SEO impact of requiring all users to log in to read posts.

Baron

Member
One issue I've noticed with the ignore/block system is that some of my more psycho members will log out to read what's been said about them once they've found that they have been ignored or blocked by another user. Since we currently don't require users to be logged in just to read our forums, this workaround technically works for the psychos. Are there any SEO or site traffic downsides to locking down the readability of the site for other types of unregistered users like first-time visitors and bots? (We do have the XML sitemap being generated, just FYI.)

I guess my concern is that if I prevent unregistered users from being able to read the site, I'm fixing the problem with current members logging out to read posts that they couldn't do otherwise since they are being ignored/blocked, but am I creating other more substantial problems?
 

bzcomputers

Well-known member
...am I creating other more substantial problems?
Yes.
  1. Search engines need their bots to be able to crawl/read a page in order for the page to be added to their search rankings. There are ways around this for some of the major search engines by giving the bots login credentials, but this is another step and you will never be able to do it for all the search engines that exist. There are no ways around it, you will lose organic traffic because of this.
  2. You will miss out on guests sharing links. Some people are just lookers and have no desire to create an account and post but do benefit from the information provided by forums and at times share this with others. You will no longer be getting any linkbacks posted by guests, since they will no longer be able to see the site information. You will lose both referral and social media traffic because of this.
Changing how your site operates for members that can't get along is not the way to go.
 

Mendalla

Well-known member
The one thing I do is have the site's "business" forum invisible to people who aren't logged in. As long as we keep discussions and announcements about user discipline in there, only logged-in members see it. But blocking visitors from the entire site seems counterproductive if you actually want to attract new members. Basically, you end up creating a closed site that no one can check out with taking the step of signing up. And that may be desirable in some circumstances but you'd have to weigh if it is for you.
 

Rhody

Well-known member
I do the same as Mendalla, having a mix of public sections that get indexed and private sections that require registration. (and some private ones that require manual registration, too) If it was all private, you would barely exist on Google :(
 

Alpha1

Well-known member
Maybe address the issue of problematic members directly. For example by removing logout for those. Or warning and banning the most problematic ones.
 

Baron

Member
But why do members who ignore others keep talking about it? It's quite paradoxical, if I ignore someone I don't talk about it either...
The issue isn't with the person who is doing the ignoring. It's got to do with the person that finds out that he has been ignored. Since he can't see the posts of the person that ignored him, the curiosity eats him up if anything is being said about him so he logs out and then revisits the thread as an unregistered user so he can read every post.
 

nicodak

Well-known member
But when we ignore a member we no longer see his messages but that does not prevent the ignored from seeing the messages of the one who ignores him, he does not need to disconnect to read them. Or am I misunderstanding the problem?
 

Baron

Member
We have a block add-on that enables Member A to ignore Member B but it also prevents Member B from seeing the posts Member A as well. Hopefully that clears up any confusion.
 

nicodak

Well-known member
but it also prevents Member B from seeing the posts Member A as well
Inefficient as you are about to see since it suffices to disconnect to circumvent this prohibition.
I think it would be a shame to change the entire philosophy of your forum (by preventing guests from seeing your content) for a few members who cause problems among themselves.
 
Top