Google’s Rich Results Test Tool Expands to Include Paywalled Content

2 min read

Google Introduces Paywall Markup Validation in the Rich Results Test Tool, Aiding Publishers in Defining Protected Content
Google has integrated the ability to validate paywall markup within its Rich Results Test tool.
Publishers can employ structured data to specify content concealed behind a paywall.
It’s important to note that while adding this markup offers clarity, it doesn’t guarantee that Google will display paywalled content.


Google Unveils Enhanced Rich Results Test Tool for Validating Paywall Content Markup

Google has introduced an update to the Rich Results Test tool, enabling users to validate structured data markup for paywalled content.
This fresh capability is designed to assist publishers in accurately marking subscription-based content on their websites.
The enhancement aligns with Google’s ongoing efforts to refine its approach to indexing and presenting paywalled content in search results.
While Google seeks to guide users to pertinent paywalled articles, it also aims to deter practices such as “cloaking,” where websites display different content to users compared to what is presented to Google.


Implementing Paywall Structured Data Markup


According to Google’s assistance documentation, publishers are advised to incorporate JSON-LD or microdata to label each paywalled segment with markup, such as:
htmlCopy code
<div class=”paywall”>This content requires a subscription.</div>
The markup subsequently designates the div element as non-free access using the following structure:
jsonCopy code
“hasPart”: { “@type”: “WebPageElement,” “isAccessibleForFree”: “False,” “cssSelector”:”.paywall” }
With the latest update, the Google Rich Results Test tool can now validate the correct implementation of these paywall markup schemes.


Details of Paywall Structured Data


The new validation support pertains explicitly to the “isAccessibleForFree” and “cssSelector” properties recommended by Google.
This markup applies to various content types, including articles, blog posts, courses, reviews, messages, and other CreativeWork categories.
For webpages featuring multiple paywalled segments, publishers can specify various “cssSelector” values within an array.
Google’s documentation includes examples for both single and multi-paywall implementations.
These developments follow concerns raised by publishers regarding Google products like Search and the AI chatbot Bard, which have presented paywalled content without adequate compensation.
Incorporating appropriate markup is one proactive measure publishers can employ to clarify the restricted content behind a paywall.
Google emphasizes that merely incorporating structured data does not assure the appearance of paywalled content in search results or AI-generated summaries. Additional variables, such as website crawlability and indexation, can significantly influence Google’s decision to present specific pages.


Concluding Remarks


Implementing paywall markup may only resolve some challenges related to Google’s use of paid content. Nevertheless, structured data enhances transparency, benefiting both publishers and Google.
Google provides troubleshooting tips for publishers encountering difficulties implementing the markup in its official help documentation.

If you still find it challenging and perplexing, consider exploring our monthly SEO packages and entrust the task to our industry experts.

Shilpi Mathur
[email protected]