First Click Free

The First Click Free tool enables Google Bots to crawl and index content within forms, mainly on a subscription or registration-only sites (i.e. those with paywalls) such as The Times and The New York Times.

Since its implementation in 2008, it has allowed Google to access information buried in registration forms so that relevant search results can be displayed in search results. When search engines crawl a website to index its contents, they don’t try to fill in these log-in forms automatically so that they can access the content. Due to the fact that these pages cannot be crawled, First Click Free is the only method by which these pages can be crawled, indexed, and subsequently found by search engines.

The access agreement between Google and publishers, First Click Free, enables search engines to index content that would otherwise not be crawled. In this way, Google’s spiders are not led to believe your site is empty of content, which incentivizes users to subscribe to paid content.

An individual can view three paywall pages every day if they see content on a SERP that’s behind a paywall. The benefit is that users are linked to new, authoritative websites that they may register with or subscribe to if they wish to read further.

In order to apply for First Click Free status, webmasters and agencies do not need to get in touch with Google, except if it appears under the News section of the search engine.

Implementation Suggestions
Our crawler must have access to your site’s restricted content in order to include it in Google’s search index. You should be aware that Googlebot can’t access web pages behind a login or registration form. When Googlebot requests a document via the IP address or user agent, your website should serve the full text of that document. You need to ensure that Googlebot can access these URLs in your robots.txt file as well.

You must check the ” Referer ” HTTP request-header field when users click on an organic Google search result to access your content. Google domains, such as www.google.com and www.google.de, require that the full-text version of the page will be displayed instead of the protected version. This type of behavior can usually be implemented by most web servers.

First Click Free can be implemented by any webmaster following these guidelines:

  • The full text of the content that they’re trying to access should be available to any user who clicks a Google search result to get to your site.
  • You must display the same content to all Googlebot visitors as you display to all other visitors.
  • A user must be able to read the entire article when they click on a multi-page article. Rather than displaying everything on one page, you could display it on Googlebot and users’ own pages. Alternatively, you could use cookies to control whether the user is asked for registration or payment until they have visited all the pages of a multi-page article.

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