James

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This post is a bit about SEO and a bit about local spam pages, it could probably go in eiter sub forum but probably leans more towards this forum. I also use an example of my own site because I want to clarify my thinking before getting to the question.

I know traditional SEO well and one thing I have seen is if you have a site on a topic such as hosting, generally, as an affiliate you would have (for example) 10 page which are the real "money" pages. These are what rank for the term that get the clicks to the offer and drive people to convert on the main site.... However, to get these money pages to rank you often need a load of supporting content.

Most of my affiliate sites are 200+ pages and 200k-400k words in length. If I wanted to rank for the term "dedicated managed windows hosting" I would have a strong piece of content around that but I might also have another 10 pieces of content about hosting linking into the main piece, Ive always called this supporting content.

The above is all background, now onto the question.

There is a site I see at position 1 when I search for:

cheap driving lessons

This site has over 1k pages indexed but it also has taken the approach of having loads of doorway pages for terms like

driving lessons in town
driving lessons in city
etc

I would say most of their pages are actually these doorway style pages.

Now I know google is not as good at spotting things as they like us to think they are and a lot of the time they are terrible.

My question here is could the doorway pages, since they are indexed, be seen by google as supporting content? This site does not look like it should be ranking #1 for the competitive term of cheap driving lessons but it is.

I am thinking of making an affiliate site related to driving lessons so have been exploring the niche.

I wanted to give some background and logic to my questions which is why the above is so long but I think the summary of the above question is.....

Do doorway pages help a site rank for main and more competitive terms by padding the site out and making it look like it has more content/is an authority site? Id say the answer is a yes given what I am seeing here.

Ive padded sites with automated content and all sorts in the past, I generally would not take that appraoch for a site I wanted to rank long term, however, its interestingto see this tactic in play even if it has been done by accident (I bet they were chasing local rankings and this was a knock on effect).

Thanks for reading if you got this far!
 
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I have nothing to add either way, but it's certainly an interesting theory. I'm getting into web scraping and data analysis specifically to investigate questions like this. One thing I will say... the more I get into machine learning and the advances coming out of Google's Deep Mind department specifically, I think garbage sites like the one you described have a lifetime in months, not years. As you say, Google's surprisingly poor at filtering through many corners of the internet, but I think we're on the cusp of some amazing changes.

From a more pragmatic perspective though, as Google exists today, sounds like you already know how to win. Even if those doorway pages are inadvertently helping them, I would expect a more well structured site with a healthier backlink profile would still come out on top over time.
 

mborgelt

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I don't think so just because we have had several clients with city, town and county pages to the fullest extent and we usually see improvement in rankings and traffic when we delete superfluous pages.

Not saying that the inverse is true but I don't think loading a site up with doorway pages would help across the board even in the short term unless the doorway pages had a really strong backlink profile.
 
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