Creating "Hallway" Pages to Improve Rankings

Many people believe that submitting a Web site is as simple as typing the URL into a search engine's submission form and pressing the "submit" button. However, the way you perform the actual search engine submission will help determine whether your Web site achieves top 10 rankings for keyword searches or if your site joins the land of the lost.

Technique #1: The first technique attempts to capitalize on a growing search engine preference. Some major search engines are scoring pages higher that were found by a search engine spider instead of having been individually submitted by someone. Therefore, you may be able to boost your site's rankings by creating what we call a "hallway" page.

A "hallway" page is a page that has links to all your different "doorway" pages you've optimized for each search engine. When this hallway page is submitted to a search engine, the search engine's spider travels down the page and branches off to these links indexing those pages you really want indexed. In theory, the pages it spidered will rank higher than the hallway page and higher than they would if they were submitted individually.

Therefore, be wary of submission programs that employ "deep promotion" or a similar term whereby all pages on the site are submitted at once. This can potentially cause a lower ranking by submitting the URL directly, and on some engines will definitely cause you to exceed their daily limits of how many URLs they will accept per day from a single domain. (Luckily, WebPosition Gold's Submitter will track your submissions per day, and warn you before you exceed known submission limits.)

(New readers: Doorway pages are simply pages that you've optimized to rank well on one or more search terms for each search engine. Doorway pages act as alternate entrances, or "doorways" to your Web site. Because search engines index many pages of a Web site, not everyone will find your Web site through your home page.)

We know that many major engines now rank home pages higher than other pages, all other things being equal. Therefore, my feeling is that you'll do better if you add these hallway page links to your home page versus a sub-page. This effectively makes your home page the hallway page to the rest of your site and to your doorway pages.

Normally you'll want to hide these hallway links from the average surfer since they'll point to many pages that are intended only to be entrance pages (i.e., doorways) to your Web site for targeted keywords.

For an example of how you can place hidden links on your pages, see:

Hidden Links Explained

For even more leverage, place your hallway page on a separate domain that you own and submit it. This way you'll realize two benefits:

1) You raise the link popularity rating of the site you link to since to most search engines it will look like a third party is linking to your domain.

2) It appears to the search engine that it found your site on its own accord by following the links from another site.

The only drawback to not submitting your URLs directly is that you're dependent on the spider to traverse the links and find your other pages. They often put a lower priority on this; therefore it could take longer for you to get indexed than if you'd submitted the URLs directly. However, the wait can be worth it, particularly if you're in a competitive industry and need any extra boost you can get.

Tip: Make use of the URL Verification feature in WebPosition Gold's Reporter to make sure your doorway pages get indexed in a reasonable amount of time. If they don't, either re-submit the hallway page, or submit the individual pages separately as a last resort.

Technique #2: If you plan on using hallway pages to point to your different site pages and doorway pages, make the hyperlink (the underlined text you click on) a keyword. This can sometimes increase your rankings even more. For example, if you sell "blue widgets" and own two domains, one called and another called, place a link to DomainB from a hallway page on DomainA like this:

<a href="">blue widgets</a>

Some search engines will recognize that another site is linking to using the targeted keyword phrase "blue widgets" as the hyperlink. The search engine logically concludes that has something to do with blue widgets, and therefore will rank the page higher for that term.

Caution: Since you'll want to create a different page for each search engine and keyword, you could end up with a lot of similar doorway pages all targeting the same or similar keywords. Ideally, you should avoid submitting a lot of similar pages to the same search engine to avoid being penalized for "spamming." To avoid potential problems, you can create a hallway page tailored for each search engine, with links only to the doorway pages for that engine. Another option is to create a robots.txt file that will tell search engines to ignore the doorway pages that you did not create for them. For details on this technique, see:

How and Why to Build a Robots.txt

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