I’ve been in the web development business for roughly 13 years now. In that time frame, search engines have become far more sophisticated with their use of technology in determining page ranking results. It use to be that you could just create a website, submit the site into a web directory, and then see it at the top of the search results. Those days have obviously passed. One thing I’m certain about though is that the basic procedures still apply when doing SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Many SocialEngine users hide their content for only “registered” users to view. Now depending on the circumstances and your type of website, this may work well. However, I’d just like you to note that whatever your visitors don’t see, the same will apply for search engines. Hiding pages from your visitors will prevent search engine bots/spiders from accessing and indexing your content. The result, less traffic coming in from search engines.
Now I completely understand the reasoning behind hiding content for visitors. The #1 reason being is that you want these visitors to “convert” into registered users. However, this doesn’t necessarily benefit your community. It may increase your registration rates, but not your “user activity” – which in my opinion is far more important than inactive users.
Always keep in mind that your content is the selling point of your website. It’s your product. It’s how you draw your “customers” or in this case, members in. Hiding it will most likely deter users from registering because they will not know what your website is about without seeing the content.