Google recently updated its definition of “doorway pages” so webmasters could better understand quality guidelines. Unfortunately, these guidelines have confused webmasters even more. Are you not sure if your website is a doorway? Here are some tips to help you identify risks to your website by algorithm changes or manual action due to quality guideline violations.

Does Your Site Stand On Its Own?

Does your site exist just to send users to another website? Websites should offer something of quality without relying on other sites. For instance, if your site offers travel discounts but only exists to funnel users to another website for purchases, you might be at risk of being seen as a doorway page. If you are an affiliate, always create unique and compelling content that offers something more than what users can get from the original website.

Affiliate site owners have the most difficulty understanding this concept. Sure, you can have an affiliate website, but it needs to bring something unique and valuable to the search engine index. Scraping content from the main vendor and sending users to this vendor’s site isn’t a long-term business plan if you plan to stay ahead of competitors in search engine rank.

Does Your Content Duplicate Other Websites?

While there is no duplicate content penalty, Google also wants to ensure that websites have valuable content that can’t be found on thousands of other sites. If your site exists as an affiliate site, you need to offer additional content from the main manufacturer website. Sites that sell product shouldn’t just upload descriptions from the original manufacturer.

One popular website style is content curation. These sites find content from several different sites and organize them in such a way that makes the content valuable. Technically, the content is a duplicate of other sites, but the organization of the external content is the value.

Google vs Affiliate Websites

Some webmasters claim Google hates affiliate sites, but that’s not true. Google wants sites that bring value, so your affiliate site should bring some kind of value that other sites don’t. Maybe you curate a list of news articles for your local community. Maybe you curate the latest tips and tricks for your favorite game. If your site brings something different to the index and users love the site, you’ll sustain your ranking.

Affiliate sites still have a harder time providing value, since many site owners focus on sales rather than content and users. Affiliate sites often aggregate data and don’t add anything of value. For instance, having a review site that just scrapes Amazon content isn’t of much value to users. Users can just go to Amazon, read reviews, and buy the product without being redirected.

You can still send users to your favorite vendor, but you should have something on the site that can’t be found anywhere else. Maybe you personally review products, so your reviews are more hands-on and personal. Maybe your content helps users better understand product concepts. These types of sites provide better value than the original vendor itself. You can incorporate other review sources, but you should also provide your own spin to make the site unique from typical review aggregators.

As more people gain access to the Internet and find a niche, successful affiliate site management becomes more competitive. Google is also cracking down on low-quality sites. You can still rank your content, but you should know the product well and understand your site’s value to users. Once users value your site, Google will recognize it as a popular, worthwhile website.

Author: Akbar Lalani
Akbar Lalani is an entrepreneur and currently the CEO of Corelead Interactive. He has over 3 decades of experience in building strategic marketing plans and managed several online brands for small, medium and large companies including Fortune 500 companies.