Let's say I have a food delivery business that offers pizzas, hot dogs, ice cream, burritos, etc. My website has a page titled "What food do we offer" and that page has a list of food types each linking to a separate page, like this:


All these pages are basically the same, except that the type of food is different. So it would say something like

"Order your pizza quickly and easily online here!"
"Order your hotdog quickly and easily online here!"
"Order your ice cream quickly and easily online here!"
"Order your burrito quickly and easily online here!"

... and a few other phrases like this.

Obviously this is designed to lure anyone who is looking for, say, pizza to our website where it is specifically mentioned that they can order pizza.

Is this bad for SEO, i.e. would Google see this as a set of doorway pages?


Google has an internal threshold for determining whether they consider pages to be duplicate content. If your pages are 95% the same except for just a few words, that will certainly trigger the duplicate content penalty and/or the doorway penalty (if you do keyword permutations).

If the only difference between your pages are keywords, you will definitely be penalized. However if you focus on adding valuable content it can work:

I think if you focus on like a clear purpose for the page that's outside of just I want to rank for this specific variation of the keyword then that's that's usually something that leads to a reasonable result. Whereas if you're just taking a list of keywords and saying I need to make pages for each of these keywords and each of the permutations that might be for like two or three of those keywords then that's just creating pages for the sake of keywords which is essentially what we look at as a doorway.

John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google

So as an example, you can take this strategy more white-hat by writing up legit product pages with entirely unique copy, describing the burrito with photos (and listing the types of burritos and selling the quality of your ingredients), describing the ice cream with photos (and listing the available flavors and the distributor if that's a selling point), etc. Then at the bottom of each page you can put the "order online" call-to-action. That way each page contains real, useful information that a customer might want to read about each product instead of just being SEO spam, plus you have a separate page for each product that you can show to search engines.

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    In the case of internally duplicated content, Google usually just chooses one copy to index. Doorway pages are worse than duplicate content to Google. Google sees doorway pages a search engine spam. So I don't really like your first paragraph. I do, however, love your second paragraph. I completely agree that the pages could be made great with extra work. – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 12 '18 at 2:46

Essentially, this says all you need to know in one sentence or less:

Doorway Pages, on the other hand, are created by the type of person that thinks, “if I trick enough people into visiting this page, at least some of them will buy my crap.”

SOURCE: Landing page vs doorway pages

So yes, changing titles and a couple of keywords on the page would be considered doorway pages. Google's algorithm detects these types of pages and considers them both duplicate content and low quality. Users and Search engines hate these types of pages.

This type of behaviour is outdated SEO, nowadays Google and Bing will rewrite titles and even descriptions from keywords on the page, so even if the keyword is not in the title or description, these keywords can and do regularly occur in those positions when a user searches those terms.

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