What is robots.txt? How does it help search engine crawlers index your website? Why do you need to create this type of file? 🖱️

Robots.txt is a text file 📄 that is used to regulate access to certain areas of a website. It tells search engine crawlers which pages they can visit and which ones to avoid.

This file is also used by webmasters to prevent some content from being indexed or crawled by search engines. Robots.txt is an important aspect of SEO as it helps ensure that your website’s content is properly indexed for relevant keyword searches, thus increasing visibility and traffic on your site.

What is robots.txt and how does a robots.txt file work?

A robots.txt file is a text file used to tell search engine bots which pages of your website they should and should not crawl. It is commonly referred to as the “Robots Exclusion Protocol” or “REPs.” The purpose of this protocol is mainly for security, but it can also be used to control how much traffic your website receives from search engines.

It does this by allowing you to specify which parts of your website can be crawled and indexed. This is useful if there are certain areas of your site that you don’t want search engines to index, such as sensitive information or confidential documents. It also helps keep robots from crawling too frequently or taking up too much bandwidth on your server.

Where does robots.txt go on a site? 🤖

It’s often placed at the root of a website, but some websites may place it in subdirectories. If you want to find the robots.txt file, add “/robots.txt” after your domain. If you have a file, it should quickly load.

What should a robots.txt file look like 🔍 (with examples)

A robots.txt file in WordPress will have one (or more) blocks of directives. Each should start with a user-agent line.

A basic example of a robots.txt file may look something like this:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /secret/

This snippet of code tells web robots that they should not visit any pages in the “secret” directory.

Another example could be:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /admin/

This tells web robots not to crawl any pages in the “admin” directory.

And another:

User-agent: Googlebot
Allow: /home/
Disallow: /*.html$

This tells the Googlebot to crawl all pages in the “home” directory, but not any HTML files.

Why do you need robots.txt?

By using a robots.txt file, you can save the search engine bots, like Googlebot and Bingbot, from spending time on pages that are not important to your website. The goal is to avoid overloading your website with too many requests. For example, if you have a page with private information that should not be indexed by Google or Bing, then you could use robots.txt to block it from being indexed.

On the other hand, if you want certain pages to be crawled by the search engines, like product pages or blog posts, then you can also add these URLs in your robots.txt file. This will help search engines index those pages and make them available in the SERPs.

Optimizing WordPress robots.txt file for better SEO 🚩

Using the correct syntax and rules in a robots.txt file is important for increasing the visibility of your WordPress website in search engine results. It can affect how crawlers move around and index your website, as well as which pages are available for crawling.

Make sure to include sitemap directives in your robots.txt file, which helps search engine crawlers find and access your sitemap. You should also include “disallow” directives in your robots.txt file, which prevents search engine crawlers from accessing specific sections or pages on your website.

👉 Here’s our in-depth guide on how to optimize your robots.txt file in WordPress.

Conclusion 🧐

Robots.txt is an essential part of your website’s infrastructure and should be taken full advantage of. It can help you protect sensitive data, improve SEO, and instruct search engine bots on the data you want them to access on your website.

Robots.txt is a powerful tool 💪 that can help you control the visibility and usability of your website, so use it wisely.

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