Announced in 2008, it lets Google have access to behind-form content—content that lies behind registration forms—and allows these pages to appear in search engine results for relevant queries. Search engine crawlers, that systematically go through sites to index (or inventory) their content, do not automatically try to fill these log-in forms out in order to access the content behind them. As these pages are uncrawlable, First Click Free is the only way to let log-in-only content to be crawled, indexed and thus seen in search results.
First Click Free allows the search engine to index content that would otherwise be inaccessible to crawlers. It prevents Google’s spiders from thinking that your website is devoid of content and therefore not worth ranking at all, and incentivises users to register for paid content from publishers.
If a user sees content on a SERP which is behind a paywall, they can access three such pages per day. This has the benefit of directing new, high-authority websites to a user’s attention, who may then potentially register or subscribe to continue reading further content.
Webmasters and agencies do not need to contact Google to apply First Click Free status to their onsite content, unless it appears in the search engine’s News section.
For more information on First Click Free we would suggest looking at Google’s First Click Free Tutorial.
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