Q and A : Can Spiders Crawl Protected Content?


Dear Kalena…

For websites that are subscription based and require a password, does this prevent a spider from being able to crawl the protected content? If yes, what is the best way to get these pages indexed?


Hi Mary,

As a general rule if you can’t get to a particular page on a website without using your keyboard then there is a very good chance that search engine crawlers can’t either. This applies to password protected areas as well as many search based methods of accessing information.

If you have a subscription based or members only area on your site, it will not be crawled by search crawlers and therefore not indexed or displayed in search results. Here is what Google has to say on the topic – Can Google index my password-protected pages?

Depending on your reasons for password protecting the information – one approach you may like to consider would be to provide two versions of the information. One a summary, or abridged version which is available to everyone and the second – a long (complete) version which would require a login. This way the search engines can get to (and index) your “keyword rich” summary.

This type of system has been adopted by Experts Exchange – by making the question readily available to everyone (including search engines) – but requiring you to login as a member to access the answer – e.g. How do I get Rankings in Google.

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

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