The Benefits of Robot.txt Files

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Utilizing an efficient robots.txt file is an essential part of any SEO project. Essentially, they contain a set of instructions that web crawlers use when indexing different pages on your online platforms. It also has the ability to direct web crawlers where and where not to search.

Robots.txt files can serve as an ultimate guideline for search engine crawlers since it’s the first document that they encounter. Though they do not control the process of crawling a page itself, they can factor out elements like domains, directories, or subdirectories. Additionally, web crawlers can also detect all the URLs in your domain if a sitemap is utilized.

Though not all websites have a robots.txt file, creating one for your online platforms can drastically affect the way your pages rank in search engine results. Not having a robots.txt file means that bots can freely crawl your site as it normally does. However, creating one for your website allows you to have full control over what pages bots can crawl and use it to your advantage.

A Brief Look at How They Work

A robots.txt file can be used for different files and as aforementioned, it can essentially prevent some files from appearing in search engine results. Resource files like images and scripts can be easily excluded when the right commands are used in a robots.txt file. You can use it to your advantage by preventing irrelevant pages from being crawled.

It’s important to note, however, that not all search engines support robot.txt files. Because of this, it might be necessary to utilize methods that can block unwanted crawlers from accessing private files. Since various crawlers might interpret syntax differently it’s always necessary to implement proper syntax.

Additionally, the restrictions you’ve put in your robot.txt file might not apply to pages that are linked to other sites. This means that though you’ve restricted some pages from being crawled, they still might appear in Google search results if linked to other online platforms. If you wish to prevent this from happening, it’s always best to protect your files using a password.

Making Your Own Robots.txt File

Step 1: Create a file with the name robots.txt.

Text editors such as Notepad and TextEdit can be used to create a robots.txt file. Take note that word processors are typically not used as they have been observed to add unexpected characters upon saving and this can cause problems with search engine crawlers.

Step 2: Add instructions to your file.

Most robots.txt files have groups with different sets of commands. User-Agent lines are used at the beginning of each group to indicate its target and crawlers process them beginning from the top. Take note that you must indicate each rule or instruction with precision as they are case-sensitive.

Step 3: Upload the file.

Uploading your robot.txt file means that it’s now available for different search engine crawlers. The process typically depends on the structure and server of your website so always make sure to test your file whether it’s publicly accessible once you’re done.