The Robots.txt file is a file that contains instructions for how to crawl a website. This standard is also known as the robots exclusion protocol, and websites use it to tell bots which parts of their website require indexing. Furthermore, you can specify which areas of your website do not want to be crawled by these crawlers; these are areas containing duplicate content or are still under development. Unfortunately, some bots, such as malware detectors and email harvesters, do not follow this standard and scan for vulnerabilities in your security, which means they may begin looking at your site in areas you do not want to index.
An example of a complete Robots.txt file includes "User-agent" as the first directive, and commands like "Allow," "Disallow," "Crawl-Delay," and so on, below it. However, it may take a long time to write manually, and you can enter many lines of commands in one file. For example, if you wish to omit a page, add "Disallow: the link you don't want the bots to view" in the disallow attribute, and the same goes for the allowing detail. Think again if you think that's all there is to the robots.txt file. A single incorrect line may halt the indexing of your page. For this reason, you're better off leaving it to the pros and ordering WriteUp Cafe's Robots.txt generator to do the work for you.
Why Robot TXT directives are necessary
In case you are manually creating the file, then you need to be aware of the guidelines used. Afterwards, you can modify the file if needed.
- A crawl-delay directive prevents crawlers from overloading the server; too many requests can cause the server to suffer, which would result in a poor user experience. Each search engine's bot treats crawl-delay differently. For example, Bing, Google, and Yandex all treat it differently. For Yandex and Bing, it's a wait between successive visits, and for Google, you can control how often the bots visit the site using the search console.
- A directive called allowing enables indexation for the following URL. In the case of a shopping site, your URL list may grow if you add as many URLs as you like. Only use the robot's file if you don't want certain pages indexed.
- Disallowing a Robots file is primarily used to disallow crawlers' access to directories, links, etc. As these directories don't conform to the standard, other bots check for malware in these directories.
A Guide to Creating Your Robots.txt File
- Initially, you are offered to allow or deny access to all web crawlers. Then, depending on your level of preference, you can choose whether Google should crawl your website; however, there are reasons why you might not want your website to be indexed.
- Secondly, you will see the option to add an XML sitemap. Here you can specify its location. Using WriteUp Cafe’s free sitemap tool will allow you to generate an XML sitemap.
- A final option allows you to prevent specific pages or directories from being indexed by search engines. It is typically done for login, cart, and parameter pages since they do not provide any useful information for Google or users.
- When the process is complete, you will download the text file.
- As soon as you have generated your robots.txt file, you should upload it into the root directory of your domain. As an example, your robots.txt file can be found at: www.yourdomain.com/robots.txt.