Understanding What Robots.txt is All About

Robots.txt is an effective and useful tool that informs search engine crawlers in what manner you desire for them to crawl your website. It can assist in keeping your website or server from being ignored by crawler requests.

If this crawl block is included on your site, you should be sure that it is being used correctly. This is very important if you are using dynamic URLs or other resources that can, in theory, create an infinite amount of pages. Robots.txt makes use of a plain text file format, and it must be located in the root directory of your site to be effective.

Robots.txt is not a complex document, and it can be generated within a few seconds with the use of Notepad or a similar editor. By using the X-Robots-Tag HTTP header, you can have an influence on if and how content will be displayed in SERPs.

The Origins of a Robots.txt File

A Robots.txt file is actually the initiation and operation of a protocol that was created in 1994 by a group of internet techies, and it was known as the “Robots Exclusion Protocol.” This protocol outlines the guidelines that every valid robot is required to follow, and this includes Google bots. Malware and spyware often operate on the outside of these requirements.

Structure of a Robots.txt File

A Robots.txt file consists of multiple divisions of directives. Each directive begins with a given user-agent. This user-agent is the specified name of the crawl bot that the code is addressing. The two choices available to you are:

1. Using a wildcard to speak to all search engines simultaneously; and
2. Addressing selected search engines individually.

If a bot is sent to crawl a website, it will be attracted to the blocks that are calling to it. Robots.txt is not an essential element for a website’s success. Any website can have good functionality and get good rankings without this file.

Benefits of a Robots.txt File

Major benefits of a Robots.txt file include the following:

• Directing Bots Away from Private Folders. Robots.txt keeps bots from exploring your private folders, which can make it much more difficult to locate and index them.

• Maintaining Control of Resources. Whenever a bot crawls your website, it devours bandwidth and other resources of the server. Even online sale sites with thousands of pages can actually be drained relatively rapidly. Robots.txt can be very helpful in interfering with bots gaining access to individual images and scripts. This can save a website’s valuable resources.

• Identifying Your Sitemap Location. Your Robots.txt tile can direct crawlers to the location of your sitemap so that they can scan it.

• Preventing SERPs from Accessing Duplicate Content. You can add the rule to your bots so that crawlers do not index pages that display duplicated web content.