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Does protecting Javascript source code using an obfuscator (so it will be harder to read it by visitors) can hurt Google Ranking?

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Obfuscated javascript is still machine readable. So from the browser's perspective it's just code.

But it depends on your obfuscation, and it depends on the amount of code. Some obfuscation results in considerably larger filesizes -- which can increase overall pageload. It also results in slightly slower js code execution.

Both of those issues could in some cases, have a very slight negative effect on SEO, but it's unlikely to be an issue in most cases.

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no it doesn't affect your SEO as it only makes your JavaScript unreadable, yet executable. You may know that Google's Bot does execute JS at discretion, however, it takes up more resources, so anything hid behind JS usually takes longer to rank, or if execution takes too long, will not ever rank at all.

Perhaps best if you push your side through a Bot Simulator like this one.

Bottom line is - don't make your SEO dependent on JS.

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