Robots.txt for SEO: A Complete Guide 202312 min read

Robots.txt for SEO

Do you know what is robots.txt for SEO? SEO robot’s txt file is a keystone of Technical SEO. You chose the right place if you want to know.

So many SEO practitioners ignore the importance of robots.txt for SEO. 

We put so much effort into developing the best site and optimizing it for search engines.

But while putting together the mysterious SEO puzzle, we ignore easy things as robots’ txt SEO optimization.

Yes, comprehensive audit and technical SEO are very significant, we all know.

But do we know a simple, easy robots.txt can be a significant ranking factor? Optimizing it is as essential as any other technical SEO.

When Google crawlers first visit your website, it checks your robots.txt file. And not only that, you can call the robots.txt file is the guide for search engines.

Then why not optimize it properly and significantly impact your SEO efforts?

Today, we have made a complete blog about robots.txt file, what it is, how it works, and how to create it properly for SEO.

 

Robots.txt for SEO: A Complete Guide

 

What is Robots.txt? 

 

This is a file that contains instructions for bots or search engine crawlers.

Most websites include this file in their source code, yet some miss it.

But we recommend using it to improve your SEO.

Robots.txt is a text file that web admins use to tell web robots (mainly search engine robots) how to crawl their website’s pages.

The robots.txt file is part of the robots exclusion protocol (REP), which governs how robots crawl the web, access and index material, and serve that content to people.

Sometimes, bad bots are unlikely to follow the instructions, but robots.txt files are generally used to manage the activity of good bots like web crawlers.

Luckily the search engine bots are a good type of bots ad they follow the instructions.

Robots.txt files specify whether or not specific user agents (web-crawling software) are permitted to crawl certain areas of a website.

The behavior of select (or all) user agents is “disallowed” or “allowed” in these crawl instructions. 

 

Why is it important? 

 

As we have mentioned, the robots.txt file isn’t available on most websites.

Why does it gets overlooked? There is a reason behind it.

This is because Google can automatically identify and index all your site’s important pages.

They’ll also automatically exclude pages that aren’t important or duplicate other pages from indexing.

However, there are three key reasons you should utilize a robots.txt file.

 To specify Non-public Pages:

 

 You may have pages on your site that you do not want to appear in search results, like a page containing duplicate content. 

You might have a staging version of a page, for example.

Alternatively, a login page. These pages are necessary.

You don’t want random strangers to land on them, however.

In this situation, you’d use robots.txt to prevent search engine crawlers and bots from accessing specific pages.

Crawl Budget Optimization:

 

 If you’re having trouble getting all of your pages indexed, you may have a crawl budget issue.

By using robots.txt to restrict unnecessary pages, Googlebot can focus more of its crawl budget on the pages that matter.

Preventing Resources from Being Indexed:

 

Sometimes you keep the resources on your site.

It can be confidential and you may not want the search engine to index it.

So you can use robots.txt to prevent your resources from getting indexed.

 Meta directives can be just as effective as Robots.txt in preventing indexing pages.

On the other hand, Meta directives are ineffective for multimedia resources like PDFs and photos.

This is where the robots.txt file comes in.

How does a robots.txt file appear?

 

A simple robots.txt file for a WordPress website might look like this:

 

simple robots.txt example

Even it can be simply:

User-agent:*

Disallow: /wp-admin/

Based on the example above, let’s go over the anatomy of a robots.txt file:

 

  • The user-agent specifies which search engines the directives that follow are intended for.
  • The symbol * denotes that the instructions are intended for all search engines.
  • Disallow: This directive specifies what material the user-agent cannot access.
  • /wp-admin/: this is the path the user-agent can’t access.

 

In a nutshell, the robots.txt file instructs all search engines to avoid the /wp-admin/ directory.

 

Let’s take a closer look at the various components of robots.txt files:

 

  1. User-agent
  2. Disallow
  3. Allow
  4. Sitemap
  5. Crawl-delay
In SEO robot’s txt file, the user-agent is listed.

 

For robots.txt for SEO, each major search engine should be assigned a user agent.

Google’s robots, for example, we call them Googlebot.

We know Yahoo’s robots as Slurp, Bing’s robots BingBot, and so on.

The user-agent record marks the beginning of a set of directives.

We consider all directives for the first user-agent record between the first user-agent and the following user-agent.

Directives can be applied to individual user agents, or they can be applied to all user agents.

A wildcard is used in this case: * is the user agent.

In the robots.txt file, a directive says “do not allow.”

 

You can restrict search engines’ access to specific files, pages, or areas of your website.

Then the search engine bot Disallow directive.

The Disallow directive follows the path that Search crawlers should not visit.

The directive is ignored if no path is specified.

Example: * User-agent

Disallow:/wp-admin/

In this case, you are directing all search engines not to visit the /wp-admin/ directory.

In robots.txt, developers use the Allow directive also.

When you invoke your Disallow directive, the search engine uses a directive to counterbalance it.

Google and Bing both support the Allow directive.

You can notify search engines to access a specific file or page within an ordinarily banned directory by combining the Allow and Disallow directives.

The Allow directive then follows the path that You can access. Search Engine crawlers do not crawl and index the unspecified directives. 

Example:

* User-agent

/media/terms-and-conditions.pdf is allowed.

/media/ is not good, and you should not use it. 

Except for the file /media/terms-and-conditions.pdf, no search engines can access the /media/ directory in the example above.

Important: ”Do not utilize wildcards when utilizing the Allow and Disallow directives simultaneously, as this may result in contradictory directives.”

Conflicting directives are an example and not suitable for robots txt SEO optimization.

* User-agent

/directory is ok.

*.html is not good, and you should not use it. Reason?

Search engines will ignore the URL http://www.domain.com/directory.html.

They don’t know if they have permission to enter.

When Google is unsure about a directive, it will choose the least restrictive option.

which implies accessing http://www.domain.com/directory.html.

Robots.txt For SEO: How to Do it?

 

An adequately made robots.txt file can be helpful for your SEO.

If you do not create the robots.txt file correctly, it will affect your SEO and ranking. Here is why:

  • Search Engines may index some pages you do not want to appear in web search. It will affect the user experience.
  • Creating a proper robots.txt file creates a positive impact on site authority.
  • Without maintaining the robot exclusion protocol, you may face issues with indexing.

Robots txt SEO optimization is significant in many ways.

Now we will explain the step-by-step guide to creating and uploading your robots.txt file.

1. Create a robots.txt file 

 

We advise you to use Notepad, Text Edit, or emacs to generate a robots.txt file for your best convenience.
 But what is the reason behind it? 
 
These text editors can create valid.txt file with UTF-8 encoding that crawlers can read without formatting issues or difficulties.
So this is the first step to creating your robot.txt file. 
Secondly, avoid using a word processor.
This task uses a spreadsheet instead of a word processor.
Because word processors frequently save files in an incomprehensible format that crawlers may struggle to understand. 
And it can create troubles for robots.txt for SEO.
Limitations:
  • Never make a mistake in writing the name of the file. You must name the file “robots.txt” because it is case-sensitive sensitive. Therefore, you cannot call it Robot.txt, robots. Text or anything else. Otherwise, it will not work at all. 
  • There can only be one robots.txt file on your website. If you save multiple files in the same name, it will create problems. So keep one file in the name and if you already had one, update it, do not recreate another. It will help your robots.txt for SEO.
  • Maintaining the format of the file is significant too. You cannot keep the file in random format like zipping. If you’re saving the file, make sure to save it as UTF-8. 

2. Modify the Robot.txt User-Agent

 

Setting up your user agent is the second step of your step-by-step setup.

Setting it up is very significant as User agents are crawlers.

To make your file crawlable for the search engine, you must specify them. Otherwise, it cannot recognize. 

However, luckily there is not only one way, but there are some different ways to go through three distinct approaches to creating a user-agent in your robots.txt for SEO file. Here we have explained them in detail:

 

1. Create a unique User-agent:

 

You can use your unique one. Let me explain.

Only one user-agent is defined here, and the syntax is: NameOfBot is the user agent.

Note: You may see a list of primary Google user agents/names of popular crawlers here.

 

2. Create several User-agents:

 

Not only one, you can create more than one also.

And you can do it whenever you need it.

If you need to add more than one bot, type the names of each one on succeeding lines.

We utilized DuckBot and Facebook in this example.

Example: DuckBot is the user agent. FaceBot is the user agent.

 

3. Set the User-agent to all crawlers:

 

There is another option that you can consider when you need it.

You can set the user agent to all crawlers.

Substitute an asterisk (*) for the bot name to prevent all bots or crawlers.

# User-agent with an asterisk: *

Note that the # symbol is used in comments to denote the beginning of a comment.

3. Set directives in your Robot.txt for SEO

 

Now come to the third step, the root directory.
Setting the directives is very significant, and we have already discussed is directives in the robots.txt file. 
 
Now come to the third step. 
Setting the directives is very significant, and we have already discussed is directives in the robots.txt file.  
It contains the following items:
Disallow:
The prohibit directive can  block bots from accessing specific portion of the site.
# disallow crawling complete web disallow: 
Example 1: block crawler from crawling complete web disallow: /
Example 2: prohibit crawler from crawling specified directory: /subfolder-nameme/
# Empty Disallow disallow: Example 3: Empty Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow
An empty forbid indicates that the bots can go wherever they want, whenever they want.
# Disallow specific web page: /website/pagename.html, for example.
This rule will apply to /website/pagename.html but not to /website/Pagename.html since file names are case sensitive.
Allow:
By setting this directive, you can prevent bots from accessing a particular portion of the site can prevent bots from accessing particular portion of the sit by setting this directive.
2. Sitemap:
This command is used to identify the location of an XML sitemap linked with the website.
Example: Files with sitemaps
https://www.brandoverflow.com/sitemap.xml/sitemap.xml/sitemap.xml/sitemap.xml/sitemap.xml/
Google, Ask, Bing, and Yahoo are the only search engines that support this command.
3. Crawl-delay:
It specifies waiting period for any crawler, allowing it to wait appropriately before loading and crawling the website content.

4. Place the Robots.txt files on your computer

 

So here, we can start our final steps.

There are a few things you can do to complete the rest of the task.

Once you’ve created robots.txt file, it’ll be uploaded to your site’s root directory, which you can reach by going to your website’s public HTML folder in your FTP cPanel.
So here, you can place your robots.txt files on your computer. 

5. Make sure your Robots.txt file is up to date

 

Your robots.txt file is critical for ensuring that bots and search engines follow your instructions.
This should be well tested! Otherwise, it can cause a crawl delay.
Google’s Robots Tester Tool, which can be found on their Search Console page, is an excellent tool for checking the grammar and logic of this textual content.

6. Robots.txt vs. Meta Directives

 

Why would you use robots.txt when the “no index” meta tag can be used to block pages at the page level?

The noindex tag, as I previously stated, is difficult to deploy on multimedia content such as movies and PDFs.

Also, if you have thousands of pages to block, it’s sometimes better to use robots.txt to block the whole part of the site rather than individually adding a noindex tag to each one.

In some circumstances, you don’t want to waste any crawl budget by having Google arrive on sites using the index tag.

As a result:

I advocate utilizing meta directives instead of robots.txt in everything but those three particular circumstances.

They’re less complicated to put into practice. There’s also a lower likelihood of a calamity (like blocking your entire site).

Wrapping Up

 

Setting up your robot.txt for SEO is not difficult or time-consuming.

It will take less effort than any other task. But this simple optimization will create a significant impact on your SEO.

I hope this step-by-step guide will help you set up your robot’s txt SEO optimization.

For comprehensive SEO service, You can Take our Search Engine Optimization Service.

Last but not least, Do you want to check your robot.txt file?

You can check it here: Google Search Console Help. 

Posted in

Sifat Tasnim

Sifat Tasnim is an SEO specialist and Content Marketing Expert. She loves to explore the business and marketing industry and writes about different topics. She is also an undergraduate law student.