Search Engine Positioning Going MainstreamWritten by David Gikandi
Lately, using doorway pages to gain top search engine positioning has become a major topic in Web circles. Doorway pages, also known as entry or bridge pages, are Web pages designed specifically to rank highly on unique ranking algorithms of each search engine. They are often identified with spammers - at least until now.
Danny Sullivanís Search Engine Watch (www.searchenginewatch.com) recently featured use of doorways by State Farm Insurance, leading US auto insurance firm, to get to top of search results for insurance related searches. State Farm did get top positions, securing first and second positions for "auto insurance" on Excite, Infoseek, HotBot, and Lycos, plus first and second positions for a number of other phrases like "life insurance", "boat insurance", "home insurance", and "car insurance". Everything was going great for State Farm, its doorway pages generating an extra 100,000 unique new users in 11 months. This being first time that a major corporation has been publicly exposed for using techniques associated with spamming, many Web promoters were curious to know what search engine companies would say about it. What they heard was best piece of good news they have had in a long time.
According to interviews with search engine executives in Search Engine Watch, search engines seem to have adopted a whole new healthy attitude towards doorway pages! As long as your doorway pages do not promote keywords or phrases that have nothing to do with your Web siteís content, and that you do not submit too many doorways with same keyword and clog up search results, you are free to go for it! In other words, if your doorways help search engine users to find what they are looking for without being deceived, no one will penalize you. (Watch out for Infoseek, though. It doesnít like it when your doorways redirect users to a new location without their intervention, e.g. using META refresh tag or a CGI).
The reason doorway pages are such a hot issue is that:
Over 95% of Web users find what they are looking for by visiting top 6 search engines. Yahoo alone handled over 55 million searches and page views in December 1997. Everybody knows that even a few good positions on even one or two important keywords or phrases can drive thousands or hundreds of thousands of quality visitor traffic to a Web site per day. The search engines are over-flowing. They have too many pages in their indices and they do not do a very good job of giving users what they are looking for. Often, a good Web site may be ranked low by a search engine, and a very bad Web site in same subject area ranked high! Sometimes only way good site can rank higher is by using doorways. Research has shown that people hardly ever go past top 30 search results for any one search. The top 10 results receive 78% more traffic than those in position 11 to 30 do. The top 30 results get over 90% of search traffic. This alone explains why some sites do so well and others so disappointingly, and why it is so critical to be ranked highly. Creating doorway pages is one of those elusive things in life. It can be done, but it no longer is easy to cheat search engines as it used to be back in 1995! It now takes some considerable time studying, tracking, testing and reverse-engineering search results. Those that get it right are handsomely rewarded! Coincidentally, this interest in doorway pages heightened just as we were launching SearchPositioning.com Web site (www.searchpositioning.com), which features an online Automatic Doorways Generator, plus other tools, software, information, and resources useful in search engine positioning. We developed, through reverse-engineering many search results, a system that creates optimized, professional doorways for Web site promoters. By developing a system that easily allows webmasters to serve themselves online, we were able to drive costs down and provide automatic doorways generation service at an affordable $34.95 per year for unlimited doorways and keywords. Our goal is to enable any webmaster to responsibly position their site highly on search engines. The few services that did this before we stepped in were offering customized services that are beyond financial reach of most webmasters, well in thousands of dollars.
SPIDERS AND YOUR WEBSITEWritten by Bob McElwain
An effective website must have a clearly defined purpose. And it must lead visitors to action you want them to take. Nothing can be allowed to interfere in this. The chance of a search engine spider liking such a site is slim to none.
Your presentation may be pointed at making a sale, generating a lead, obtaining information, etc. But at is a sales pitch. This is not what spiders are looking for; they want content. While it is unwise to ignore search engines, all must be focused on site purpose.
To turn this around, suppose all your pages make every spider happy. And suppose all are in top ten on most search engines. Then you would expect a ton of hits. But not a one of them would do you any good if site fails to do its job.
Once site is functioning as required, then game changes. You can now think about adding great content pages that do rank well. (For ideas about building content pages, send any email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) And you can consider professional services that generate more hits. (For a dandy, see "Search Engine Positioning Done Right!" at But hits to a site that doesn't work are meaningless.
In what follows I will use term site to mean a new site, or a new sub site within an existing site, or simply a new page. While there are exceptions, it is unlikely such pages will rank well.
Define Your Perfect Customer
The best approach is to define every feature of your product. Then derive all benefits each feature provides. And through all this, consider all possible people who may respond to these benefits.
From this set, define potential customer most likely to buy once your benefits are presented. Regardless of other possible buyers, focus all attention on your best prospect, your perfect customer.
If you need assistance with above, pick up a copy of Joe Robson's book, "Make Your Words Sell." Nobody makes this task clearer than Joe does. For my review of this remarkable work, send any email to
This is set of phrases your perfect customer is most likely to enter when looking for your product or one similar to it. Each must be a phrase that comes naturally to your prospect's mind.
Generic words such as music simply won't work. Even jazz is not sufficiently specific. For a good method for finding appropriate keywords, send any email to:
Building Great Pages
From headline on each page to last word on last page, every single word must seek to compel your visitor to take action you want. This is *not* time to be thinking about search engine spiders; they are not buyers. You write with a total focus on your perfect customer and let nothing distract you from listening to whatever he or she can share with you.
Preparing For The Spiders
When site is as ready as it can be, there are a few things you can do to help increase ranking of these new pages. But be sure no change diminishes effectiveness of site in any way.
The Meta Statements
The keyword meta statement is no longer of any use in search engine positioning. Only AltaVista and Excite bother to read tag. And it appears you get little, if any, boost from it. Some have suggested omitting it entirely. I include only those keywords that appear on page. But I do include tag. Search engine algorithms change constantly. Who's to say this tag will not again become relevant.