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Paywalled Content and SEO considerations for Publishers

SEO impact, Paywall search index

Paywalled Content, SEO impact, and Paywall search index

Publishers signing up to Pico and moving their content behind paywalls and plans should not be concerned that their content will automatically take an SEO hit because of the presence of a paywall – but there are additional concerns / setup they should be aware of.

Paywalled content is premium content, with a potentially significant boost to SEO, if the website and paywalled content are set up correctly, adhering to SEO guidelines/ best practices.

Google recommends using “structured data” for paywalled content:

There are (3) types of structured data:

  • MicroData (HTML based)
  • RFDa (HTML based)
  • JSON-LD (Java Script based)

JSON-LD is preferred because it is easier and less invasive from a “markup” perspective.

Structured data increases the chances that search engines will display additional data on results pages via “rich snippets”. To implement, you need to add into the markup of your content certain additional tags, or a “scheme” that describe the content to search engines. Schemes use the vocabulary established at

Google provides a validation tool for testing your structured data:

The Wordpress community has excellent plugins that insert structured data automatically for bloggers. Here’s a great example:

For paywalled content, extra work is needed to indicate teaser content. Here’s an example of how to do that: