Robots.txt - Why you need it and how to create it

Robots.txt - Why you need it and how to create it

As part of running any website, it’s important to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to help your site rank in search engine results. One of the things you can do to ensure that your website gets more traffic from Google, Bing, and other search engines is to check your robots.txt file and make sure that it’s not blocking any pages on your site from being crawled by search engine bots. In this article, we’ll show you how to check your robots.txt file and identify whether there are any issues with it.

What is robots.txt file?

A robots.txt file is a text file that webmasters create to instruct web robots (typically search engine crawlers) how to crawl and index pages on their website. The file is placed in the root directory of a website, and it typically contains instructions for how robots should crawl and index the website’s content.

The file is a so-called “honor system”. The robot may or may not follow our recommendations. This happens for a variety of reasons. First of all, Googlebot is not a single web browser, so other search engines and their systems may not be affected by this directive. Therefore, in the context of robots.txt, we are talking about hiding data, not deleting it from the search engine’s index.

What is the file for? When should I use it?

The robots.txt file is a tool that tells search engine crawlers which pages on your website they should index and which they should ignore. You should use it if you have pages on your website that you don’t want appearing in search results, or if you want to make sure that only certain pages are being indexed. It’s not something that you need to worry about doing frequently, but rather as part of an overall strategy for keeping up with your website optimization.

How does it affect SEO positioning?

If you want your website to rank well in search engines, it’s important to make sure your robots.txt file is optimized. This file tells search engine crawlers which pages on your site they should index and which they should ignore. The most common mistake that people make with their robots.txt files is forgetting to include the crawl-delay parameter when specifying a sitemap URL. The crawl-delay parameter tells the crawler how often it can crawl your site before waiting at least one second between subsequent requests. Without this parameter, the search engine might get overwhelmed with crawling because of too many URLs or frequency of crawling requests per minute.

Technical SEO audit

If you want to make sure your website is optimized for search engines, you need to do a technical SEO audit. This will help you find and fix any problems that could be holding your site back from ranking higher in search results. Once you’ve set up the correct rules for your site, it’s important to keep the file updated with any changes so that the crawler knows what pages are allowed or not allowed.

Recommendations

  • Make sure your robots.txt file is up-to-date and accurate. A simple way to do this is to use a tool like Google Search Console’s Fetch as Google feature.
  • Check for any errors in your robots.txt file that could be blocking important pages from being crawled and indexed by search engines.
  • Check the indexing status of all webpages, particularly those with broken links, redirects, canonicalization issues, etc., and submit corrections to the index if necessary.
  • Check for duplicate content between various sections of your website (e.g., sitemap). Be careful not to generate too many internal links within a single webpage, though it may cause the page to rank lower in SERPs than it would otherwise have done had it been more topicalized.

The most common issues

One of the most common issues when it comes to robots.txt files is that they are not updated regularly. This can lead to search engine bots indexing pages that you don’t want them to, which can hurt your website’s ranking. Another issue is that people often mistakenly think that the robots.txt file will prevent their website from being indexed at all. This is not the case, and if your website isn’t being indexed it could be for a number of other reasons.

Robots.txt files are designed only to exclude certain parts of your site from being indexed by search engines. If there are any parts of your site that should be excluded, this should be listed in the file or else set up using noindex tags in HTML code.

Robots.txt and external hosting service

People using external hosting that allow you to create a website or online store using external wizards will not always be able to handle the robots.txt file individually or it will not be necessary. Ready systems are often equipped with predefined mechanisms and settings. They manage the robots.txt file or use other solutions to determine the possibility of indexing the page resources. In this case, the website administrator has limited options for action, and the scope of rights depends on the selected hosting service.

How to create a file yourself?

If you want to create a robots.txt file yourself, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, make sure the file is saved as plain text. Second, name the file robots.txt and make sure it’s in the root directory of your website. Third, decide which search engines you want to allow access to your site and which ones you don’t. Fourth, create rules for each search engine that tell it what pages on your site it can and can’t crawl. Fifth, it’s important to remember that this isn’t just about crawlers – humans also visit your site.

In fact, the simplest text editor is all you need to create a robots.txt file. No complicated tools are required to upload the file to the server – you only need to access the main directory of the FTP server, where the page files are located.

Markings

When it comes to the robots.txt file, there are three key things you need to know: allow, disallow, and user-agent. The allow directive tells search engine crawlers which pages they are allowed to access. The disallow directive tells them which pages they are not allowed to access, and the user-agent directive identifies which crawler is accessing the site. User agents may also be identified by their IP address or URL. Another practical feature is the wildcard operator, that is, the asterisk – *. In Robots Exclusion Protocol it is information that any sequence of characters, of unlimited length, can appear in a given place. It is also worth knowing about the existence of the operator “$” which signifies the end of an address.

Where to put the file after creating it?

After you create your robots.txt file, you’ll need to upload it to your website’s root directory. This is where your website’s main index.html file is located. Your robots.txt file should be placed in the same directory as your index.html file.

How to check its correctness?

You can check the correctness of your robots.txt file by using the Google Search Console’s Fetch as Google tool. To do this, simply enter your website’s URL into the tool and click on the Fetch button. If your robots.txt file is correct, you should see a Success message appear next to your URL.

In conclusion

If you want to make sure your website is optimized for search engines, then you need to do an SEO audit. Part of that process is understanding what the robots.txt file is and how it can impact your site’s ranking. By following the steps outlined in this post, you can ensure that your site is ready for Google and other search engines. Additionally, by implementing these changes on your site you will be better able to control the flow of traffic to your website and focus on improving customer engagement.

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iCEA Group
Category: SEO
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