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I want to ask visitors for email address to access certain content, but I also want search engines to index the content for visitors to be able to find it through search engines.

So I cannot redirect to a page where visitors first enter their email address, because that would stop the indexing robots.

I could load the page and then throw up an overlay after a second that asks for the email address. Would that be "SEO ok", or is there another more approved approach?

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    Google, albeit currently failing at the task, is looking for such pop-ups citing user experience (UX) as the reason. It is the view by Google that such pop-ups are annoying and they are right. For this reason, Google has at times been aggressive against such techniques. I, for one, can tell you that I leave almost every site that requests my e-mail in such a manner. This is a bounce when searching and a knock on the sites performance. Opinion aside, if you were to request or require such a personal intrusion prior to viewing content, you run the risk of losing in the end. Cheers!! – closetnoc Jun 18 '16 at 15:56
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In my honest opinion, that would be a very aggressive way to collect user emails and won't even serve the purpose you're looking for in the long run (they would temporarily feed in the email to access the content but later unsubscribe)

Such overlays are also bad for ultimate UX since it's nothing short of forcing people to part their emails to read your content. Google appreciate websites that provide a good user experience and anything that goes against it would quite likely go against Google as well.

Remove the overlay and keep a prominent non-enforcing email subscription box on your pages for the users to subscribe. For effective email marketing, you need users who voluntarily give away their emails, not being forced to do so.

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Google requires that any content that it indexes be available to searchers under their first click free policy.

You may require that users give you their email address, but only after allowing them to view one page of content hassle free when coming from a Google search.

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I'm going to guess you're going to need more than an email address in the future from several guests.

What I would suggest then is to create a separate registration page where users can enter their email address and password to register for an account on the site then later users can change their preferences as to what can be mailed to them and they can optionally remove their account.

This registration page as well as a login page can be accessible from the home page, but it shouldn't be indexable by a web crawler since they don't really offer any valuable content.

Only way a registration page should be indexable is if you intend to write a whole article on the benefits of registering as well as what users can still enjoy if they don't register.

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