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  • Google to launch doorway pages ranking penalty

    May 12, 2015 2:59 PM - Posted by The Metatags Company Inc. Category:Metatags

    First the warning about being Mobile Friendly, and now Doorway Pages; Google has been very busy modifying its algorithm. These updates are bigger than the Panda update! 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.

    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.

    Need help? Feel free to contact us!

  • Big companies get punished by Google’s latest search algorithm update

    April 21, 2015 12:52 PM - Posted by The Metatags Company Inc. Category:Metatags

    A number of the world’s biggest brands are about to be punished by Google’s latest update to its search results algorithm — unless they quickly make their sites more mobile-friendly. The consequences for failing to get with Google’s program are real: In the last update, eBay lost 80% of its prime rankings. Back in July 2014, Baird Equity analyst Colin Sebastian said in a note to investors that changes at Google may have cost eBay around 5 percentage points of growth off its gross merchandise volume.

    Google announced in February it is making changes to its mobile search algorithm to give “mobile-friendly” sites — those with large text, easy-to-click links, or those with responsive design (which means webpages uses the same URL whether they are on desktop or mobile, but “respond” according to the screen size of the device) — higher rankings in search results.

    Research from mobile marketing company Somo, found brands set to be punished under the new update, which becomes effective on April 21, include:

    • The official website of the British Monarchy
    • David Beckham’s official site
    • MI5
    • The official website for the European Union
    • The Scottish National Party
    • Nintendo
    • Windows Phone
    • Versace
    • Next
    • American Apparel
    • Ryanair
    • Channel 4
    • Kellogg’s UK
    • Dyson
    • P&O Cruises
    • Clairol UK
    • Cotton Traders
    • Danone
    • Legal and General
    • The Daily Mail

    Websites affected are not just limited to this list.

    Somo checked the brands highlighted by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK’s recently published “Top 250 Mobile Audit” report as still struggling to get to grips with mobile, as well as other high profile names like the official David Beckham site and the official website of the British Monarchy. Somo used Google’s own “Mobile-Friendly Test” to carry out the research (you can check your own site on it too.)

    Here’s what happens when you test MailOnline.com, for example:


    MailOnline does have an app, which the site points users towards, but nevertheless, it is not deemed mobile-friendly by Google.

    Maria Mitsotergiou, Somo’s head of search, said: “Google’s upcoming ‘mobile friendly’ algorithm update — the so-called ‘Mobilegeddon’ — is another indication of how important mobile search is and will be this year. We regularly see organic search becoming an increasingly important factor for paid search success. The incorporation of ‘mobile friendliness’ as a ranking signal for websites will separate companies proactively opting-into mobile versus those that cannot see the benefit and power of their mobile presence on search engine results pages (SERPs.) This in turn will only benefit the synergy of organic and paid search efforts by providing the right results in the right place and at the right time.”

    The impact of Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm is predicted to be huge. Search Engine Land reported Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji, who works in the Webmaster Trends team, said it will have more of an impact on Google’s search results than the previous Google Panda update and the Google Penguin update.

    While Google wouldn’t give a percentage for sites and search affected, the company says about 50% of searches are carried out on mobile devices.

    And that number is only likely to grow as mobile penetration increases across the globe.



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