URLs with protected content are 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 an XML 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 that is protected using 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 that are entirely protected are not created 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 with premium content.

If SEO is important, then you should consider a strategy that involves both public and protected content.

There are a few ways you can do this in Ghost:

  1. Publish entire posts using the public content access level
  2. Publish posts with a mixture of public and protected content, using the public preview divider in the post.

Further reading

How to leverage SEO for a membership website
Search engine optimization can work for membership business and newsletters too — here’s how.