Doorway Pages for Search Engine Placement

Preserved for historical reference. It’s funny to look back at this post – initially written for my email newsletter in early 1999 – and realizing that this technique became extremely effective and popular for a short time until everyone had orphaned doorway pages served up in special directories, dedicated to specific search engines and targeting just one phrase and one search engine per page. (I realize that it’s odd to think of targeting dozens of search engines – but that was the reality of 1999)

Search Engines in 1999

Search Engines of 1999

(written March of 1999)
Join me in a little cynicism here. There’s no way that a simple technique like “Doorway Pages” can work to improve your search engine ranking on specific search words or phrases. If it were so easy, everyone would do it and then nobody would benefit. I’ve heard those stories about sites vaulting to number one position on the search engines and they’re bogus.

That was what I was saying just last week because my rankings were in the basement. My weekly reports from “PositionAgent” consistently had all my keywords showing up as a big ugly zero on all the search engines they monitor. I was beginning to believe I’d never rank in the top 10 on any search. That’s what I was expecting when my “SearchEngine- Monitor” report showed up this week.

But there it was, listed number three (3!) under the search phrase “ecommerce tutorial” and just to verify that position, I’ve been back tonight to see where I rank and I’ve dropped to number five! But guess what? Now I have TWO sites in the top 10, both of them doorway pages I created to help improve my ranking there. I thought, O.K., no harm in trying it to see if it works. But I didn’t I expect to get two pages in the top ten ranking.

I invite you to take a look yourself! Go and type “ecommerce tutorial” in the search box and click the search button. It may change position tomorrow, but I’m there today and took a screen shot.

Now, top ten ranking for one obscure search phrase is not the magic bullet for success. But do you think I’m going to be cynical about doorway pages any more? Not likely. Instead I’ve begun to pay close attention to what works for whom. Why? you ask? Because this same doorway page gets me that same big ugly zero ranking in the other search engines and I made number 34 on “WebCrawler” with my home page, proof that honest content and good page design with proper keyword metatags will accomplish things without “trickery”.

This particular doorway page works only today (March 1999). They’ll no doubt change their algorithms and lose me altogether tomorrow. I’ll be looking for ways to improve results at Excite and AOLnetfind now. I do this for my clients and work toward success for each of them.

I don’t want to resort to different for all my three hundred pages for each different search engine. But I will use every resource I can find to succeed honestly in this business.

by Mike Banks Valentine

WebSite101 emphasizing small business on the Internet

e-tutorial online at:Short CoursGet More Hits With Doorway Pages

Getting listed high on search engines can bring you a flood of new customers. One way to get listed on search engines is to create doorway pages.

Search engines love sites that tightly focus on a specific word or phrase that a user is searching for. If I type “printers” into Google, the search engine computer will look for pages that have printers mentioned in the title, meta tags, headlines, copy, and even in the hyperlinks.

Rather than using this kind of one-word overkill on your main website, use doorway pages. Each page can focus on a particular word or phrase lots of people use to find a site like yours.

The doorway page looks like your regular page, only the words are skewed to frequently mention your keyword.

But what words do customers use most to find a site like yours? Use the free search term suggestion tool at

Look in the Advertiser Login section. You can get a list of similar words and phrases people use.

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Search Engine Veteran - Enterprise SEO & Small Business Entrepreneurs. Advisor to startups for pre-launch optimization SEO Audits & consulting.