This Week In SEO 21
Googlebot, Social Media, SEO Mistakes, and More  

Each week we bring the the most important news and the best tips in SEO.  This week, we take on Googlebot being unable to access CSS or JS (and how to fix it), using social media for link outreach, 8 common SEO mistakes, more local pack news, and how Google could rig the 2016 election.

This week’s quick SEO tip is an instruction video on how to edit your WordPress site’s Robots.txt file (read the first story, below, to see why this is so relevant).

It’s a long video that really dives into Robots.txt file (if you’re curious), but the first minute or two gives you the info you need to know to edit your Robots.txt file…


Googlebot can’t access CSS or JS

This story is from the end of July, but we didn’t cover it that week.  For the weekly SEO updates we publish here, I do my best to have every article/news item/tip come from the week before the update goes live.  For this story, I am including it here because I’ve heard from several people still receiving these warnings, so I know this is an ongoing issue, and still relevant.

Lots and lots of people are getting “Googlebot can’t access CSS or JS files” that looks like this:


This is not a penalty notification, but a warning that if Google cannot see your whole site, it may result in poorer rankings.

If you get this message, talk to your developers and discuss what you can do, if you need to do anything. Use the fetch and render tool to diagnosis the issue deeper as well.

Update: I should add, that many many WordPress sites are getting this notification because their /wp-includes/ folder is blocked by robots.txt. Plus there are many popular CMS solutions that block their include files by default.

Lucky for you, there’s a pretty easy fix for this if your site has been affected.  The video at the top of this post shows you how to edit your robots.txt file, which is what you’ll need to do to easily fix this.

As reported in this update, you need to add this (or have your developer add this) to your robots.txt file.

User-Agent: Googlebot
Allow: .js
Allow: .css


How to Leverage Social Media for SEO

This was an interesting look not at how to rank better by getting more likes and shares, but in how to reach out to link prospects to try and get a link (if that’s something you’re into).  With SEO, it’s good to try several different things, so I think this is worth a read.

One of the great advantages of doing link building with Google+ is its versatile built-in outreach engine.

Once you have an outreach Circle, you can choose to share an update specifically with the individuals contained in that Circle.

If people in the Circle have circled you back, then you can also opt to send them an email notification with that update. Check the “Also send email from you to [Circle Name]” box, and they will receive the update in their inbox.


The Biggest SEO Mistakes

The Biggest SEO Mistakes: 6 Search Engine Disasters To Avoid (and Tips for Fixing Them Fast)

I like posts like this because, no matter how much of an SEO #boss you are, it’s easy to get caught up in the link building glamour and over look some fundamental things when working on a site.

This posts goes through eight of the most-overlooked mistakes in SEO and how to address them.  Good stuff.


For most sites, a significant chunk of their visitors come from Google searches for the brand’s name. So a lot of people see the sitelinks and they become important entry points into the website.

But few marketers check these or manage them actively. A lot of brands have sitelinks that are irrelevant to marketing (such as “login”) or redundant (several pages that are so closely related that they look the same).


Organic Search Results No Longer Displayed Above Local Pack

Recently, there was a big shift in the local search results displayed in the “local pack,” as Google reduced the number of sites shown from 7 down to 3.  Brutal.

Another change that comes along with this local update is the removal of organic results above the local pack.  Previously, below a set of adds in a local search results, there were one or two organic results, and then the local pack, and then the rest of the organic results.

However, it appears that Google has done away with these few, leading organic results in favor of featuring the local pack.



Google Could Rig the 2016 Election

google vote

All right, that’s a little dramatic, but it brings up some very interesting points.  Really puts into perspective just how massive Google is, and the kind of influence they wield.

Through five experiments in two countries, they found that biased rankings in search results can shift the opinions of undecided voters by 20% or more, sometimes even reaching as high as 80% in some demographic groups. If Google tweaks its algorithm to show more positive search results for a candidate, the researchers say, the searcher may form a more positive opinion of him or her.

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Sean Markey

Sean Markey

Obsessive consumer of SEO news and strategies, writes the This Week in SEO column. Loves playing drums and writing fiction. Bets you he can throw a football over them mountains.
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