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How to get Google to index member-only content

1:47 am on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm working on a new site which includes a forum, and the forum will be a very significant part of the content of the site. Forum posts are only visible to signed in members.

I wonder if anyone has any recommendations/thoughts/experiences on handling forum posts in SERP if the posts are member only. Can we get google to index them as they'll have a lot of good content. They're member only partly because we want site signups and other member interactions and also because with the site structure it makes sense. The posts themselves are not secret or private etc.

Presumably if they can get indexed and into SERPs, a public non member will click the link and be prompted to the free signup.

Thanks for any tips and suggestions
3:36 pm on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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The First Click Free [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com] program was created to give you the best of both worlds - as long as you are willing to let Google search traffic see just one page before requiring the log-in.

Under this program, all other traffic (visitors not coming directly from Google Search) can still be served your log-in challenge.
11:09 pm on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This looks pretty ideal, I will investigate, thank you for the suggestion
11:53 pm on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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On the adsense page under Site Authentication, you give access details to G* and their bot uses that as a signed member to access content for adsense purposes!

G* should have an equivalent on WMT, but I guess there are security and privacy implecations if they did.

My understanding is you either open for all or close for all. If you want the pages indexed you are also asking everyone to read them.

One way of making things better is to allow only the first post or even better, the start of the thread to non-signed members, that way those pages get indexed, people will come and read the first post BUT are asked to login if they want to read the rest. Should not be too difficult to hack your perl subs, php functions or asp code to do it. This will get you every thread indexed regardless on how many posts it has anyway, incidentally, in most cases Gbot only collects the thread page and ignores the page 2, page3, page 4 etc because on most forum software those pages are treated as one page unless you are clever enough to differentiate each page with meta titles and descriptions for each, implementing what I said is as good as any from that perspective.

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