Your Age Verifier May Be Hurting Your SEO (And What To Do About It)

Here in the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that sites featuring content likely to have strong appeal to minors, or that permit alcohol purchases online, consider use of age-verification technologies. Learn how to identify a "bad" age verifier, and avoid the SEO pitfalls that can come with them.

Here in the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that sites featuring content likely to have strong appeal to minors, or that permit alcohol purchases online, consider use of age-verification technologies. It ensures that no underage users can access the site, which certainly makes sense and seems appropriate. But did you know that not all age verifiers are equal? Choose the wrong one and you could actually block Search Engine Optimization (SEO) crawlers from accessing your site. That’s because these “bad” verifiers generate an independent page that every new visitor is sent to - each and every time, no matter what.


Then, from the perspective of a Google search engine crawler, that independent page is the only page that exists. Simply stated, this type of age verifier makes it impossible for Google to access your website, which means the marketing efforts you’ve worked so hard to create and implement could be all for naught. After all, it doesn’t help to create compelling content if your customer can’t access it. Let’s take a look at what you can do to ensure you meet legal requirements while keeping your site easily accessible.

How to Serve Age Verification

The best way to serve an age verification notice without blocking search engines from crawling your site is to use a JavaScript/CSS overlay. You might know it better as a pop-up box. We highly recommend the Easy Age Verifier, a simple WordPress plugin designed to work out of the box or customized directly through the WordPress Customizer.

By using this plugin, users can complete the necessary information without being sent to a separate page to enter their date of birth. Plus, since Google does not read and index the content of JavaScript, the GoogleBot will bypass the overlay content and crawl the site. Want to see it in action? Visit Dreaming Dog Brewery (must be 21 or older, of course).

Here are some additional features of this tool:

  • User will be denied access to the site if under default age of 21
  • One-button click verification
  • Completely customizable
  • Remembers if a visitor has verified their age in the past, and won’t ask again until they close their web browser

Clearly, the point here is that SEO is one of the most important aspects of your website. Choosing the right plugins or tools to ensure your site’s content is crawlable cannot be overstated, and the Easy Age Verifier is a simple tactic to implement. But, how do you know if the rest of your web page is effective?

We can perform a personalized audit of your website and identify any gaps or potential pitfalls to avoid. Many well-intentioned brewery owners simply overlook or mistakenly undervalue key aspects of a successful website. Because we only partner with breweries, we have unique insight into what works and what doesn’t, and we understand what it takes to stand out from the crowd and engage new and existing customers.

By performing an audit, we can provide specific and direct feedback to ensure your page is easy to find and even easier to navigate. Consider scheduling an appointment with us to learn more about improving your web presence. After all, your passion is for brewing beer – ours is helping with the rest.