Google Suspending Accounts For Blocked Images

We’re starting to see this type of message pop-up with increased frequency within some of our clients’ Google Merchant Center logins as of late:

 

Critical Errors: Must be fixed by Nov 11, 2011 to prevent account suspension in United States.
All your items are at risk of being suspended from Google Product Search for the reasons highlighted below. Please fix these issues before the deadline. After that date, we will automatically review your items again. You do not need to inform us about fixing the issues.
Roboted images (1,539 items)
The submitted image URLs seem to be blocked by robots.txt. Google will not be able to display these images together with the products. Please change your robots.txt file to allow Google to download the image.
In short, Google is beginning to suspend accounts that block their bots from crawling a merchant’s site through their robots.txt file.
If you’re not familiar with your robots.txt file (which should be accessible through www.[yourdomain].com/robots.txt, Google has a brief explanation of it here:

robots.txt file restricts access to your site by search engine robots that crawl the web. These bots are automated, and before they access pages of a site, they check to see if a robots.txt file exists that prevents them from accessing certain pages.

It would definitely be wise then to go into your Merchant Center account (which is something that should be done regularly anyway) and make sure that you are letting Google crawl your images.

If the above message pops up, you or your webmaster/on-site nerd should go into your robots.txt file, look for something like this:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /images/

And either change the disallow to “allow”–or just remove that line completely.

Then when Google recrawls your site the message should go away, and any threat of having your Google account taken down should be resolved.

About the AuthorTien Nguyen is a co-founder of CPC Strategy and deals with data feeds in his waking hours and often in his sleep. He spends his free time with Rubik's cubes while rooting for the underachieving Raiders and UCLA sports teams where he graduated with a mathematics/economics degree. See all posts by this author here.