Will members only post affect seo?

Hello
I read somewhere that google bots scan your site and crawl for seo…
if my blog is having member post then what should i do??

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following…

I don’t think member posts are indexed at all, because they shouldn’t be. Iwas told so here.

Maybe set your main article as paywalled, then duplicate it and set it free with another URL…that way google will find the 2nd article and so you don’t lose out on search traffic

So your site visitors see the paywalled article, while google queries lead to your free article

Eeeh…but what would be the point then of having any article paywalled at all? If it’s freely available and findable with Google? Or am I missing something maybe, I’m not an expert here?

I am assuming there are 2 sources of traffic: search and organic…so your own crowd that knows your brand, gets your newsletters, viral forwards, etc…all those would be confronted with the paywall

someone who finds an article through search, gets to read that article for free, but as they browse the rest of your website, encounter various paywalled articles

not saying this is ideal, if they figure out that all articles are free if accessed through search, then this scheme is defeated…but it’s a reasonable solution

I’m pretty sure there are ways (beyond Ghost) for articles to be both paywalled and indexable

also, I don’t know if the new Public Preview feature of G4 means that a portion of the article can be indexed by search engines

Duplicated content?

Paywalled content is not indexed, apparently, so I would think there are no duplicate content issue.

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Hey everyone!

Google can’t crawl protected content on your page, because that’s only ever available to logged in members, but Google can crawl the page itself. That means when your member-only page is crawled, Google will only be able to take into account the logged-out, unprotected content.

Member-only content is not really designed to rank in Google though, so if you’re trying to grow your audience via SEO then it’s best to publish public content for this purpose.

We also recently introduced a new public preview feature in the editor which allows you to include a public intro of any length in your post - so this might be helpful to get a member-only post to rank, too!

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Duplicate content is never a good idea or practice from what I know.

On top of that, what’s the point having it available for free if you want to use the paywall?

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The idea that immediately comes to mind is to use the excerpt and that way, provide crawlable content for search engines while keeping whatever else behind the paywall.

That or write the post / page as usual and insert the member “divider” at the end.

I think Kym’s reply addresses some of the nuances.

I am transitioning away from Substack - but the advice they provide is to actually give away your best content for free, while paywalling content that only true fans will care about.

This brings in people through email forwards and search, some of who will convert into fans. In my experience, that’s the best growth strategy…and so if you believe that, you should be pretty indifferent which of your posts are paywalled and whether some are partly paywalled / partly free.

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@josephkman Yep, I agree with this — this is a strategy that I’ve seen work well for many publishers regardless of what platform they are using.

  1. Build an audience with your free content
  2. Convert a percentage of that audience (your biggest fans) to paid members, offering them something unique that they can’t find elsewhere

You’re going to need a growth channel, and that means you need to publish something for free. Whether that’s public articles that rank, a public YouTube channel, building a Twitter audience, or some combination of things.

However, I wouldn’t say you need to be indifferent about which of your posts are protected. It’s a good idea to have some sort of strategy behind what works well as free content (attracts an audience) and what works well as paid (something that you can promote with a unique value proposition to your biggest fans).

PS, this is a developer forum! If you’d like to continue the conversation about topics related to running a publishing business, I’d recommend applying to become a member of the community. :smile:

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This is a good idea. I’m interested to see how people use this new feature to experiment with different free vs paid content strategies. Couple of examples of how sharing 90% of a post for free with member content at the end might work:

  • Include some sort of download/cheatsheet/free templates/swipe file at the end of the post for free members. This type of “Gated opt-in content” has been used for years by SaaS marketers to grow an email list. Read an article about a topic, and get a free resource in exchange for an email address.
  • Include additional behind-the-scenes content for paid-members (useful for podcasters or video creators)
  • Include data or findings from a survey behind the paywall

Lots of things you could do, depending on your niche and audience!

Yep, the keyword here is “niche”. There are tons of users out there, all trying to make money on the same niche. What usually makes it different is what type of “language” and what type of level the article is written on. It’s like Einstein said; “If you can’t explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough”.

I guess my point is this; everyone within the same niche cannot make money on the same content. Unless…

They only “poor” thing with the whole “insert paywall section here divider” is that you are forced to either insert it at the top or at the end - you cannot insert it between two paragraphs.

Another thing I would love to see is a code block when clicking the + sign in the editor. Having to type out three ` and to press enter is not very user friendly. Yes, I know… we can do that once and create a snippet.

Agree. If that’s an option, yes - that’s great. But it doesn’t solve the issue with paywall content not being indexed, hence my suggestion to use the Excerpt box.

I don’t know if that “solves the problem” with search engines picking it up, but at least it allows the site to inform the visitor about the content, at least I hope so.

Hi all,

It would be great if Ghost had an option to make paywalled content available to search engines, even if it means it would be less protected.

Google has a special markup for paywalled content, so you wouldn’t be accused of cloaking - Subscripton & Paywalled Content | Google Search Central

Of course, content would be less protected and tech-savvy people would be able to bypass that. But for many use cases, I think that would be enough.

In any case, the newly introduced Public preview divider is a major step forward.

Thank you so much for that!

Jan

Great discussion!

There are some members-based sites, which are amazing at SEO and both have paywalled content.

E.g. at starterstory.com, if I’m not mistaken, a lot of content is paywalled, but still indexed via Google and appears in search results. And I think content there is accessible if you select View Page Source in Chrome, but blocked in browser view. Of course, then it becomes more accessible for tech-savvy users.

But, would be really cool to have some kind of similar feature in Ghost.

@thebear.dev absolutely, finding your niche is important. We recently published an article about that here. You can insert the public preview divider anywhere, including in-between paragraphs.