URLs with protected content are still available to be indexed by the search engines, but protected content on that URL can't be accessed or crawled.
How content indexing works
All posts and pages published on your Ghost site are automatically included in your sitemap, regardless of the content access level. This means search engines are able to find and crawl any URLs on your site, and index them at their discretion.
The only thing search engine crawlers won't be able to see is any content which is protected using the members only and paid-members only content access levels.
Protected content in Ghost is fully protected. Logged-out members can't bypass the subscription requirements and since the content is never served on the page unless you're a logged-in member, search engines can't see this content either.
What about SEO?
Posts which are entirely protected are not designed to perform in search. The purpose of protecting content is to make sure it is only available to a logged-in member, giving publishers the ability to grow an audience and build a sustainable business.
If SEO is important to you then you should be publishing public posts that are available for anonymous visitors and search engines to read. There's two ways you can do this in Ghost:
- Publish entire posts using the public content access level
- Publish posts with a mixture of public and protected content, using the public preview divider in the post
Any public content on any URL of your Ghost site is automatically available to be read, crawled and indexed.