As I have described in previous posts Google has manually taken action on several of my websites calling them doorway pages. Many on Webmaster Tools Forums like to question whether manual action was taken or if it was just a Panda update that effected my website.
Google couldn’t have been more clear by actually stating to me in an official email that they had taken manual action on my site which causes it to no longer appear on the first several pages of Google for virtually all keywords I once ranked for.
These sites stopped receiving all traffic from Google and I was now getting most of my traffic from Bing and Yahoo.
So we spent a few months changing the strategies on these sites by removing the affiliate programs that were on each site as they were all selling the same thing and this was the contributing factor to the reason why they were doorway pages. Another contributing factor was that the themes of the sites all looked identical.
We also updated the content so that it was high quality and non-promotional so the website offered tremendous value simply from the content offered on it.
Now here is what is weird…in the most recent email we received from Google (which we got today) they finally give us very specific information. It appears it wasn’t really about Doorway Pages as much as it was about paid links and linking schemes as they call it. See the email we received from Google below.
Now keep in mind that the links Google is talking about we do not own. I looked through all 1,600 links that Google webmaster tools showed that were linking back to the site in question. I could not find one link from a website we actually own going back to our primary site.
We obviously are not involved in a linking scheme as we do not own any of these sites and we are not linking back to these websites either.
Our company hires marketing companies to promote our site on the internet and I admit some bad garbage content was written and links in that garbage are linking to our website.
Some things like this are simply outside of our control and it could also be that some of these links that I do not recognize could be black hat SEO companies work in shifting down our site because of some honest reviews about some unsavory MLM companies we wrote about.
There is a debate out there about whether bad links linking back to a website can hurt the site or if Google just devalues those links. In the email we received today from Google it is clear that bad links on other sites you do not own can cause Google to manually penalize your site. Here is a select quote from the official Google email we received to prove this point.
“Once you have updated your site, reply to this email noting the specific changes you made. Only after there has been a significant decrease in unnatural linking will we consider reviewing your reconsideration request again. If there are still links that you could not remove, we will look for an explanation of why you were unable to do so.”
Read our first article we wrote right after Google decided to manually penalize us for doorway pages… read here
Now if you are still wondering if maybe you have a legitimate doorway page issue where you have too much affiliate type stuff and not much unique content that would stand on its own please read this helpful article. I don’t believe my sites are weak in content but there are many sites out there that have two main problems: weak content and spammy links back to their site. If you are monetizing with affiliate links the affiliate links are not the problem it is that the content is so weak the affiliate information ends up being the primary information source of the site which means your site is not compelling enough on its own and so you get dinged as another thin affiliate site.