Aug 1, 2018
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My client is a dentist and I'd like to soak up traffic from surrounding towns.

Most of the competition appears to be weak, both in their marketing and quality of dentistry.

For 5-10 extra minutes of travel time, people from these towns can have access to a great dentist.

What are my options here?

I know doorway pages are considered blackhat, but that doesn't stop large companies like Kayak or Enterprise Car Rentals from having thousands of them.

So how does Google rate them?

If the clickthrough and bounce rate looks healthy, would I still be putting my my client at risk? Even though this CTR/bounce is likely indicative of a good UX and fulfillment of search intention?

After much research, the general verdict on doorway pages appears to be this:

Option A: Lose out on any possible traffic/$$$ due to fear of a (highly unlikely) penalty
Option B: Attempt to soak up traffic and generate extra $$$ for client, with a super small chance of being penalized

Is this the case? If people are looking for a dentist and I'm leading them to one, what's the issue?

Am I being misleading for targeting "dentist Town B" when I'm in Town A?

I just want me client to get good results and see some extra $$$ coming in from SEO.

What do you guys think?


Sep 14, 2018
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Hey Whiz, I use to be of the opinion that doorway pages and all that was not a way to go, but I got into a really interesting situation where I inherited two dental websites from a different SEO company and these sites were ranking really well for two cities and okay for a third.

They didn't have a doorway page, but sprinkled in both city names across the whole site.

Somehow that worked, don't know why and feels like it goes against what I knew.

We've since created doorway pages that are not exactly doorway, we've created hyper local content ( 5 - 7 pieces) where we've added it the doorway page. We framed the page as a community page where it has the blog posts specifically about that city and testimonials from that community.

We've done this in the last 2 weeks, so haven't seen anything to improve, but my two cents is that I've seen it work.

Eric Rohrback

Oct 3, 2012
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Is your client already dominating in the current town / is the town too small with no immediate suburbs or surrounding towns to make sense only optimizing for the town they're in?

Cherie Dickey

Local Search Expert
Jan 30, 2018
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As far as I know, local landing pages are ok - Doorway Pages are not. The quality of content on those pages, and how it relates to that locality is key from what I understand. It's ok to optimize for multiple cities, you just don't want to go overboard with how many, and you want to take into consideration the competition in those cities. The client also needs to understand that they may never rank in those cities in Maps.

Here's a really good article from Moz on the proper way to make local landing pages if that's the way you would like to go. It's an older article, but still relevant. Overcoming Your Fear of Local Landing Pages


LocalU Faculty
Jul 18, 2012
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In my experience, it normally comes down to the quantity of doorway pages you have. If you only have a dozen pages created targeting different cities in the area, Google's unlikely to catch them algorithmically. If you have 200, that's a different story.

The other thing to keep in mind is that service-area pages don't always rank well. In some industries (like lawyers) they rarely work because it's so competitive and you are competing against homepages with links from hundreds of domains. It's very hard to get [good] links to a service-area page.
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