Weekly SEO news: 24 March 2015
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

When was the last time you encountered a doorway pages in Google's search results? Although this doesn't happen very often, Google seems to think that doorway pages are still an issue. In the official Google blog, Google announced a new penalty for doorway page.

In the news: there might be a Google update on the way, the latest search engine statistics, Google recommends auto-complete for mobile forms, and more.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Official: Google to launch doorway pages ranking penalty

When was the last time you encountered a doorway pages in Google's search results? Although this doesn't happen very often, Google seems to think that doorway pages are still an issue. In the official Google blog, Google announced a new penalty for doorway pages.

doorway pages

What is a doorway page?

According to Google's announcement, doorway pages are pages that are created solely for search engines.

"For example, searchers might get a list of results that all go to the same site. So if a user clicks on one result, doesn't like it, and then tries the next result in the search results page and is taken to that same site that they didn't like, that's a really frustrating experience."

How can you identify doorway pages on your website?

Google published a list of questions to ask of pages that could be seen as doorway pages:

  • Is the purpose to optimize for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of your site’s user experience?

  • Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?

  • Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?

  • Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?

  • Do these pages exist as an “island?” Are they difficult or impossible to navigate to from other parts of your site? Are links to such pages from other pages within the site or network of sites created just for search engines?
If you can answer these pages with "yes", chances are that Google thinks that your page is a doorway page.

Will this penalty affect AdWords landing pages?

Most of the things above also apply to landing pages that are used in Google AdWords campaigns.

It is considered good practice to use individual landing pages for each ad group. Landing pages that have a strong connection to the ad text usually convert better than general landing pages.

Will Google penalize these landing pages? Unfortunately, that's not clear yet.

Landing pages are good for pay per click campaigns but they are not suitable for organic search engine optimization. High rankings on Google and other search engines are the result of on-site and off-site optimization.

The tools in SEOprofiler help you to optimize your web pages while following all rules of Google. If you haven't done it yet, try SEOprofiler now:

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week
Mountain View, we may have an update

"Over the past few days I've been seeing small chatter here and there about the search results shifting around and changing at Google.

But as of last night, that chatter seems to have spiked up a bit to levels of where we may be seeing a new Google algorithmic update. Can it be a Panda or Penguin update? Possibly but too early to tell."

GooglecomScore releases February 2015 U.S. desktop search engine rankings

"Google Sites led the U.S. explicit core search market in February with 64.5 percent market share (up 0.1 percentage points), followed by Microsoft Sites with 19.8 percent (up 0.1 percentage points) and Yahoo Sites with 12.8 percent. Ask Network accounted for 1.8 percent of explicit core searches, followed by AOL, Inc. with 1.1 percent."

Google: use auto-complete in your mobile forms

"In a world where users browse the Internet using their mobile devices more than their laptops or desktops, having forms that are easy and quick to fill out is crucial!  [...]

Making websites friendly and easy to browse for users on mobile devices is very important. We hope to see many forms marked up with the 'auto-complete' attribute in the future.

GoogleHow big is Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm? Bigger than Panda or Penguin

"The upcoming mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that will launch on April 21st will have more of an impact on Google’s search results than the Google Panda update and the Google Penguin update did. [...]

It is only impacting the mobile results and even so, it will have more of an impact than Panda or Penguin.

The question is, what did Zineb mean by that? Is she saying that let’s say this is impacting 40% of mobile search queries, whereas Panda impacted about 12% of all English queries and Penguin was closer to 4% of global queries across both desktop and mobile."

Leveraging search algorithms for Bing Predicts

"This feature analyzes web activity, social sentiment, and other signals to predict the outcomes of events. My colleague, Walter Sun, the technical lead for the project, will share some insights on how Bing Predicts works."

Search engine newslets

  • Google filling auto-complete in Google search with competitor’s names.
  • AdWords: new and improved look for the top movers report.
  • Google Domains already #1 in Google for “domains”.
  • Non-optimized images are the major site speed issue Google sees.
3. Recommended resources

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