Googlebot Cannot Access CSS and JS Files

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Many website owners have recently received an email from Google with the title, "Googlebot cannot access CSS and JS files".

It doesn't matter whether you're running WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or another platform entirely. Google has sent these emails to 100,000's of sites.

I'm going explain the issue that Google is complaining and how you can resolve it.

What is the email that Google is sending out?

Google Webmaster Tools has been sending out this notification to sites:

Google systems have recently detected an issue with your homepage that affects how well our algorithms render and index your content. Specifically, Googlebot cannot access your JavaScript and/or CSS files because of restrictions in your robots.txt file. These files help Google understand that your website works properly so blocking access to these assets can result in suboptimal rankings.

Here's what the email looks like:

googlebot-css-js

What does the message mean?

This message is all about Google's new focus on responsive design.

Your robots.txt file is telling Google not to use some of your CSS and/or Javascript files.

Google now needs these files to test your site for mobile friendliness. Without them, your ranking will go down. We covered almost exactly the same problem back in April during Google's "Mobile Armageddon".

What is the solution?

Go to Google's Mobile-Friendly Test and check your site. Here's a screenshot of a site that's received Google's e-mail.

Thankfully, Google's tester is very informative and points out the exact issue for this particular site. It's that the robots.txt file is blocking Google from accessing the resources it needs.

You can find the exact resources that are blocked by Google by clicking on the "Show resources" link on the right-hand-side of Google's tester Compare the files there to your robots.txt to determine what needs unblocking.

Googlebot Cannot Access CSS and JS Files

How to fix the problem

The solution will depend on the CMS you use, because each platform stores CSS and Javascript files in different locations.

Test your site again

After saving your robots.txt file, go back to Google's tester and run another test. If Google shows that your site is mobile-friendly, you've likely fixed the problem.

 


About the author

Nick is the Director of Support at OSTraining and you can find him in almost every area of the site, from answering support requests and account questions to creating tutorials and software.