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I'm building a member based social network that requires users to be logged in to view content, in addition to that the content feeds (blogs, forum posts, comments, etc) are being stored in a database. Will google be able to spider this site for key words? If not then what do I need to do for them to be able to spider it? If someone could link me to a descriptive article that'd be awesome because I'm not getting much info from google and google searches.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 29 '11 at 19:26

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you make content available to Google but not available to users who are not logged in then you are violating Google's terms of service. The result of this is your pages been removed from their index or your site being blacklisted.

The closest you can come to this is to do what is called "first page free" where you allow Google, and anyone coming from Google to view that content without being logged in. Experts-exchange.com is an example of a website that currently does this. If they want to see more content then they need to login. Of course, they can work around this by continually coming to the pages they want to view from Google's search results.

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That's a great answer, good to know. Would you be able to point me in the direction of how to go about making a "first page free site" such as a tutorial or article on its structure? A google search just gave me pages and pages of stuff on how to get to the first page of google search :/ – Nathan Aug 29 '11 at 17:32
I don't know of any tutorials, but if you look at the referrer of visitors to those pages you can see if they came from Google or not. If they did then you can let them see that one page. Since you won't do any authentication when they try to view another page they will be rejected and you can offer them a chance to sign up. – John Conde Aug 29 '11 at 17:43
hmm, this is mostly to keep spammers off the site, would there be an easier way, like say to make content available to guests, but not allowing them to post anything, etc without joining? – Nathan Aug 29 '11 at 17:45
Sure. When someone comes from Google remove any input fields or make it if they click on them they are taken to a sign up or sign in page. – John Conde Aug 29 '11 at 17:50

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