The robots.txt file is a text file in which you specify whether or not you allow search engines to crawl and index certain parts of your website. Since this text file is important for the success of the website, it is necessary to know how to create a Robots.txt file for SEO.
Understanding The Importance Of Robots.txt For Seo
To understand the importance of the robot.txt file, it is necessary to know exactly what it does.
- Robots.txt file can be easily written with the for SEO text editor.
- The Robots.txt file provides content management by closing or opening different parts of your website to search engines. This helps you control which pages on your site should be indexed and displayed by search engines like Google and Bing.
- It prevents search engines from wasting resources by crawling unnecessary pages or content. This allows your server and search engines to operate more effectively.
- In cases where some pages or directories contain confidential information or may contain security vulnerabilities, the robots.txt file provides security by limiting access to these areas.
- When duplicate content is found at different URLs, you can use robots.txt to determine which version of the content search engines can index.
- The robots.txt file can help search engines better understand your website and index important content. This can contribute to your website getting better rankings in search results. This is the basic principle of Robot.txt for SEO.
Identifying The Structure And Syntax Of Robots.txt
Robots.txt file is text-based and follows a specific structure. Basically, it contains a user-agent and a disallow directive. User-agent identifies a search engine or browser, disallow specifies which URLs that search engine should not index.
An incorrect robots.txt structure may prevent your website from being indexed or, conversely, allow hidden pages to be indexed. Therefore, a perfect structure is important. Robots.txt terms are as follows:
User-agent: This is the line where the web browsers to which the scanning instruction will be given are expressed. It is the core component of the robots.txt file. Search engines are usually written on this line.
Disallow: The disallow line specifies which URLs you want to block from indexing. In this section, URLs starting with “/” represent specific folders or pages, and here you should indicate URLs that should not be indexed by search engines.
Allow: If you have set a general disallow rule and additionally want to allow indexing of specific URLs, you can use the allow directive. For example, by using “Disallow: /hidden/” and then “Allow: /hidden/open/”, you allow the URL “/hidden/public/” to be indexed.
Crawl-delay: This is the command required to wait a few milliseconds before loading the page content into the browser or starting the scan. Since it is a command that Googlebot does not approve, those who want to adjust the crawling speed should choose Google Search Console.
Sitemap: It is a command that can be used for Google, Ask, Bing and Yahoo. This command is used to call the XML site map using a URL.
Clean-param: It is a command used by Yandex. This command should be used if dynamic parameters that do not affect the contents of the page addresses of the website will be used.
Site Root Directory: The robots.txt file should be in the root directory of your website (for example, www.yourwebsite.com/robots.txt). Search engines automatically crawl this file and apply the instructions.
Setting User-Agent Directives For Optimal Crawling
Setting a user agent for browsing is very important because these settings can affect how browsers and web applications work. A user agent is a text-based credential through which a browser or web application identifies itself to web servers. This credential helps web servers determine what content they should send to the browser or application.
There are many reasons to change the user agent. Some of them are as follows:
Browser Compatibility: Some websites or web applications may not support certain browsers or devices. By changing the user agent, you can increase access and crawl rates.
Security and Privacy: User agent can help you increase online privacy. For example, you can use it to prevent ad tracking or unwanted trackers.
Web Scraping and Data Collection: During web scraping or data collection, you may need to interact with websites using a specific user agent.
Steps to Change User Agent
Accessing Browser Settings: Go to your browser’s settings or preferences menu. Usually, you can find this menu under the name “Settings”, “Options” or “Preferences”.
Accessing User Agent Settings: Within the browser settings, find the relevant settings under the “User Agent” or “User Agent” heading. To find this option, you can get help from your browser’s help section or online resources.
Changing User Agent: When you want to change the user agent, you can select the existing user agent or add a customizable user agent. Typically, these options are presented in the form of a drop-down menu or text input.
Restart: After changing the user agent, restart your browser for the changes to take effect.
Allowing And Disallowing Specific Web Pages And Directories
There are two instructions that can be defined via robots.txt. These are “allow” and “disallow”. These instructions regulate bot systems’ permission to access folders.
The robots.txt file is useful for allowing web robots to crawl certain pages or directories.
User-agent Determination: Determine the type of robots you want to allow or block. For example, you can use “User-agent:Googlebot” to refer to Google’s robot.
Allow: Specify the pages or directories you want to allow with the “Allow” command. For example, saying “Allow: /blog/” allows robots to crawl the entire blog directory.
Disallow: Specify the pages or directories you do not want to allow with the “Disallow” command. For example, saying “Disallow: /hidden/” blocks the directory named “hidden” from robots.
Disallowing and Exceptions
Allowing and disallowing specific pages or directories with the robots.txt file is important for the security and privacy of your website. Therefore, there are some special cases and important points to consider for a perfect robots.txt for SEO.
Missing or Incorrect Files: If your robots.txt file is missing or incorrect, all robots will generally crawl your website. Make sure you have created your file correctly and completely.
Error Checks: Check for errors and inaccuracies when editing your Robots.txt file. Making a mistake could result in certain pages being accidentally blocked or allowed to browse.
Good Permissions for Search Engines: Make sure that the pages or directories you allow contain content that will help search engines better understand and index your website.
Update: As your website structure or needs change, keep your robots.txt file updated. Also check it regularly to fix errors and problems.
Managing Search Engine Crawl Frequency With Crawl-Delay
Managing how often your website is crawled by search engines is an important part of SEO strategies. One of the key tools used to determine crawl frequency is the “crawl delay” method. This method helps you adjust how search engines should crawl your website.
The first step to using crawl delay is to create a Robot.txt file. Create a robots.txt file in the root directory of your website (usually accessible as “www.example.com/robots.txt”)
You can use the “Crawl-Delay” or “Visit-time” command when specifying a crawl delay. For example, “Crawl-Delay: 5” means that a search engine should wait 5 seconds between each request.
Before adjusting crawl delay settings, it is important to test these settings and monitor their results to create robot.txt.
Handling Sitemaps And Indexing Instructions In Robots.txt
The robots.txt file is a powerful way to manage your website’s crawling behavior. Adding sitemaps and indexing instructions guides search engines so they can crawl your website more effectively.
A sitemap is a file in XML or other formats that tells search engines the content and structure of your website. Search engines index your site more effectively by using these maps. There are several advantages to using sitemaps in robots.txt:
Search engines can quickly discover important pages in a short time.
It promotes better indexing of your website.
More accurate and up-to-date information is displayed in search results.
Adding Site Map to Robots.txt File
Adding the sitemap to the robots.txt file is quite simple:
To add the sitemap to your robots.txt file, you must use a “Sitemap” command. For example:
In the example above, the URL for the sitemap is “https://www.example.com/sitemap.xml”..
Testing And Validating Your Robots.txt Implementation
You can instantly find out whether a site contains the robots.txt file with the practical test tool at OnPage.org. Alternatively, you can test your robot.txt file by using Google Search Console.
If you want to find out whether the robots.txt file in the root directory of your site is crawled or not, you need to click on the button of “View the current version”. In this way, you can simply notify Google that the necessary adjustments have been made.