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I just discovered our image system domain is not being crawled by Google for a long time. The reason is that all the URLs seem to be blocked by robots.txt -- but I don't even have one.

Disclaimer: Due to some config testing, I now have a generic allow-everything robots file at the website root. I didn't have one prior to this hour.

We run an image resizing system at a subdomain of our website. I'm getting a very weird behaviour as Search Console claims to be blocked by robots.txt, when in fact I don't even have one in the first place.

All URLs at this subdomain give me this result when live testing them:

url unknown to google

url supposedly blocked by robots

Trying to debug the issue, I created a robots.txt at the root:

valid robots

The robots file is even already visible at search results:

robots indexed

The response headers also seem to be ok:

​HTTP/2 200 
date: Sun, 27 Oct 2019 02:22:49 GMT
content-type: image/jpeg
set-cookie: __cfduid=d348a8xxxx; expires=Mon, 26-Oct-20 02:22:49 GMT; path=/; domain=.legiaodosherois.com.br; HttpOnly; Secure
access-control-allow-origin: *
cache-control: public, max-age=31536000
via: 1.1 vegur
cf-cache-status: HIT
age: 1233
expires: Mon, 26 Oct 2020 02:22:49 GMT
alt-svc: h3-23=":443"; ma=86400
expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct"
server: cloudflare
cf-ray: 52c134xxx-IAD

Here are some sample URLs for testing:

https://kanto.legiaodosherois.com.br/w760-h398-gnw-cfill-q80/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/legiao_zg1YXWVbJwFkxT_ZQR534L90lnm8d2IsjPUGruhqAe.png.jpeg
https://kanto.legiaodosherois.com.br/w760-h398-gnw-cfill-q80/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/legiao_FPutcVi19O8wWo70IZEAkrY3HJfK562panvxblm4SL.png.jpeg
https://kanto.legiaodosherois.com.br/w760-h398-gnw-cfill-q80/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/legiao_gTnwjab0Cz4tp5X8NOmLiWSGEMH29Bq7ZdhVPlUcFu.png.jpeg

What should I do?

4

You shouldn't use the Google Search Console inspect URL feature for image URLs. It is only for web pages that can be indexed in web search. See this Tweet by Google's John Mueller

The Inspect URL tool is only useful for webpages, so if you inspect images, CSS, JS, etc -- then the results there wouldn't be as useful (they'd reflect how we would index it if it were a web page, which they aren't).

Other people have noticed this same issue. URL inspection says that all images are blocked by robots.txt even if they are not.

This is apparently because Google doesn't want to index images in web search. So it reports that they are not allowed to be indexed. It seems like right now the only way they have of reporting that something shouldn't be indexed is to say it is blocked by robots.txt.

The tool is broken for images. It says images are blocked when they are not. Don't use the inspection tool for images.

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