages still rank well.

does Google take action when reporting such sites ?
 

mrmatt

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

If you are doing local SEO for your clients you are supposed to be getting them more business, leads, clients, etc., right? That is what you were hired to do and you told the clients would happen when they hired you.

So, why are you not building pages that are targeted at other cities your client does business in?

Is it a doorway page?

I don't think so.

Especially if that business does business in that city. Which from this example and links provided they do. Not only that but most of you agreed that it was good content. The kind of content someone in that city is expecting to see when they click on those links.

There is no place where Google states you can only have pages on your site for the city your business is located. And there is no reason they would.

To me, doorway pages are those mass page sites that target every city across a state or the country with the sole purpose of doing lead gen or promoting CPA offers or other affiliate programs. Typically this is crappy, spun, useless information. The type of "door way pages" that Google does not want in their SERPS because it frustrates searchers.

The so-called "doorway pages" given by the OP are not even close to being "doorway pages". They are useful and are exactly what a searcher would be looking for. Several of those commented stated the content was good. In other words, they provide value, which is exactly what Google wants in its SERPS.

So what is the problem?

That's right.

There is none.

The owner is providing the searcher exactly what they want. A cleaning service that is located or at least services the area they are in.

Duplicate content ranks well for low volume local search terms by just swapping out the city. But if you want, you can write unique content for each city if you want and if that makes you feel better.

If you are worried about a clients site getting hit by Google, just clone the site and build new sites targeted for what every city they want business from. Or clone it and higher someone to completely re-write the content.

The only way you are going to have duplicate content is if you use the same content for the same city.

I see tons of lead gen sites in my area from companies that sell leads. They are building what you and I would both agree are "door way pages". The only purpose of those pages is to get those leads and then sell them.

However, with that being said, there are tons of small businesses that rely on these types of companies because buying leads works. And of course their website sucks and aren't working with and SEO and of course all of their other marketing and advertising sucks.

As far as reporting them to Google. Why would you do that to a local business?

That is a crappy way to deal with a competitor. Unless they are truly doing something wrong and it's not your "OPINION" they are doing something wrong i.e. fake GMB listing.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

That's a tough one. I originally didn't think your example qualified as a doorway page but upon checking Google's help article on Doorway Pages, I see it has updated since I last saw it to include:

"Having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page"

That one hits close to home.

Google doesn't like Doorway pages because, "They are bad for users" and don't provide anything of significant quality.

So, I think, the more quality the page is and the more unique its purpose, the less of a doorway page it becomes.

The examples you gave are of copied content and they substituted one word in the location to make it "unique". Seems like a Doorway Page. It's bad the for the user because it doesn't add anything to their experience that they couldn't have gotten from another page on the site and is essentially the same destination as another page.

However, service area pages are similar to this as well. Why do they get a pass? Because I would argue they help the user.

If you serve two distinct areas, relatively far away from one another, I would argue you create a page for both, with unique content.

I think the further away two locations are, the better off you are creating a service area page for both. For example, in Nashville if you serve Nashville and Franklin (a city 15 miles south), you should create a service page for Franklin. Why? Because Franklin is far enough away from Nashville. Creating a "Franklin" page and a "Nashville" page is helpful because just because you serve Nashville, doesn't mean you're coming 20 minutes south to serve Franklin. That page serves a purpose. It gives something to the user they can't get from any other page on your website. It solves the question of "do you serve Franklin"? The page just needs some unique content.

Now, Green Hills is a locale inside of Nashville. I think creating a page for serving Green Hills would technically be a Doorway Page. Because if you serve Nashville, you serve Green Hills. The page doesn't serve a function that they couldn't have gotten somewhere else from your website.

The issue is Google can't tell that type of intent. So how have they currently designed the algorithm to interpret Doorway Pages? That's what we need to know. My guess is that they look for copied content and maybe even similar page styles, or maybe a combination of both.

We should get a discussion going about Doorway Pages. There's not enough information on them.
 

mrmatt

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

What does Google mean by "funnel?" My interpretation of that is redirects, overlays or the user must click on a link or button on the page they land on which directs them to another page.

Why does a page need to be "unique" to enhance their experience?

If someone lands on city page A for a service or product, why does it need to be unique from city page B?

It doesn't, at least from the stand point of the user looking for a local service or product. If you are making unique pages for each city, you are doing that solely for the search engines, not for the user.

The user is generally looking for a product / service in city A, they don't care about city B and they won't read or visit that page. And even if they did, the only thing you are going to do is re-write the content so it is unique. It is going to say the same thing as every other page only in a different way.

Creating unique content for each city for the user is a monumental waste of time.

"Now, Green Hills is a locale inside of Nashville. I think creating a page for serving Green Hills would technically be a Doorway Page. Because if you serve Nashville, you serve Green Hills. The page doesn't serve a function that they couldn't have gotten somewhere else from your website."

I think is could be argued either way as to whether it is a doorway page or not.

My personal opinion is that it is not.

The page doesn't serve a function that they couldn't have gotten somewhere else from your website.


That may be true. However, if they are not searching for Nashville and are using Green Hills to find the product or service; would they have even found the page that could have served them that information?

Maybe, maybe not.

"My guess is that they look for copied content and maybe even similar page styles, or maybe a combination of both."

I can tell you from my own experience that it is neither of those things.
 

djbaxter

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

You can argue any way you wish but ultimately what matters is what Google says about the debate. Their algorithms, their search results, so their definition trumps any other definition.

Using the same content with just a change of location name is both duplicate content and a doorway page, according to my interpretation of what Google has said about both over the years.

You may not like their rules, but if you don't play by their rules you lose.

And really, if you look at it from the end user's point of view (as opposed to the webmaster's point of view), I'd have to say that in most cases Google's position on this issue is the correct one.
 

mrmatt

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

DJ, you are absolutely right. It is up to each individuals interpretation. And ultimately, it is Google's interpretation of their rules that really matters.

As you can see I have been a member for years and just recently posted. And I totally get this is an ultra white hat forum.

I have been building local sites with targeted city pages for years with no repercussion. This includes city specific, targeting cities in an entire county, region and state wide.

I get not wanting to take a risk with a clients site. If I was still working with local clients I would have no problems building city based pages.

However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, if you don't want to risk your clients site getting penalized, clone it, rewrite the content and add city specific pages. Worst case scenario is that particular site gets penalized or de-indexed and there is no risk to your clients site.

I guess the only reason why I responded to this was for two reasons. I disagree with almost everyone saying these are doorway pages and secondly, the idea of tattle tailing on someone, specifically a local business, because you "think" they are breaking the rules or TOS is just crappy.

If they are breaking the rules or TOS, they will get dealt with by Googles algorithm.

With that being said, I have turned in people for fake GMB listings as that is a very clear violation of TOS and in each of those cases, they were not a local business, not even in the same state.

The other thing to keep in mind with city specific pages is that not all businesses can afford PPC. I can't when it is $20 to $30 a click and I am competing against huge national companies. City specific pages are the only affordable way for me to get in front of those people looking for my service.

I will say this. You will be pleasantly surprised if you add city specific pages for your clients services and products and they will love the new business they get from them.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

What does Google mean by "funnel?" My interpretation of that is redirects, overlays or the user must click on a link or button on the page they land on which directs them to another page.

Why does a page need to be "unique" to enhance their experience?

If someone lands on city page A for a service or product, why does it need to be unique from city page B?

It doesn't, at least from the stand point of the user looking for a local service or product. If you are making unique pages for each city, you are doing that solely for the search engines, not for the user.

The user is generally looking for a product / service in city A, they don't care about city B and they won't read or visit that page. And even if they did, the only thing you are going to do is re-write the content so it is unique. It is going to say the same thing as every other page only in a different way.

Creating unique content for each city for the user is a monumental waste of time.

"Now, Green Hills is a locale inside of Nashville. I think creating a page for serving Green Hills would technically be a Doorway Page. Because if you serve Nashville, you serve Green Hills. The page doesn't serve a function that they couldn't have gotten somewhere else from your website."

I think is could be argued either way as to whether it is a doorway page or not.

My personal opinion is that it is not.

The page doesn't serve a function that they couldn't have gotten somewhere else from your website.


That may be true. However, if they are not searching for Nashville and are using Green Hills to find the product or service; would they have even found the page that could have served them that information?

Maybe, maybe not.

"My guess is that they look for copied content and maybe even similar page styles, or maybe a combination of both."

I can tell you from my own experience that it is neither of those things.
When it comes to Google, it's not about "what should be done" or "how it should be" but "how it is".

I actually agree with a lot of your points. I don't think it necessarily provides a better user experience to have unique content on different landing pages. However, from Google's point of view, local is a small (and I would argue ignored) microcosm of their overall goal in search quality.

In local, do we need unique content per service area to provide value to the searcher? No. I agree with you. However, most copied content doesn't provide a better user experience. Local is the exception, not the rule, and therefore gets caught up in the exception.

From this vantage point, unique content is important. Not because it "should be". But simply from the fact that "it is what it is".

Edit: DJ beat me to this and I missed his post before I wrote this one. I basically just regurgitated everything he said haha.
 

JimFranco

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Re: is this an example of spam and doorway pages ? They have dozens of these yet ran

As far as reporting them to Google. Why would you do that to a local business?

That is a crappy way to deal with a competitor. Unless they are truly doing something wrong and it's not your "OPINION" they are doing something wrong i.e. fake GMB listing.

Reporting spammers and violators evens the playing field. I do it at every chance I can. Its a great way to win the SEO race. It then becomes up to Google to decide if something is spam or not and debate ends.
 

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