If You’ve Received An Error Message From Google, Don’t Panic

Yesterday afternoon Google started sending messages to all WordPress websites warning: “Googlebot cannot access CSS and JS files”. If you received one of these, don’t panic. Your website’s rankings will not be affected.
  • Google are continually adapting how they view websites and which files they need in order to “see” your site properly.
  • Recently Google became more “intrusive” and now would like to see some of these standard .css and .js files that are within those files.

Yesterday afternoon Google started sending messages to all WordPress websites warning: “Googlebot cannot access CSS and JS files”. If you received one of these, don’t panic. Your website’s rankings, as well as the overall user experience, will not be affected.

Google are continually adapting how they view websites and which files they need in order to “see” your site properly. This is part of that process.

The Googlebot already has access to the WordPress theme files that determine how your site looks. Recently, however, it has started placing more emphasis on wanting to look “deeper” into certain kinds of sites. WordPress is one of these.

If you are interested in some of the technical details, here’s what our Head of Development, Mircea, had to say:

The WordPress inner structure has 3 main folders: /wp-admin, /wp-content and /wp-includes. The themes that determine how your site looks and functions are in /wp-content. Googlebot can already see all of this.

The content in the /wp-admin and /wp-includes folders contain the core files of WordPress (Files that should not be tampered with at the risk of losing changes upon updates).

As a feature WordPress by default blocks the access to those core folders with robot.txt. It has always been doing this.

Recently Google became more “intrusive” and now would like to see some of these standard .css and .js files that are within those files.

Since all WordPress websites have the same architecture in terms of files and resources, we don’t anticipate this to make any difference in terms of rankings or traffic.

We are working on an elegant solution to having the specific js and css files index-able without compromising the integrity of WordPress. This should resolve Google’s error message.