Google Says Blocking Certain External Resources is Okay


In a current JavaScript search engine optimisation Workplace Hours, Google’s Martin Splitt answered a query about blocking exterior JS and CSS assets. The query was whether or not blocking the assets would trigger a web site to lose rankings.

There was nevertheless, a wrinkle within the query that was requested…

Blocked JavaScript and CSS Can Have an effect on Rankings

Blocking JavaScript and CSS recordsdata could be trigger rating points in sure conditions. One purpose is as a result of Google wants a few of these recordsdata with a view to render the the online web page and decide whether it is cellular pleasant.

An official Google’s developer web page says this: 

“For optimum rendering and indexing, at all times permit Googlebot entry to the JavaScript, CSS, and picture recordsdata utilized by your web site in order that Googlebot can see your web site like a median person.

In case your web site’s robots.txt file disallows crawling of those property, it instantly harms how effectively our algorithms render and index your content material. This may end up in suboptimal rankings.”

Blocking Exterior JavaScript and CSS

The particular person asking the query has a legitimate purpose to be involved about how Google may react about blocking exterior assets.

The query:

“In the event you use robots.txt to dam JS or CSS on exterior JS recordsdata/CSS recordsdata in different area or if different area blocks them, so the person will see various things than Googlebot, proper?

Would Google mistrust this sort of web page and downrank them?”

Google’s Martin Splitt answered confidently:

“No, we received’t downrank something. It’s not cloaking. Cloaking very particularly means deceptive the person.

Simply because we will’t see content material doesn’t essentially imply that you simply’re deceptive the person.”

Cloaking is a trick that spammers use to indicate one set of content material to Google with a view to trick Google into rating it and present a very completely different internet web page to customers, like a virus or spam laden internet web page.

Cloaking can also be a solution to maintain Google from crawling URLs publishers don’t need Google to see, like affiliate hyperlinks.

Martin’s reply is coming from the route of whether or not blocking exterior assets shall be seen as cloaking and his reply isn’t any.

How Blocking Exterior Sources Can Be Problematic

Martin then goes on to explain how blocking exterior assets can turn out to be a problem:

“It’s nonetheless probably problematic in case your content material solely reveals up once we can fetch these assets and we don’t see the content material within the rendered HTML as a result of it’s blocked by robots.txt.

Then we will’t index it. If there’s content material lacking, we will’t index that.”

Google’s Testing Instruments Will Reveal Issues

Martin then goes on to indicate how a writer can diagnose whether or not blocking assets is problematic.

“So it’s undoubtedly price making an attempt out our testing instruments to see if the content material that you really want use to see on the web page is definitely seen on the web page despite the fact that some JavaScript or CSS assets could be robotted.

However typically talking, robotting JavaScript or CSS assets isn’t per se an issue. It may be an issue if we will’t see the content material however it’s high-quality from the standpoint of cloaking, it’s not cloaking.”

He additional clarified:

“If the content material is loaded by JavaScript and we will’t load that JavaScript as a result of it’s robotted, we’re not going to see it and that’s probably problematic. But when it’s an enhancement like a chat field or a remark widget… then that isn’t a problem.”

The Writer Requested a Trick Query

That’s an attention-grabbing reply that it’s okay to dam exterior assets related to a chat field or a remark widget. It might be helpful to dam these assets for instance if it helps velocity up the positioning rendering for Google, however…

However there’s a slight wrinkle to the query that was requested:  You’ll be able to’t block exterior assets (on one other area) utilizing robots.txt.

The unique query was a two-parter.

That is the problematic first half:

“In the event you use robots.txt to dam JS or CSS on exterior JS recordsdata/CSS recordsdata in different area…”

That a part of the query is inconceivable to perform with Robots.txt.

Google’s builders web page mentions this subject a couple of robots.txt:

“It’s legitimate for all recordsdata in all subdirectories on the identical host, protocol and port quantity.”

What was neglected about that query is {that a} robots.txt solely makes use of relative URLs, not absolute URLs (aside from the placement of a web site map).

A relative URL signifies that the URL is “relative” to the web page with the hyperlink.

On an HTACCESS file all of the URLs seem like this:


And that is what an absolute URL appears like:

So, in case you can’t use an absolute URL within the robots.txt then you possibly can’t block an exterior useful resource with a robots.txt.

The second a part of the query is technically right:

“…or if different area blocks them, so the person will see various things than Googlebot, proper? Would Google mistrust this sort of web page and down rank them?”

Exterior assets are sometimes blocked by the opposite websites. So the query and reply makes extra sense from that route.

Martin Splitt mentioned that blocking these exterior assets will not be cloaking. That assertion is true in case you don’t use Robots.txt.

That’s what in all probability what Martin was referring to however…

However the query was particularly about robots.txt.

In the true world, if one needs to dam exterior assets with a robots.txt, then one wants to make use of cloaking.

Watch the Google JavaScript search engine optimisation Workplace Hours right here:


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