Bing recently added a robots.txt tester!

Bing robots.txt tester

Who doesn’t know about Bing Webmaster Tool? It is a Microsoft’s Bing search engine (a free service) that allows webmasters to add their website URL to the Bing index crawler through which webmasters can see their site’s performance in Bing and much more. I am sure many webmasters currently use this second largest web search engine. Bing is a great tool as it compares your ranking for keywords on Bing and Google. This is actually the old features which Bing still provides you, right! Don’t you want something new from Bing? If yes, then let me tell you that recently Bing has added a robot.txt tester in the tool. Sounds interesting no!

Before I talk about the recent update of Bing, first let’s understand about robots.txt.

So, what exactly robots.txt is?  

To put simply, robots.txt is a file that webmasters create to instruct web robots especially search engine robots how to crawl pages on their website. In fact, robots.txt file is a part of the robots exclusion protocol (REP), a group of web standards that regulate how robots crawl the web, access and index content and finally, serve that content to users. Now you can say that robots.txt is a tour guide for crawlers and bots.

Let’s move on to the update below.

Bing adds robots.txt tester in Bing Webmaster Tools

To enhance user’s experience, recently Bing added a robots.txt tester in the beta version of new Bing Webmaster Tools. Let me tell you that this is almost like Google’s version. But it quickly shows you the difference between the HTTP and HTTPS versions of the URL.

Who spots the information about the update first? It is Glenn Gabe who first spotted this and wrote on Twitter, “Bing Webmaster Tools beta now has a nifty robots.txt Tester (like GSC). But also quickly enables you to see the https vs. http versions (which can be different).”

If you want to access this feature, you first need to visit the official website of Bing. Then login and then navigate to it under the “Tools & Enhancements” section.

Furthermore, Bing also provides you a help document on this feature to help you navigate it. I will give you a brief analysis of the help document below. But first here look at the gist of help document saying on this feature, “BWT Robots.txt Tester helps Webmasters to analyze their robots.txt file and highlight the issues that would prevent them from getting optimally crawled by Bing and other robots.”

Let’s move further to know about robots.txt test in detail below.

Detailed analysis of Robots.txt Tester

I already told you that robots.txt is also called the Robots Exclusion Protocol. Webmasters use this to regulate how bots crawl their websites. Sometimes, webmasters find it difficult to understand and follow all the necessary formats and syntax related to robot.txt. If it happens then it will lead to suboptimal crawling from the robots which are not favorable for either the search engine or the Webmaster. What does it cause? It actually reduces the comprehensiveness and freshness of SERP and a decrease in traffic on their site.

Basically, Robots.txt Tester helps Webmasters to analyze their robot.txt file. And it highlights the issues that would prevent them from getting optimally crawled by Bing and other robots.

Additionally, Bing will not show a description of the page if it is not allowed by the website’s robot.txt file. If you want to check your robot.txt or to check if a URL is blocked, then one should put in the URL of the website properly which needs to be checked in the Test URL option and select Test.

How Robot.txt Tester checks the functionality of URL?

Once the changes are made in the editor, you can click the test again to check the URL for errors instantly. Here, you can also test the functionality of the URL which you have submitted against the content of the editor. The system checks for allow/disallow statements for respective user agents and displays the robot.txt file in the editor with 4 variations .i.e. http://, https://, http://www and https://www. It means the webmasters can edit the txt file or download the same to be updated offline. Sometimes, changes are done to the Robots file elsewhere and updated; webmaster can use the fetch latest option Robots file of the property.

Now let’s know the importance of Robots.txt for your website

Robots.txt is important because it is a tour guide that gives directions to bots to which page of your website to crawl or not. It is basically helpful for non-human visitors because it takes them to the amazing areas of the site or to the content. And shows them what is important to index or not to index. Moreover, a well-experienced robot guide can enhance the speed at which the website is indexed. Also, it helps robots go through the lines of codes to find the content the users are looking for in the Search Engine Result Pages.

However, the amazing thing is that robots.txt files include the sitemap.xml that increases the crawl speed of bots.  

How you can create a Robot.txt file? 

Creating a robot.txt file is every, you just need to follow few steps to create it. Let’s have a look below.

  1. First, you need to identify which directories and files on your web server you want to block from being crawled by the crawler.
  2. Now, you have to specify the general instructions for a particular search engine bot beyond a generic set of crawling directives.
  3. It’s time to use the text editor to create the robot.txt file and directives to block content
  4. Add a reference to your sitemap file, it is optional you can skip this step.
  5. Now, check for error if you have one in robots.txt file.
  6. Finally, you can upload the robot.txt file to the root directory of your site.

The bottom line

Bing Webmaster is a great tool that webmasters can use to check the performance of their site just by submitting the link to the tool. No doubt, the Bing Webmaster Tool can help you enhance the performance of your site by giving you details as to what’s lacking or what’s not lacking in it. But now the new feature, robot.txt tester is also available which will enhance user experience as now it will crawl and index only relevant and up to date pages. However, the robot.txt tester is available in the beta version of Bing Webmaster Tools. But soon it will be available for everyone. Just wait and watch.

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