Google “Doorway Page” Update Could Be a Problem
A few people have mentioned a Google update that could be problematic for domain investors, and I want to share a few ways I think it could be harmful to domain investors.
On March 16th, Google announced “An update on doorway pages” via its official blog. Please read the entire blog post to see what is coming, but here is the main jist of the update:
“Over time, we’ve seen sites try to maximize their “search footprint” without adding clear, unique value. These doorway campaigns manifest themselves as pages on a site, as a number of domains, or a combination thereof. To improve the quality of search results for our users, we’ll soon launch a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages. Sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns might see a broad impact from this change.”
This could be problematic for domain investors who own and sell keyword domain names. One of the selling points is that a company can use a keyword domain name to help with search positioning and potentially add a second Google search result in addition to the current website. For instance, if I bought DomainInvestingBlog.com, I could potentially use that keyword domain name to try and rank this website and the second website for the key term and drive additional traffic to this website. That selling point is no longer good to use.
Many companies may still want to have the “category killer” keyword domain name to keep it out of the hands of a competitor or to use as a vanity url for signage or email. Many medium and larger-sized companies use SEO services, and these SEOs may advise against the purchase of an additional domain name, citing this recent Google update. Although the planned usage may not impact the SEO, the SEO service (or in-house SEO team) may still recommend against a vanity domain name purchase to be extra cautious.
New gTLD registrations may also be impacted by this update. It’s a guess, but I presume there are companies who are buying important keyword domain names in various new extensions that align with their business. They may be doing this to improve their search engine positioning at a lower cost than buying an expensive keyword .com domain name in the aftermarket. It seems like this Google doorway update would be harmful for companies who want to use a variety of new gTLD domain names to increase their search presence.
I wouldn’t be able to quantify the potential harm to domain investors as a result of this update. Some people probably won’t feel it. Based on my own experience though, if one prospective buyer opts to not buy a domain name in the aftermarket because of the update, some harm has been done. Like other Google updates in the past, we should be mindful of this one and know that it could be on the minds of prospective buyers.
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