Google To Shabbat Observer Webmasters: GoogleBot Is Jewish Also...

Nov 25, 2013 • 8:20 am | comments (9) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

google cloakingThere is this fundamental truth when it comes to GoogleBot, treat it like you would all your other users.

So when someone created a new WordPress plugin named WP-Shabbat, he got into some trouble.

The WordPress plugin shuts down the web site to users when Shabbat starts. In short, the site goes offline to users at around sundown on Fridays and goes back online Saturday night after nightfall.

The only issue, it is "SEO friendly," which means spiders and search engines still can access the site over Shabbat.

The WordPress plugin creator came to Google Webmaster Help after hearing this was not allowed by Google guidelines and asked if that was true. It is true.

Google's John Mueller told the user to treat GoogleBot like all other users:

Treating Googlebot as being something other than a normal user from the same location would be considered cloaking and would be against our Webmaster Guidelines. Using a 503 is fine in situations like this -- it's a sign that your website currently isn't available, and that Googlebot should come back a bit later.

Truth is, it would be neat to just prevent Jewish people from accessing the site. Is GoogleBot Jewish? Too bad there isn't technology for that - just yet.

We've covered the topic a couple times before:

The thing is, most Jewish site owners do not prevent access to their sites on Shabbat. I guess this is something you need to ask your Rabbi about and make sure to also comply with Google's webmaster guidelines.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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