Barry Adams, independent SEO consultant, is a self-described “old dinosaur of the industry”, having started doing SEO as a hobby for his own websites in 1998 before specializing in the subject after moving to Northern Ireland and working at The Belfast Telegraph in-house, opening his eyes to SEO for news publishers. In 2016 he was approached by The Sun to help with their relaunch, which led on to other work in the industry, including with News Corp’s Fox News, Daily Mail, The Guardian, Euronews and Politico. His newsletter, SEO for Google news, is a brilliant resource for anyone working on the subject.
TL;DR: a paywall in and of itself, if implemented properly, doesn’t hurt your immediate rankings in Google’s news ecosystem. And, ultimately, everything Barry said reflects the best practices that publishers should be putting in place for their subscription model anyway. Having quality content, making sure you’re teasing with enough engaging articles, but also blocking the good stuff that gives a reader a reason to subscribe. Which suggests that SEO and subscription can work really well together.
Is the whole question of SEO very different for publishers depending on whether they have a paywall or not?