I have a script setup to load images for the visitor on another server. The robots.txt file on that server has the image path directory blocked by bots. Which means that Google can't see the images loaded on the page. When I request Googlebot to render the page, it shows the images as blank.

Will Google derank these pages because there are images on them that Google can't see? Will Google fear that these images are in some ways dirty or that I'm hiding content? Or will it not matter?

The images load properly for users visiting the page. They just don't load properly for bots crawling the page.


You ask two questions.

Firstly you ask about whether Google will penalize you. The answer is: noway. If you don't want to show something to Google, so Google will not play a police, investigate, whether you hide something not according with law or ToS and penalize you for such.

Then you ask about Google would derank pages, where images are closed by robots. The answer is: derank - not, rank MUCH lower - for sure. If a page with hidden images is allowed to ne indexed, than hidden content is a ranking malus. Google's ranking guidelines notify, that hiding of content is jamming the clear and full understanding of the pages content.


It matters.

If a search engine cannot load all the resources necessary to complete a page load because you're preventing it from doing do, then you can expect lower rankings, because people want the content.

Here's two scenarios for you to consider as a guest to websites:

Scenario 1:

You search for information about a dog and come across a listing in a search engine you like. Let's call that site http://woofexample.com. You then load the website and notice paragraphs of information about dogs but also large empty spaces, each one having a small broken picture symbol inside and the spaces are between the paragraphs.

Scenario 2:

You search for information about a dog and come across a listing in a search engine you like. Let's call that site http://bowwowexample.com. You then load the website and notice a few paragraphs of information about dogs along with images of various sizes and nothing unusual.

Which scenario would you rather be in? I'd personally pick #2 because it offers the best user experience and the people who run search engines appreciate (or at least should appreciate) webmasters who spend time to make sure their websites present full content to the guest. This means allowing the client browser to load ALL of the resources necessary to properly display a webpage.

You may want to read up on google Webmaster guidelines for more detail, but the point is, make the users happy and pretend the search engine bots are your users as well.

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    Users visiting the page can see the images, bots and crawlers cannot. Robots.txt is blocking the images to bots but not to users and visitors. The website functions as scenario 2 and not scenario 1. Googlebot renders the page as scenario 1 but real human visitors see the page as scenario 2. – Michael d Feb 17 '18 at 9:35

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