Robot.txt file also called as the robot exclusion protocol or standard, it is a text file that explains web robots which pages has not to crawl.
The robot.txt file (REP) also contains directives like Meta robots. Along with page, sub-directory which instruct the search engine how should treat links. The REP also indicates specified agents which part of the website has to crawl and which one has not to crawl.
What is the need of robots.txt file?
Robots.txt files are essential for you site because it control agents (website crawling soft wares) access to restricted areas of your site.
But make sure you did not categorized entire site into restricted area or category. Doing this can be harmful for your website. Hence Googlebot cannot able to crawls your site.
Robot.txt file is essential for handling of situations like:
- It prevents duplicate content from popping –up in search engine result pages (SERP) of different search engines.
- It helps you to keep certain areas of your site private by making non-accessible for Googlebot to crawl in those areas.
- It keeps internal search result pages by appearing up on public Serp
- It prevents search engines from indexing certain files on your site including images, PDFs etc.
- It prioritizes a crawl delay for preventing your servers of being overloaded when crawlers load multiple piece of content at once.
- But if you feel that there are no areas in your site which you want to hide then you don’t need to create Robot.txt file.
Now how to check if you have robot.txt file or not? Well you can check this easily by typing in your root domain. After typing root domain add robot.txt at the end of URL. For example:
In order to check XYZ.com robot file type in search bar xyz.com/robots.txt.
If no.txt.page appears it means you currently don’t have robot.txt file.
How Robot.txt affects SEO?
Well here you need to understand that any site owner create robot.txt file because it want to restricts Googlebot don’t access to certain private areas of its site.
- By keeping this in mind ensure that you are not blocking any content or part of your site which you want to be crawled.
- The pages you block with REP will not get crawled with an exception if they are linked from other search engine accessible pages. The content of block pages will not also get indexed either.
- No link equity can be passed from the REP enabled pages to the link destination.
- In case you have content or page to which you want equity to be passed then deploy different blocking mechanism, Robot.txt file is not suitable for it.
- Another thing you must keep in mind that is never use REP to prevent sensitive data from popping up in SERP results. The reason is because it is a wasted effort because other pages link directly to the page that contains private information hence, infiltrating robot.txt directive on your root domain. So irrespective of your effort your private information will get indexed. If you truly want to block your page from search results, use protective measure like password protection, noindex Meta directive.
- Whether you believe it not, many search engine has multiple crawling bots.
- For example: Google use Google bot for normal search and Google image for image search results. So your protective measures are not full proof if you truly want to hide something.
- Also the search engine will cache the robot.txt contents, but usually updates the cached contents at least once a day.
- In case you amend the file and want to update it rapidly then you can submit your robots.txt URL to Google.
Types of Robots.txt
The three major robots robots.txt, Meta robots and X-robots are most widely used robots but the objectives of each one is different. For example:
Robot.txt is an actual text file whereas Meta and x robots are Meta directives.
ROobot.txt controls the site or directory-wide crawl behavior. While Meta and X-robots controls indexation behavior at the individual page level.
Robot.txt affects SEO in both positive and negative ways
By understanding we have reach to a conclusion that Robot.txt file affects SEO in both positive and negative ways. It’s totally depend upon site owner how it utilize robot.txt file the outcome of SEO depends upon it. But one thing is sure that you cannot hide something precious with robot.txt file only. You have to use Meta descriptive or X-robot like features with it for extra assurance.
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