Doorway Pages - Splash Pages
When someone refers to web page content they are referring to all the information between the <body> and </body> tags of the web page. This is the page content that the visitor will see and the search engines analyze.
Some website owners in the past have used doorway pages to try and trick the search engine spiders but the search engines have figured this out.
What are Doorway Pages and Splash Pages?
Splash pages and doorway pages are usually graphically oriented.
Doorway pages (also known as splash pages) contain a graphic or limited web page content. These type of pages are used as an entrance to a website or to redirect the visitor to another page. e.g.
What Search Engines See in Doorway Pages and Splash Pages
Doorway pages (splash pages) do not contain enough text for search engines to read.
Using a Lynx Viewer we can determine what web page content the search engine will see on this doorway page:
The numbered items in the image above are the links the search engine will see.
As you can see from the demonstration above doorway pages do not contain web page content. This example page does not contain web page content for the search engines to collect keyword phrases or keywords from.
See our article on web crawlers, search engine robots and search engine spiders for information how the web page content is examined.
If you check the Google Webmaster Help Center - Webmaster Guidelines you will see that Google suggests using this technique to examine your web page content to see how the search engine will see the page content.
Doorway Pages/Splash Pages That Will Get You Banned
Some doorway pages (splash pages) will get you banned from the search engines.
Websites that use cloaking pages, hidden links and other sneaky techniques to try and fool the search engines will get the website banned.
In summary, doorway pages and splash pages do not do well in the search engines due to a lack of web page content.
For more web page content issues related to search engine optimization, read our Web Page Content Search Engines See articles.
Splash Pages and the User Experience
Beyond the issue of not being search engine friendly, splash pages can be annoying and confusing to the website visitor.
- Some of these types of pages do not contain a Skip Intro link/button or it just does not work.
- Some splash pages contain a movie which takes a long time to load in the user's browser. This can be annoying, even for those with high speed internet.
- A user may expect to find information on the page but instead is presented with a promotional movie.
Mr. Nielsen, an Usability expert, revisited the user experience when encountering splash pages in February 2008 and concluded:
"...Splash screens and intros are still incredibly annoying: users look for the "skip intro" button — if not found, they often leave. One user wanted to buy custom-tailored shirts and first visited Turnbull & Asser because of their reputation. Clicking the appropriate link led to a page where a video started to play without warning and without a way to skip it and proceed directly to actual info about the service. The user watched a few seconds; got more and more agitated about the lack of options to bypass the intro, and finally closed down the site and went to a competitor. Customer lost...."
User Skills Improving, But Only Slightly (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox) - February 4, 2008