Lauren Bates

First of all, let’s define what a gated page is. The easy answer? Anything behind a form. This could be an exclusive sale, a webinar, a case study… the list goes on and on. Gated pages require a user to give in order to receive. In other words, when the user gets to the intended landing page, there is a form that pops over the landing page. This disables the user from getting to the page without supplying the requested information. Typically this request is for your name and email address.

But the ultimate question remains – to gate or not to gate? Many believe that gating content pages is a necessary evil. Putting high-value content behind an opt-in form on the landing page is a widely accepted practice. However, many believe content should be freely accessible due to more downloads and better brand perception. Let’s discuss.

In defense of the Ungated. There are a lot of things that people believe should be ungated: blogs, a company’s general products and services, and (most) videos. In addition, making content easily available means there is a greater chance that people will share it.

But the main argument lies in SEO traffic. Ungated pages are able to be crawled by spiders, whereas gated pages are not. This allows more exposure in search engines because more keywords can be indexed.

Gated, because it’s personal. Any details of an organization’s products: webinars, case studies, eBooks, free product trials, and demos should be gated. A common argument here is that a potential customer is more than just an onlooker, and will readily give their information to further communication. Many believe leads that come through gated content are more likely to be qualified lead gen opportunities.

And then there is the search piece. Search engine spiders won’t fill out forms because they can’t. After all, they are not people. So, when a spider hits a gated page, they move on. Leaving anything behind the popover form unindexed.

Really, it comes down to opportunity cost. Content has to be considered highly valuable in order for someone to disclose their personal information.

When choosing whether or not to gate your content, keep these three things in mind:

  • What is the content’s purpose?
  • How will you be promoting the content?
  • What is the value of the content?

If you know those three things, deciding which content or pages to gate (or not), should be painless.

Overall, your company should use a little of both. Ungated content like blogs are great for SEO purposes. Gated content is great for lead generation! Tada! Best of both worlds.