This post covers the SEO & marketing strategies around how you should protect content with WordPress.
A few days ago someone asked me a good question about SEO. When they have premium content is it best to de-index the page or to use a membership to control access?
I do have an SEO question. I've got a free 10-part marketing course. People sign up on the email list and the autoresponder sends them a lesson each week.
My means of protecting the content is to make each page an un-linked stand-alone page. But then Google can't search it.
And what's interesting to me about this question is that I did this exact thing with Lift Off Summit a few months ago. And I did it because it's free & easy:
- I created a page
- I de-indexed the page
- I emailed all customers the link to the page
And… it did work. The pages are hidden so you have to purchase to get the links & even if someone shares the pages on social media they still won't be picked up in Google (because the page is de-indexed).
But I realize that I missed out on an opportunity. Actually two opportunities.
Missing Free SEO
The first is an SEO component. Even though I didn't want people to share these hidden pages they did. And I missed out on that SEO benefit. The pages they linked were deindexed so it doesn't help my site.
I could rank a little higher if I let those pages were indexed. It's kind of like paying for something. Getting a few quarters of change and throwing them away. Why waste something that's free?
Missing an Upsell Opportunity
The second opportunity missed is a way to sell someone. Since people are sharing these links I could have used a membership system to conditionally display content. Ex.
If you purchased the content you should see the unlocked content.
If you didn't purchase the content you should see a teaser. Since my content is primarily videos it would be really easy to make a preview video to encourage the user to buy the content.
I'm disappointed by the missed marketing opportunities. Some membership plugins are free and the one I really like (WooCommerce Memberships) is only $150. For $150 I bet I could upsell another customer or two and have the plugin pay for itself.
So you can make the same mistake I did and de-index pages or you can find a membership plugin, have a nicer user experience, make a bit more money, and not have to worry about SEO issues.