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Are Blocked Resources Harmful?

     
6:43 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I seem to recall that some time ago MC advised it's best to let Google crawl all the scripts, images etc and to keep "Blocked Resources" (reported in GSC) to a minimum or none at all.

I've adopted the attitude that if Google thinks its necessary to report Blocked Resources, then they must be attaching some importance to it. Perhaps an over-simplification but "no blocked resources = good.... blocked resources = not so good"

However, I'm finding that some widgets such as third party search boxes come with code that triggers blocked content ( we can skip the reason why).

Does Blocked Resources on a page justify setting "no index: no follow" to prevent Google from finding the problem code or can we just ignore the Blocked Resources as being of no harmful consequence?
5:53 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've never seen anything bad that could be attributed to 'blocked resources'. I believe Google's intention is to:

- Make sure Google can discover content that relies on JS or CSS to be displayed
- Better evaluate page layout
- Catch anyone using sneaky tricks to hide content

Unless one of the above applies, I can't really see how this matters - particularly when these are third party resources, as you say. Google even have blocked resources on their own site:

[google.co.uk...]

I think this comes down to Google alerting people that they have potential blocked something useful, rather than it being"bad" to have anything blocked. If your page looks the same for Google in their fetch/render tool as it does for users, I think you can just ignore it.
6:48 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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In the results of Fetch as Google using "Fetch and Render" it shows you just what was blocked and lists its "importance" which helps. It shows their own AdSesnse .js scripts as being blocked for example, with a value of "Low". I do not worry about things being blocked on other websites, third party scripts in particular.

I agree that GSC makes the information available to you so that you can decide to allow crawling - or not - based on its importance and your knowledge of how/why it is blocked. They complain that I won't let them crawl captcha scripts and traps for example. Nope, nunya business.
6:54 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If your page looks the same for Google in their fetch/render tool as it does for users, I think you can just ignore it
That's a valid point. That's what I believe too when I have no control over 3rd party widgets, tracking scripts/pixels or any other resources on my site that don't make any change to my content on the page.
7:42 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The blocked resources aspect only applies to resources that you directly control. You'll notice that many third party vendors will block access to bots, googleadservices included. Third parties have no weight on the respect given to your domain. From my understanding of the announcement, the intent around blocking a resource needs to be taken into consideration: Are you blocking in an attempt to cloak or are you blocking to prevent bots from having a hey-day in your assets. If it's the latter then I would look into ways to optimize the delivery of these so that you are comfortable allowing them to be opened up.
1:18 am on May 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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We have a small 'sponsored ad' panel added by AJAX at the very bottom of some long pages after page load. (It's done that way to reduce the perceived page load time as the ad panels can be quite resource-hungry to load). We then include the AJAX URLs in robots to ensure Google doesn't try to index these pages. However, Google lists the AJAX URLs of these ad panels in the list of blocked resources with a 'medium' importance. There is a difference in the fetch and render with and without the blocked resource; one shows the ad panel at the very bottom, the other doesn't.

Does anyone have any views on if this matters? MY concern is this may look to Google like we're trying to hide ads from them, but we're not.
2:46 pm on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've just realized 'ad blockers' block..... images that have 'google' or 'social' keywords in them. Like: google-graph.jpg or social-justice.png etc. Now I have no remorse blocking all users who use adblockers and censor the content of web pages.
3:39 pm on May 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I just asked John Mueller about this on today's Webmaster Hangout. He said that blocked resources are generally nothing to worry about and won't incur any kind of penalty. They're there to let webmasters know that Google might not be looking at your site correctly, rather than to advise of imminent penalty. Low and medium severity are certainly nothing to worry about. However, if you have a high severity blocked resource where you're hiding something major on the page, e.g. a full screen overlay, then that may result in penalisation, but that sort of thing would be rare. So unless you're doing something manipulative, the advice seems to be to not worry about this.
 

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