Managing Googlebot’s Interactions with Your Site

As an SEO expert and the founder of, a platform for SEO automation tools, I am keen on the various strategies available for managing Googlebot’s interaction with webpages. I recently gained some valuable insights from Google’s Search Relations team, who shared their knowledge in the latest ‘Search Off The Record’ podcast.

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One point I want to stress: You cannot prevent Googlebot from scanning specific sections of an HTML page. There is no way around this, but some strategies may be employed to influence how your content shows up in search snippets.

The use of the data-nosnippet HTML attribute or an iframe can affect how your content appears in search snippets. But bear in mind, these are not the ultimate solutions, just workarounds.

Now, when it comes to preventing Googlebot from accessing your site altogether, there are ways. You can use a disallow rule in robots.txt, or, for a more drastic approach, set up firewall rules using Googlebot’s IP addresses.

During the podcast, John Mueller and Gary Illyes from Google provided their answers to these key SEO issues.

Blocking Googlebot from Specific Web Page Sections Mueller was clear when asked about preventing Googlebot from crawling particular web page sections like “also bought” on product pages. His response was straightforward: “You can’t block crawling of a specific section on an HTML page.”

He suggested two alternative strategies: using the data-nosnippet HTML attribute to keep text from appearing in a search snippet, or an iframe or JavaScript with the source blocked by robots.txt. Mueller, however, cautioned against the latter, emphasizing it’s not a good idea due to potential crawling and indexing issues that could be challenging to diagnose and resolve.

Mueller reassured everyone that if you’re reusing content across multiple pages, there’s no need to prevent Googlebot from seeing such duplication.

Blocking Googlebot from Accessing a Website When it comes to denying Googlebot from accessing any part of a site, Illyes provided a simple yet effective solution: “The simplest way is robots.txt: if you add a disallow: / for the Googlebot user agent, Googlebot will leave your site alone for as long as you keep that rule there.”

For those requiring a more thorough method, Illyes suggested creating firewall rules that block Googlebot’s IP ranges.

In conclusion, while it’s impossible to stop Googlebot from accessing specific sections of an HTML page, tactics like using the data-nosnippet attribute offer a level of control. If you want to block Googlebot entirely, a disallow rule in your robots.txt file will work. Alternatively, you could adopt extreme measures such as configuring specific firewall rules.


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