Does Hiding Actual Content with Captchas Impact SEO?
Need to use captchas to prevent content scraping but not sure if it impacts SEO or not? Below is the expert answer.
In adherence to our rigorous editorial policy, this article's content has undergone careful testing for accuracy and trustworthiness and hence, this content is marked source of information. View editorial history of this content.
You might be using captchas to hide content for any or all of the following reasons: –
- to prevent content scraping by bad bots
- to prevent DDOS attack
- to prevent content from problematic networks
It might be protecting your content, however, you may be missing out on SEO rankings.
Based on experience and evidence via authentic resource:
Hiding the content behind captchas is NOT GOOD in SEO perspective. Here is why.
- GoogleBot will index that page but cannot crawl through the content.
- GoogleBot assumes this page is a thin content i-e: nothing but a captcha on it.
- Since it cannot crawl, so don’t expect any rankings.
- If so many pages are getting indexed like this with thin or just captchas, it impacts overall SEO rankings too.
Besides all this above, your website is NOT penalized just for having captcha-driven content, however, you won’t be ranked easily due to inaccessibility to content for algorithms to analyze and rank somewhere.
Wait. It doesn’t mean you should stop using captcha to prevent scraping. Just workaround for GoogleBot (if you’re really concerned with rankings).
Workaround: Serve different version to GoogleBot vs. Users. – This is slightly against Google Policies (falls in cloaking), however, if you do it right, you can still do it. It is confirmed by John Mueller via Google Office Hours SEO Videos (Official Resource).
“From a policy point of view we’re okay with situations where you serve us the full content, and you require a captcha on the user side. If you need to do that slightly differently for Googlebot or maybe other search engines than you would for the average user from our point of view that’s fine.”John Muller, Google Office Hours (Youtube)
So at your website end, if its GoogleBot, don’t serve captcha at all. If any other BOT or user, present the captcha first.
Another similar example is rendering content via edge worker and its impact on SEO.
Digital Setups has enforced a strict sourcing policy. Every content piece published on our website is passed through strict editorial review for contextual correctness, communication ethics, and programmatic tests wherever required. Our team research solutions from only credible, authentic, and trustworthy sources. Learn more about our editorial process.
Based on our editorial policy, we update our content time to time to ensure its usefulness, reliability, and validity.
Our standardized editorial process ensures right, timely, and usefulness updates to our content. Your honest opinion drives significant improvement to our content. We appreciate you are taking time to share that.
Readers who read this also found these helpful:
- Misleading or Clickbait Push Notification Hurts SEO
- Search Console: Fix “LCP issue: longer than 2.5s (mobile)” Issue
- Google Ads: Keyword Planner Tool – Easy & Powerful Guide
- Fixed Error: WordPress XML Declaration Allowed Only Start of Document
- Is it possible to change wp-config.php via functions.php or plugin?
- Create XML Sitemap in WordPress without Plugin
- Search Console: Fix Not Found (404) Errors in Page Indexing
- How to Register Trademark in Pakistan: For SMCs, Entrepreneurs, & Freelancers
- The new and improved Auto ads in AdSense
- Unlock new cross-device capabilities & More with Google Signals