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Google goes Black Hat with Doorway Page Program

Google says this, Google says that, blah blah blah. And as Google rakes in billions and dominates search, who am I to question Google’s motives? Obviously it is all about money.

But not “little money”. Big money. Serious money. A few hundred per day from everyone marketing products on the Internet. And since we all know doorway pages are the defacto standard for capturing an audience’s attention (they work, consumers like them, they are affordable and flexible), is it any wonder that Google has reserved the right to use doorway pages exclusively for itself, threatening to ban any one else deploying this very effective Internet marketing tactic?

Google’s Doorway Program is called “Pay Per Click” and you literally pay per click. Just as you do when you build your doorway pages for Microsoft’s search product of the month, you will need a keyword list for use with Google’s doorway system. For each targeted keyword, you tell Google what you want your doorway page to say, and where you want the traffic to click through to. Google does the rest. But unlike search, where you need to publish your doorway pages and get them indexed to rank properly for the target search terms, Google displays your doorway message and link URL right on the SERP for the target search phrase. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Need to roll out 10,000 doorway pages on MSN? It might take 2 days to do all that! But with Google, you just upload 500 or so keywords, tell it to munge them into 10,000 related and associated keywords and phrases, and put in your cousin’s credit card. For hundreds of dollars per day, you’re rolling in the SERPs.

Seriously, folks. At $300/day that’s a $10k per month SEO spend… just about right. And of course we all know that those ethical SEO snakes have ways of monetizing those doorways beynd the obvious client benefit. They put back links on them to support their own SEO businesses, they sometimes skim the traffic, and they watch the click stream for competitive intel they might be able to use elsewhere. Just. Like. Google.

The next time you client says “we rank for blue widget replacement parts but we should also rank for blue widget repairs and blue widget parts just tell them they need a few more doorway pages. And of course offer to build them for less than a few dollars per day per page. And watch them decide instead to buy the keywords on PayPerClick. And then wait for them to come back in a few months, broke, asking for discounted SEO services because they are on last legs and need to try anything to survive.

What do I want for Christmas this year? A competitive search engine to rival Google. I don’t care what comes from that wish as long as it includes change.


  1. Alex Tsatkin wrote:

    John I feel your pain. Google is not just dominating search but they are dominating online marketing and advertising in general. Affiliates, lead gen, link exchange, bad… google adsense thats intrusive and disruptive good??

    I do thing that there is one format out there that may continue to eat away at google and that is blogs. They are the HBO of search in that its premium content you trust. For example I found your blog from a blogger I already trust. Whether you rank in Google means nothing to me becuase Google as a trustworthy source has eroded to a point where nothing in their serps is worth while.

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 7:03 pm | Permalink
  2. theGypsy wrote:

    Nice rant as always John (U ‘enigma’ you….). I have to wonder if Santa can whip one up though. And then what? We have two 800lb Gorillas? It is all done but the cryin, I say adapt and overcome.

    Thanks for the fun as always bro… cya round.


    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 7:39 pm | Permalink
  3. I’m sorry, but this was incoherent, except for the last line which I think we all agree with. Anyways, wow are doorway pages the same as PPC?

    @Gab from SEOROI Thanks for stopping by. Sorry if you found my post incoherent. There’s a translator at the upper right, behind the RSS feed buton. You just unsubscribe and no more incoherence. Or, there is always Clicksy which might be easier to read.

    Update 5 minutes later: Sorry for the snarkiness, Gab. I see from some of your SEOMoz posts that you are a literal reader, and as “bookworm” you appreciate didactic SEO blog posts. You are certainly a good writer, speaking with a solid tone of “authority”. I wish you well in understanding the world of SEO you write so eloquently about on your way through law school. Still, this is definitely not a blog for you, so above recommendation still applies, although sans the snarkiness.

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 7:43 pm | Permalink
  4. Dan wrote:


    A couple of SEO experts partnering with a couple of huge domain portfolio owners…Could do this…without Santa Claus.

    Best, Dan

    @Dan: If 4 people (give or take) could produce the next Google, why hasn’t it happened yet?  I’ve met with many domainers, and I’ve met with some folks behind what could be contenders to the “top 5” search engines. Nobody’s interested in shooting for the stars when there are easy pickings at Google’s feet. The troubles trickle down to the searchers and the web publishers.

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 9:50 pm | Permalink
  5. Dan wrote:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I would say complacency…Lack of will, lack of a bit of creativity. When you really think about it, the only real unbiased improvement in Internet search in the last 10 years…was going from the directory type format (Yahoo) to what we call ‘keyword search’ today…which all it did was basically cut down the need to click category(s)/subcategory)s) to get to were you wanted to go. Keyword search is really just ‘final subcategory search’.

    Other than that…the rest is just Google ‘BS’.

    Their business model has almost nothing to do with Internet search…It has to do with everyone in the world being an ‘affiliate for them…through their adwords and adsense programs and making them billions of dollars. 10 years ago people did not like ads…and today no one likes ads.

    Google just hopes no one notices until they can use Google ‘search’ to fund an build an empire that has nothing to do with Internet search…that empire I call

    When the ‘folks’ wake up a discover that Google is/has become…a huge conglomerate focused on everything other than Internet search…the move will be made…it has to. Google will always have its share…but there has never ever been as good as a time in history as now for some creative/smart group to take a huge market share away from them.

    Google has become whatever one despised about Internet search in the first place…a huge conglomerate, hell bent on controlling everyones lives on the Internet. It did not work for MSN…and its not going to work for Google for the next 20 years.

    The Internet is ready for a ‘pure’ Internet search engine, with NO ads…but one that still makes the owners millions of dollars and gives the ‘folks’ a much better Internet search experience.

    Once they domainers/seoer’s understand how much money they are leaving on the table…it will happen…look at your post today about ‘Google Knol’….this is just going to make Google even worst.

    In the vast endless space we call the Internet…Google sets up one door to it…and the rest of the world has to walk through it for the next 100 years?…I don’t think so.

    IMHO…as always…lol


    Friday, December 14, 2007 at 7:37 pm | Permalink