Google used to use CSV data via structured data to improve search results, but it is now indexing CSV files. Google discreetly updated their documentation for Google Search Central to reflect the fact that they are currently indexing .csv files.
This creates a new opportunity to be indexed, or if a publisher doesn’t want their .csv files indexed, it might require changing robots.txt to exclude such files.
Comma-separated values (CSV)
CSV files are text documents that store data in a tabular format that may be viewed as a spreadsheet. The data in CSV files is in plain text form, therefore they don’t include any visual components like fonts, photos, or clickable links.
They can be handy when performing things like uploading a list of URLs to Screaming Frog for crawling. However, they are also helpful for arranging information in a spreadsheet.
CSV Files Have Been Used Indirectly By Google
Google’s Dataset search appearance already utilized CSV files, but it appears that only when described with structured data. This makes the indexing of CSV files by Google puzzling.
CSV files are a valid format for showing up in dataset search features. According to the dataset structured data description in Google’s older Developer documentation (viewable on Archive.org).
Google declared in 2018 that it would start displaying tabular data in search results when it is accompanied by structured data. The usage of tabular data as a search appearance began.
In 2022, Google revised the aforementioned material and pointed users to the brand-new Search Central material. The improved explanation makes it more obvious how Google’s dataset search appearance uses CSV files and depends on structured data.
Does Google Index CSV in Connection with Recent Updates?
When Google makes “significant” and “broad changes” to its core algorithm, this is referred to as a “core algorithm update.” It might have been a coincidence that the main algorithm upgrade and the indexing of CSV files occurred almost simultaneously.
However, it may be worthwhile to evaluate whether Google has enhanced its crawling engine to be able to index CSV or if that capability was present previously.