Doorways, gateways and hallway pages - dos and don'ts...

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Doorways, gateways and hallway pages - dos and don'ts

Doorways, gateways and hallways (sometimes also known as bridge, entry or splash pages) are generally pages with very little content.

They are also sometimes optimized to suit the differing criteria of the biggest search engines. They are produced by webmasters to act as bait for the search engine spiders, with the belief that the more pages that are "out there" the more chances people will find them. They are both right and wrong in this belief.

Search engines do not like these types of pages. They only consider content rich pages as worth indexing so will often ignore them when spidering. Sometimes they will ban whole sites from their index.

The key

The simple answer is to still produce these doorway pages, but fill them with relevant useful content, making them integral to your web-site. Create informational pages that are beneficial to your visitors.

Create as many pages that link to your homepage or main category pages as possible. If you presently have 5 pages on your site, which are receiving 100 visitors per month, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't attract 1000 visitors with 50 pages.

Make sure you have at least 100 words of text on each page, as some search engines will ignore pages with less. The more keywords, the better, as this gives more opportunities for key phrases to be picked up on searches.

If you can create 100s of pages relevant to your site, then so much the better. Store these pages in the first or second level directory on the server as spiders rarely go beyond two levels. The highly visited Alta Vista search engine says that it considers the importance of a page by the directory level so you should keep your most important pages on the top level. ed-u.com keeps all of its pages in just one directory - the top one.

Funnel the Web

  • If you are selling many different products create a page for each product.

  • Create a page for each model of product.

  • Create a page for each category.

  • Create informational pages about your industry.

  • Create news or events pages.

  • Create static HTML copies of database pages that search engines cannot index.

  • Concentrate on different key phrases on different pages.

  • Create the pages manually, making sure that all are different.

  • Study the differences between the most and the least requested pages and learn from that information.

    Each page should serve a specific useful service acting as a conduit for the visitors to find the information they are actually looking for. Don't be tempted just to copy existing pages using different file names or only making minor alterations.

    You can buy software that produces extra pages and tags culled from your site automatically. Many search engines do not like this and in some cases you can be penalised with a low ranking or (as in the case of Alta Vista) deletion from the index.

    The search engine developers can and do buy copies of the same software. They study its output, identifying patterns, and then rank your site accordingly (or even delete it) when it arrives at their index and they recognise those patterns.

    Remember that all pages should be useful to your visitor over and above the fact that they attracted them as a doorway.

    Amazon.com sells a product which turns paper into webpages - Paper Converter for Microsoft FrontPage 2000. Paper Converter is an add-on product for Microsoft FrontPage 2000. It increases FrontPage 2000's capabilities by letting you turn paper documents and electronic files into Web pages from within the FrontPage 2000 environment.

    Paper Converter turns scanned documents into HTML-ready files that you can publish to your company's Internet or intranet site, or your personal Web site. Click here for more details from Amazon.com.

    Crossed internal links

    Some web pages exist within a web-site without any of the other pages linking to them. Pages without internal links are treated suspiciously.

    These are called orphan or stand-alone pages and can be identified by the software utilised by the search engines and directories. They think that they are just duplicates of existing pages on your site. Make sure that there is at least one hyperlink to each of your internal pages within your site.

    Submit more than one page at a time

    You should submit all of your pages to the search engines, not just the homepage. Although "hand submitting" pages individually is regarded as the most effective method (the ONLY way with AltaVista.com), many webmasters simply do not have the time. If you subscribe to SelfPromotion - easily the best $10 (approx £7) I've spent on site promotion - you can use their excellent "Multisubmit" tool that submits all your URLs (25 at a time) to several search engines in an ordered and timed fashion.

    Although, at the time of writing, you cannot test run the Selfpromotion.com Multisubmitter tool, free trials of other online submission software are available at the site. I recommend that you put aside an hour or two and use these free trials to the utmost. Have all your descriptions and keywords ready. Vary the length of these descriptions (to satisfy the criteria of different directories) and have your keywords in priority order.

  • Submit Your Site to Search Engines and Directories - Internal Link

    Submit about once a month

    Web pages or even whole sites get dropped from search engines as a result of servers being down, unreliability of the server that hosts the site, timed out operations, software bugs etc.

    Also, your ranking might drop because cached results for popular searches are updated or the level of inclusion of paid results for advertisers rises. A further reason is that programmers habitually experiment with different ranking algorithms therefore frequently changing the goalposts. This makes regular submissions essential.

    However, if you have a good ranking, be happy with it and don't submit that page again - it just might get you a lower ranking. In addition, you should be aware that you can be penalised if you bombard the search engines constantly with submissions or e-mail requests for listings.

    Order the search engines around and tell them where to get off to. Click here to find out how to train a spider to spin its web to your design...




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