Search engines and SEO
Locksmith works hard to fully protect anything you lock, in as many ways as possible. This includes deep protection of meta content - the content that's read by search engines and other computerized agents.
By default, Locksmith automatically adds the following robots meta tag for locked content, unless manual locking is enabled:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
This means that search engines will be prevented from indexing all of your locked content, except for locked content that's available via manual mode.
Many lock types support an extra advanced setting, called "Hide product from sitemaps". Enable this setting to have Locksmith ask Shopify to exclude your locked resource from sitemaps, and from storefront searches.
This setting is not strictly necessary for hiding your content from search engines, because Locksmith already includes the "noindex" tag described above. However, this setting can be useful to more completely signal your intent to search engines.
Enabling this setting creates a metafield, which is maintained but not owned by Locksmith. If you remove Locksmith from your list of installed apps, Locksmith will not be authorized to remove this metafield for you. In this scenario, any locked resources with this setting enabled will still be excluded from sitemaps, and from storefront searches.
If you need to remove Locksmith from your list of installed apps, make sure to remove Locksmith completely from your theme beforehand.
In Locksmith v4 and above, Locksmith hides the following meta tags for your content, so long as you've enabled the lock option for hiding the lock's resource in your shop:
- Open Graph:
Regardless of whether or not lock resource hiding is enabled, Locksmith will always protect these meta tags for locked content:
- Open Graph:
Location and IP address keys
It is important to know that content protected under these key types will not be indexed properly, when used normally. This is because of Google's rules against cloaking. That is to say - we are not allowed to show different content to a search engine vs a regular visitor, as per Google regulations.
If you are using Location or IP address keys, and you still want your content to be indexed, you still have options!
If you have specific products that are not available in certain countries: You'll need to use manual locking to hide only the add-to-cart button. More info on that here.
If you have different versions for different countries: You can create separate versions of your products using variants, and setting up Locksmith to hide the variants depending on who is visiting. More info on that here.
Wondering how else Locksmith affects SEO?
Locksmith doesn’t distinguish between a regular visitor and a search engine, so anything that is blocked for a regular non-signed-in visitor will also be blocked to search engines.
With that in mind, here are a few of the common questions related to this:
"I want to make sure that Locksmith is blocking access to search engines, and that my locked pages won’t be indexed by search engines”
Locksmith does this automatically by default. As long as you have a regular, full page (non-manual) lock, your content will be hidden from search engines.
“I want to lock content but I still want potential customers to find my products using search engines”
Since any locked content will be hidden from search engines, your option here is to do manual locking. Using manual locking, you can specify certain content to be locked on pages (instead of the whole page). We have a guide on manual locking here. Here are a few examples of how you could manage that:
- Metadata - you can hide certain parts of the page but leave the metadata unlocked. This is what search engines use to index your pages anyway. So leaving this unlocked would be an effective way to allow your pages to be searchable. More information from Shopify about Metadata here.
- “Add to Cart” button - this would prevent people from buying the product unless they have access, but they would still be able to see all the information about the product.
- Prices - You can hide the price while leaving all other information visible. This is usually done along with the “Add to Cart” button. Our guide on price hiding is here.