It was reported early on October 2 that Google is doing away with the old “first click free” program and replacing it with flexible sampling.  Basically, Publishers are being given more options for allowing search users to access their content without hurting ranking visibility in Google search results.

With this, Google introduced a new paywall structured data element for subscription and paywalled content.

Publishers have been recommended by Google to use this new markup when they are deploying flexible sampling techniques on their websites.  This is going to help Google understand that the publisher isn’t cloaking (this is when sites serve different content to Gogolebot than users) and that isn’t an approved paywall.

Google says, “This structured data helps Google differentiate paywalled content from the practice of cloaking, which violates our guidelines.”

Check out the technical documents on this new structured data element. Also, you can find the help document on the new flexible sampling for webmasters.

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