How to fix blocked external resources in the robots.txt file

External resources (including CSS, Java scripts, picture files, etc.) are hosted on an external domain that has been specifically disallowed from crawling via a “Disallow” directive in an external robots.txt file. Disallowing these files prevents search engines from accessing them, and your pages might not display correctly or be indexed properly. As a result, it’s possible that your Google ranking could suffer. 

Let’s take a look at how to fix blocked external resources in the robots.txt file and how they could affect rankings.

Why the robots.txt file is used

To prevent web crawlers from overloading your site or indexing sensitive information, you can use a robots.txt file. By using robots.txt to prevent Googlebot from accessing some URLs, you may redirect more of your crawl budget to more important pages.

You may want Google to filter out some files, such as PDFs, videos, and photos. It’s understandable if you’d rather keep such data out of the public eye or at least have Google prioritize other materials. If that’s the case, you should avoid having them indexed by using the robots.txt file.

Do blocked external resources affect rankings?

In some situations, preventing access to external resources can lead to issues with the rankings. One of the reasons is that Google needs these external files to render the website and assess whether or not it is mobile-friendly. According to Google’s developer, it’s imperative to allow Googlebot access to external resources utilized by your website to achieve efficient rendering and indexing. This will allow Googlebot to view your site in the same manner as a typical user.

In addition, if the robots.txt on your website prevents crawlers from accessing certain assets, the quality of the rendering and indexing of your content will suffer as a direct result. This can also lead to suboptimal rankings.

How to fix blocked external resources in the robots.txt file?      

The idea of blocking crawlers from accessing external resources may sound reasonable. However, keep in mind that for Googlebot to see your HTML and PHP pages correctly it needs access to some external resources such as CSS and JS. Check to determine if you are preventing crawlers from accessing these necessary external files. If the behavior of your pages in Google’s search results seems strange or if it seems as though Google is not viewing them correctly that could be the case.

A straightforward solution for resolving this issue is removing the code line in your robots.txt file blocking access. If there are files that you need to block, you can write an exception that will restore access to the required JavaScript and CSS.

If blocked resources are located on an external website that has a significant impact on your website, that’s another matter. You’ll need to get in touch with the owner of the external website and request that they modify the robots.txt file on their server. However, this is really only needed if the blocked resources are negatively impacting the SEO or crucial for your website in some way.

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