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Search Engines And Subscription Based Sites
Posted 16 October 2003 - 03:48 AM
First post here so excuse me if this is covered somewhere - a brief hunt and a search on 'Subscription' didn't reveal anything:
I'm about to begin a complete re-build and re-launch of a popular site - this time it will be largely available on a subscription fee basis. I still have the freedom to decide how I'd like to introduce the subscription and wondered if there are any obvious pitfalls with the resulting search engine ranking (currently we're rated very well).
We're considering these options at present:
A) Making the front page and a limited subset of pages listing content available outside the members area
B) A time limited access to all the features of the site (I know there are session/cookie issues here from Jill's last newsletter - many thanks!)
Does anyone have any experience/ideas of this kind of site? Is it best just to concentrate on getting the front page listed?
Posted 16 October 2003 - 07:19 AM
It kind of depends upon the content of the subscription site in my mind. You'll want to get some portion of the members area content, or at least a list of the available content out in the public area. Not just for the search engines, but also because people will want to see some examples before they buy.
If the subscriber content is all text, you could always do something like provide an excerpt (first paragraph or two of the articles) in the free area. In this case if you use something akin to a table of contents which links over to individual mini articles it should work pretty well. That approach allows you to get some really focused keywords into the link leading to the mini articles.
If the subscriber content is more graphical in nature you can offer up what are effectively sample pages where several thumbnails of the graphics appear. You'll need to put keyword rich descriptions in there for each thumbnail and to group the samples on each page into loosely related subjects.
Also, it is wise to exclude the spiders from your "members" directory. Not that they can get in anyway, but it's always good to be nice to them and tell them that up front.
You can definitely achieve good rankings for subscription-based sites. It may require you to jump through an extra hoop or two, but you'd need to do that anyway to achieve a good ROI from human visitors anyway.
Posted 16 October 2003 - 08:03 AM
My site is pretty well text based, so that makes it a litte easier to get the keywords in, I guess.
That's a useful tip about letting the crawlers know not to go any further.
Hmm. My forum software also converts a B and a ) into a !
Posted 16 October 2003 - 08:09 AM
I second what Randy has said. You'll want some synopsis pages that describe the subscription content, which can be listed in the search engines.
There are ways to cloak your content so only the search engines can read it without subscribing, but I would highly recommend you stay away from that route.
Posted 17 October 2003 - 06:04 AM
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