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I have a client who is keen to add a small landing page style site, since he has had a very popular URL purchased for a number of years but never actually used it.

He wants to add some content and provide plenty of links to the main site.

I know there is black hat SEO practices such as Doorway pages, but we want to actually add content rather than just redirect users.

What are peoples thoughts on this? Where is the line between blackhat SEO and good practice in this instance?

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Hard to say, I know several SEO companies which use doorway pages and rank well for several keywords on Google. However, it seems to be a blackhat way of doing. – Zistoloen Jul 22 '13 at 11:35
I know this has been asked here before. Just gotta find it. – John Conde Jul 22 '13 at 11:37
Is this actually doorway though? I thought doorway was where it redirects to the site before the page even loads? – Rick Donohoe Jul 22 '13 at 12:51
Here is Google's definition fo a doorway page: support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2721311?hl=en It doesnt' have to redirect, its just any page that is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase and then funnel users to another destination. – Max Jul 23 '13 at 5:15
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If the idea of a "sister" site is questionable to you, then it might be questionable to others too, including competitors who may view this as a webspam/spamdexing technique.

As this video by Matt Cutts indicates, the sister site, and your main site along with it, might be reported to Google via a spam report:

What should I do if my competitors are using webspam techniques?

Spam reports might result in Google removing your site. Google's Penguin update also specifically targets spamdexing techniques, including doorway pages, penalizing sites that make use of them.

So when considering adding thin sites just for the purpose of linking back to a main site, it's wise to also consider that you'll be increasing your risks for the above, and hence likely not worth the perceived benefit.

It might serve your client better to just do a 301 redirect to the main site if the older domain is generating traffic that it can benefit from.

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I would say that the line between blackhat SEO and good practice was whether your proposed extra site added sufficient extra value by itself.

In that, the site would be a resource worth visiting whether or not it was linked to another site and the content within justified its existence.

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