Experienced digital marketers and SEO professionals understand the importance of proper search engine indexing. For that reason, they do their best to help Google crawl and index their sites properly, investing time and resources in on-page and off-page optimization. Content, links, tags, meta descriptions, image optimization, and website structure are essential for SEO, but if you have never heard about robots. Txt, meta robots tags, XML sitemaps, microformats, and X-Robot tags, you could be in trouble. But do not panic. In this chapter, I will explain how to use and set up robots.txt and meta robots tags. I will provide several practical examples as well.
Why Is Robots.txt Important?
Robots.txt is a text file used to instruct search engine bots (also known as crawlers, robots, or spiders) how to crawl and index website pages. Ideally, a robots.txt file is placed in the top-level directory of your website so that robots can access its instructions right away. Correct robots.txt operation ensures that search engine bots are routed to required pages, disallowing content duplicates that lead to a fall in position. For that reason, you should make sure your site has a thoughtfully created robot.txt file.
If a robots.txt file is set up incorrectly, it can cause multiple indexing mistakes. So, every time you start a new SEO campaign, check your robots.txt file with Google’s robots texting tool. Do not forget: If everything is correctly set up, a robots.txt file will speed up the indexing process. Robots.txt on the Web Yet, do not forget that any robots.txt file is publicly available. To access a robots.txt file, type: www. websiteexample.com/robots.txt.
Robots.txt files have drawbacks
This availability means that: You cannot secure or hide any data within it. Bad robots and malicious crawlers can take advantage of robots—Txt file, using it as a detailed map to navigate your most valuable web pages. Also, keep in mind that robots.txt commands are directives. This means that search bots can crawl and index your site, even if you instruct them not to. The good news is that most search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex) honor robots.txt directives.
Google recognizes and honors robots.txt directives, and, in most cases, having Google under your belt is more than enough. Nonetheless, I strongly recommend you make them an integral part of every SEO campaign. Robots.txt Basics The robots.txt file should: Contain the usual text in the UTF-8 encoding, which consists of records (lines) divided by symbols. Be situated at the root of the website host to which it applies.
Contain no more than 1,024 rules. Be under 500KB. Google bots find all the content available for indexing if: There is no robots.txt file. A robots.txt file isn’t shown in the text format. They do not receive the 200 OK response. Note: You can, but are not allowed to, mention the byte order mark (BOM) at the beginning of the robots.txt file, as bots will ignore it. The standard recommends the use of a newline before each User-agent directive. If your encoding contains symbols beyond the UTF-8, bots may analyze the file incorrectly. They will execute the valid entry only, ignoring the rest of your content without notifying you about the mistake.