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How Robots.txt Impacts the Website SEO?

Robots.txt is a pretty familiar name in the SEO world. It is basically a file located in the server that gives the command about which page Google bot can access and which page they cannot. In case it tries to crawl a page that has been blocked in the robots.txt file, we shall consider it a soft 404 error. 

Significance of Robots.txt Files: Know the Impact & Benefits!

A robots.txt is significant for managing web crawler activities. This is done so that the web crawler doesn’t overwork for the purpose of indexing the pages. 

Let’s note down a few significant objectives of the SEO robots.txt code.

Controlled Googlebot Crawling

Another significance of robots.txt files is that they offer a controlled crawling and indexing of websites. Robots.txt files are the best way to let the Google crawler not index the required web pages. This saves the search engine crawler from overcrowded indexing. 

Streamline Crawl Budget

The crawl budget is the ratio of the number of pages crawled by Google across a given time frame. Given the situation when the number exceeds the crawl budget, you are left with multiple unindexed pages on your website. 

Block Duplicate Pages 

There are certain pages that are placed not to be crawled and indexed by the Google search engine. Robots.txt SEO helps you to fix these issues by blocking Google crawlers from reaching those pages. 

Hide Required Resources 

There are many website resources that we don’t want to let fall into the SERP algorithm. They might be embalmed to scale up the visual aspect or visitor engagement. These resources can be kept away from SERP crawling with robots.txt files. 

How to Set Up a Robots.txt File?

Below is the process of setting up a robots.txt file.

Create a File and Name it Robots.txt

Firstly you need to start with the process of opening the Google robots.txt document with the help of a web browser. After opening the file, you can name the document as robots.txt. Refrain the use of word processors as they can save the file by adding random characters. 

Add Directives to the Google Robots.txt File

After creating the file, it’s time to add directives to it. Usually, a robots.txt file consists of a set of directives with multiple instructions. The group starts with a robots.txt “user-agent” and follows an array of information like who the user-agent is, which files the user-agents can access, which files the robots.txt user-agent cannot access, and which pages and files are marked as important.

Upload the Robots.txt File

After saving the robots.txt file, you can upload it to your website. This process depends on the structure of the file and web hosting. Further, after uploading the file, you can check if the Google search engine crawler is able to crawl and index the file or not. 

Test Your Google Robots.txt

Here you need to check first whether the robots.txt file is publicly available or not. Next, you can check the HTML code. 

Google gives you two options for testing robots.txt markup:

  1. Robots.txt Tester with Search Console
  2. Open-source robots.txt library of Google

You can use any one of the options to test the activation of the Robots.txt file. 

Some of the best practices for creating Robots.txt files are: 

  1. Use separate lines for new directives 
  2. Simplify instruction using wildcards for robots.txt SEO
  3. Use $ at the end of the URL
  4. Use # to add a comment for better robots.txt SEO
  5. Separate Robots.txt Files for Separate Subdomains 

After knowing the creation procedure and impact of the robots.txt file, you must know how an internet marketing platform like RankWatch can help you to facilitate the process.

The site audit section of RankWatch crawls over your domain and gives you a list of persisting issues, including HTTP status code distribution, page depth, page response time distribution, non-indexable pages, and much more.

The non-indexable page volume also consists of robots.txt files that are supposed to be either kept likewise or altered in a way that Google is able to crawl it. Fundamentally, you can bifurcate the robots.txt file from the other website issues and work on them as per your SEO feasibility. 

Thus, rather than counting on the manual process, you can rely on an AI-driven platform like RankWatch to find robots.txt Google files. This not only gives holistic operational ease but also helps you save time and resources. 

Common SEO Robots.txt File Mistakes and How To Fix Them?

Below are the mistakes that you must avoid for keeping the robots.txt files intact.

Placing the File Away From the Root Directory

Google search crawler can only discover the file that is in the root directory. Given this situation, if the robots.txt file is not placed in the root folder, the search bot will never be able to find out that there is any robots.txt file on the website. Thus, it’s important to place the robots.txt file in the root directory. 

Relying on Wildcards

Robots.txt Google files support two types of wildcards, Asterisk & dollar symbol. It is pretty sensible to minimize the usage of * and $ as they can restrict the potential and utility of your website in multiple ways. 

Disobeying the non-index rule

If your file has been created before 1st Sep’19, Google will not refrain from indexing those pages. As a solution, you can add a robot meta tag over the head of any web page to stop Google from indexing it. 

Forgetting to Place the Sitemap URL

It is important to make the Google crawler aware of your website’s structure. Not placing a sitemap can result in the misinterpretation of robots.txt files by the Google bot. Hence, removing a sitemap can degrade the SEO effort of your website and have a negative impact on robot.txt files. 

Summing Up!

Well, here we had a scratch-to-end discussion on robots.txt code, robots.txt SEO, the conventional process of creating it, the mistakes that should be avoided, and harnessing the benefits with the help of an SEO platform like RankWatch. 

Stay aware of the beneficial and unwanted elements for your website, and don’t miss out on using RankWatch, the next time you plan to grab the full-fledged advantages of SEO robots.txt.

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