How To Allow Google News To Index Your Subscription Only Source?

May 21, 2007 - 8:18 am 0 by
Filed Under Misc Google

Often, when you view results from Google News or Yahoo! News you are taken to a site that normally would require you to register in order to view the content. But normally, you can view all the content right away, without signing in. I.e. you click from Google News, you see all the content. Then you go back to that page, but it then restricts you from seeing the content on that page.

How does that work? How do you as a publisher allow Google News to index your content but require users to register before viewing your content?

That is the question being asked at a Google Groups thread where Google News Guide answers it can be done.

Remember subscription sites aren't indexed less--they just require a little more TLC to get set-up correctly :)

The rep links us to a help document that gives publishers two options.

How do you allow Google News to index these pages, when Google News can sign in? Google asks you to cloak, well kinda cloak.

The easiest way to do this is to configure your webservers to not serve the registration page to our crawlers (when the User-Agent is "Googlebot"). You can verify that the request is actually from our robot by making sure the IP address is within the range of It’s equally important that your robots.txt file permits Googlebot to access your site.

Other solutions include:

First click free: We have worked with other subscription-based news services to arrange that the very first article view by a Google News user (identifiable by referrer) does not require subscription. While the first article can be seen without subscribing, all clicks on the article page are "trapped." This means that if users click anywhere else on that page, they will be prompted to sign up. This is our preferred solution since it benefits both you and our users.

Subscription designation: If the above solution is not feasible, our policy is to add a "(subscription)" tag to the publication name of all sources that greet our users with a subscription or registration form. This signals to our users that they may be required to register or subscribe on your site in order to access the article in question.

If you go with the "First click free" you need to follow Google News Guide's steps:

The basic idea is that your site must allow referrals coming from any Google domain or subdomain to hop over your subscription page. There are a lot of different URLs they could come from, so include any top-level domain matching http://*.google.*

Forum discussion at Google Groups.


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