Landing pages are a popular and effective advertising measure to address a defined target group and, if implemented well, to reach them accordingly. A landing page takes many forms. Whether it is a specific event that is being advertised; other given occasions or the focus is on a location – as is relevant to our article today.

The aim of a landing page is to be reached via a specific link. These can be advertising banners or, for example, an SEO link via the search engine. The page provides information about all important offers/services, as well as the company itself, and then offers a link to the actual website.

Location-specific pages should be aimed at a specific target group that is defined by local criteria. For example, it may be the case that a service is not only active in one location, but serves an entire region across several locations. New location openings can also be a good reason to create a local landing page.

If you are successful with your advertising campaign, you will be rewarded with increasing leads and conversions. A wonderful way to generate sales in e-commerce.

However, as in many cases in life, measures of this kind also have their downsides. In this case, so-called doorway pages. Google has a clear opinion as to when a landing page is a landing page and when it is actually a doorway page.

In this article we would therefore like to explain in more detail what a doorway page is, what it consists of and what Google’s opinion is, according to the latest statements by John Mueller.


The Doorway Page

What makes a doorway page? Doorway pages, or bridge pages, are designed for very specific search queries and should only appear at the top of the search results. Until then, this does not sound particularly reprehensible. After all, many pages are designed for specific keywords and the like.

But this is where the small but serious difference to a normal landing page becomes apparent. As soon as you click on the link of a doorway page, you will not be directed to this page itself. On the contrary. The doorway page has no further added value. The content is irrelevant and only serves to rank high so that as many users as possible become aware of this page.

Once you have clicked on the link, you will be forwarded directly to the actual main website. This is because the doorway page itself is usually not equipped with redirecting links. The most conspicuous and most frequent are landing pages that differ in keywords only by location and can hardly be differentiated in terms of content. Here too, the aim is to redirect users to the right website. This makes landing pages with many different regions as the only distinguishing feature also a form of doorway page and there is no clear dividing line between doorway page and landing page.

This leads to many problems, because doorway pages violate Google’s webmaster guidelines and, in the worst case, will lead to the website in question being removed from the Google index. Understandable. This is because Google does not want the search results for search queries to be cluttered with various landing pages for different regions without any added value. This is not advantageous for the user and certainly not for Google.

What am I allowed to do?

Many companies face an acid test in their decision, because (as already mentioned) landing pages are and remain a lucrative advertising measure that benefits the user and the advertiser. But for many, a fear has developed. “What am I allowed to do?” is the question that is asked. Let’s take a look at one of our examples: If you have expanded your location and are now no longer operating exclusively in Leverkusen, but also in Cologne, a landing page would be an ideal form of marketing.

You could define keywords that reach users from Cologne who are searching for your service and bring in many potential customers and leads. Then comes the fear. What if Google misinterprets this landing page and removes the entire website from the index? In times like these, this is an absolute losing proposition, even if it is a misunderstanding that needs to be clarified.

What Google says

What Google says

But don’t worry! Companies can now breathe a sigh of relief and put their fears aside. The landing page plan can be implemented without further ado. All you have to do is listen to what Google says. John Mueller made the following comments in response to a question on Twitter:

“Usually the problem comes from the number of pages. A single “Webdesign London” page is no problem. The same page for every city name in the country would be a problem. Also, it’s just bad SEO to dilute a site like that.”

Or in German:

“Normally the problem comes from the number of pages. A single “Webdesign London” page is not a problem. The same page for every city name in the country would be a problem. Also, it’s just bad SEO to skew a page like that.”

Content and quantity are decisive

John Mueller makes it clear once again in his statement. In principle, there is absolutely nothing to be said against locally oriented landing pages. It is precisely those pages that are created without relevant content and with poorly intended SEO measures that must expect to be penalized.

Of course, it is not a good practice to create thousands of landing pages with different locations – no matter how convincing the content. At the same time, there should be no reluctance to think about a second landing page as long as it is relevant to the target group and the content is developed accordingly. Perhaps there is a completely new business in Bonn in addition to Leverkusen and Cologne, which you are welcome to advertise. Just try not to overdo it and always remember: “The quantity makes the poison.”

However, if you are unsure whether you can implement a landing page in accordance with the guidelines, a good SEO agency will be happy to assist you with such matters.

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