New Google Markup Recipe for Paywalled Content

Google has just released a new developer recipe for paywalled content.

In essence, the new markup allows publishers to mark-up page components that require registration or a subscription for access, on the basis of CSS .class selectors.

This is an interesting new usage of schema.org markup. What I find the most remarkable is the following:

  1. Google explicitly says that JSON-LD is the only supported syntax. This is additional support for my prediction that Microdata and RDFa are becoming more and more obsolete, except for the most simplistic of use cases of structured data.
  2. This is the first time schema.org markup is used to steer search engine access to Web content. This is a big step, because in the past, it has been important for Google to promote robots.txt as the one and only directives for what one is allowed to do with your content, basically an all-or-nothing approach: If you are not happy with what Google did with your content, your only choice was using robots.txt to remove it from the index. See here for a few links: http://www.robotstxt.org/faq/legal.html.
  3. My point #2 is in fact a bit too strongly made: In fact, Google has already taken steps to come to more granular agreements with content providers, namely news sites, on what Google is allowed to do with their content:

    But this is the first time schema.org is used to automate that part of the interaction between Google and site content.

  4. It is the first time Google recommends schema.org markup to articulate the legitimate nature of adaptive Weg site behavior and avoid being penalized for “cloaking”.

Links:

  1. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/paywalled-content
  2. https://www.blog.google/topics/journalism-news/driving-future-digital-subscriptions/
  3. http://www.robotstxt.org/faq/legal.html

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