Doorway pages are fine, says Tiscali South Africa, about a new search engine optimization service that the internet access provider and Google partner is offering to customers. Launched earlier this month, the press release about the service raised the ire of some local SEO firms with this description:
The service includes re-writing of an organisation's home page in meta tags and hidden words. Doorway pages are created that target specific search engines to improve search engine rankings.
One of the search engines the service submits to is Google, which gives these guidelines that goes directly against the pitch:
- Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
- Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
Tiscali defends its search engine service from ITWeb explains more on how local SEO firms are surprised and upset that Tiscali seemingly is providing a service that goes against at least one search engine's guidelines.
The issues are tricky, of course. Doorway pages with little useful content are often seen as spam. But create a new page with some real content, and that might be acceptable. Simply calling doorway pages something else like "information pages" isn't a solution, if the pages lack useful content.
Despite the press release, Tiscali now says that hidden words are not used. Perhaps the company meant this as a synonym for meta tags that it also named -- since meta tags are effectively hidden from users. Perhaps not. Perhaps it was confused. One thing's for certain -- the confusion doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in the service.
Need a recent rundown on what's deemed spam. Check out our recent SearchDay article, What, Exactly, is Search Engine Spam?, for some opinions.