Robot txt file: Why robots meta tag and robots.txt important for SEO in 2020?

Robot txt file: Why robots meta tag and robots.txt important for SEO in 2020?

Google web crawler is everywhere on the internet. They are just trying to make the internet a better place.

Are you curious about what this weird term Robot txt file is referring to?

robot txt file image indicating the robot staring

A robot txt file is just a text file to enhance your SEO.

No, you haven’t mistaken and you read it right.

It’s just a simple text file and it can have a great impact on your SEO. Everyone wants a shortcut. Well, Robot txt file gave you one.

Everybody thinks that SEO is tough, it sure is. But the small elements like the Robot txt file makes SEO easier and fun. 

Google bots or simply web crawler is designed to crawl your webpages. But is it always good to crawl your webpages? There is nothing wrong with wanting these bots not to crawl your page. 

But how do we set this perimeter?

That’s when Robot txt file jumps in. We set the threshold by Robot txt file.

What exactly is the Robot txt file?

These are the simple text files that simply tell Google or any other search engine your crawling tendency indicating how their user-agent crawls your pages. 

You might want to crawl the page, crawl the page with a delay, not want to crawl the page.

A robot txt file is a way of communication with different user-agents.

What are meta Robot tags?

Meta Robot tags are the standard metrics that act as an instruction, specifying how you would want your web pages to be crawled. Here below are some examples of meta Robot tags.

  • index: This metric allows the search engine to index your webpage.
  • noindex: This metric disallows the search engine not to index your webpage.
  • follow: Simply allows the search engine to navigate the links the current page is referring to.
  • nofollow: Tells the search engine not to navigate the links further.

There are lots of other metrics. Yoast has a dedicated article on this topic. Taking any further on meta Robot tags will deviate us from our original topic. So let’s just stick to our original plan.

What is User-agent?

A user agent is an HTTP request header string used to detect platforms like browser, application to connect to the server.

robot txt file indicating User-agent

In simple terms, user agents are the name given to an object that is responsible for indexing your webpages in their particular search engine.

Each search engine has its own user-agent. Here’s the list.

  1. Google: GoogleBot
  2. Bing: BingBot
  3. Yahoo: Slurp Bot
  4. DuckDuckGo: DuckDuckBot
  5. Baidu: BaiduSpider
  6. Yandex: Yandex Bot
  7. Sogou: Sogou spider
  8. Exalead: Exabot
  9. Facebook: Facebook external hit
  10. Alexa: Alexa crawler

The basic format of the Robot txt file:

It consists of the user agent you are specifying to and the action you want to do on any URL. However, the single text file can consist of multiple numbers of user-agents and actions like disallow, allow, crawl-delay.

The simplest example would be:

Example 1

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

Here * indicates all the user-agent and / indicates the root directory of your file manager that is used to store all the code needed to run your website,

The above lines indicate For all user-agents, not to index anything from my website.

If you want to index all the pages then simply leave a blank on Disallow.

 Here are some more examples to give you clear pictures on Robot txt file.

Example 2

User-agent: Bingbot

Disallow:/

User-agent : DuckDuckBot

Disallow: /abc/

User-agent: *

Disallow:/ xyz/

Three separate user-agent directives separated by a line break.

The first example directive indicates that Bing is not allowed to index any webpage.

The second example indicates that abc webpage isn’t allowed to be indexed by Duck Duck Go

Third indicates that xyz webpage should not be indexed by any search engine.

Example 3:

User-agent: Slurp bot

Crawl-delay: 200

Disallow: /category/mobile/

Disallow:/category/news/

We want Yahoo to wait for 200 msc before crawling. And disallow all the URLs inside the Category mobiles and news.

You can add as much as Disallow you want.

How does Robot txt help your SEO?

Search engines are really serious about your content. The performance of your content largely determines SEO ranking. 

If you have duplicate content, crawlers will find this situation to be ambiguous. This phenomenon largely impacts your SEO in a negative way.

Such duplicate Pages or any other content that you don’t want to display on SERP pages can be avoided by the proper use of the Robot txt file.

Here below are some scenarios that can be achieved or eradicated by the Robot txt file.

  • Avoiding duplicate contents appearing from the SERP page.
  • Make any section Private.
  • Avoiding indexing unwanted files like images, PDFs, etc.
  • Setting the crawl delay so that the server won’t be over stacked by multiple loading.

Conclusion:

A robot txt file is great especially when you want to avoid some information from displaying in SERP pages. They act as an interlinking layer between you and the Search engine bots.

robot txt file indicating layers

But make sure you don’t block any sections that you want to display and prevent sensitive data of the user as they are not safe enough and more secure ways are available to prevent these secure data.

It is small but has a big impact on your SEO. Analyze carefully the sections you want to block and allow visibility. Implement them on the Robot txt file. You will definitely notice the change.

If you are new to SEO then check out this content on Keyword Research.

I hope this was useful to you. We will meet again in the next topic. Until then comment below your suggestion. 

Thanks for passing by.

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