One SEO professional asked John Mueller about age interstitials and how they could impact crawling and indexing.
Their question is: if a website requires users to verify their age before showing any content, by clicking a button to continue, is it possible that Google could have problems crawling the site?
If so, are there any guidelines around how to handle this?
John explained that depending on the way that this is configured, yes, it’s possible there may be issues surrounding crawling the site.
In particular, Googlebot does not click on any buttons on the page. So it’s not like Google would be able to navigate through an interstitial such as this, if there is a legal interstitial for example.
And especially if it’s something that requires age verification, then people have to enter something and click on a Next button.
Googlebot won’t really know what to do with these types of form fields. That means if this interstitial is blocking the loading of any other content, then that would block crawling and indexing also.
One simple way to test this is just to search for some of the content that’s behind the interstitial. If you can find the content on Google, then that probably means that they were able to actually find this content.
From a technical point of view, what you do need to watch out for is that Google is able to load the normal content of the page.
But, Google needs to be able to load the rest of the page also. This is the most important part here.
And that also means that if you’re using some sort of redirect to a temporary URL, and then redirecting back to your page, that won’t work.
It’s not something that Google would consider to be cloaking, because the content is still being loaded there.
This happens at approximately the 08:20 mark in the video.