If there are folders or files on your website that you would like to keep away from the prying eyes of search engine crawlers, then a robots.txt files is necessary for you. This text file is generally placed at the highest level of your websites directory. Using what is known as a Robots Exclusion Standard, it is able to specify the various sections that you do not want accessed. It does so using specific commands or a protocol.

robots.txt

Is it Necessary for SEO?

With a robots.txt file, you can control the way search engine spiders interact and see your website pages. When Googlebot, a spider, comes to your page, it first looks to see if there is a robots.txt file.  If it exists, it is important for you to ensure that it is not blocking content that could be used to boost your rankings. It may be a good idea to have Google guidelines tool because it will let you know if important pages or information has been blocked. With Robots.txt, you can control the following:

  • Image files – It can help you block images that you do not want to show in the search results
  • Non-image files – The best thing is to use it to only control crawling traffic. This is especially important if you have similar pages on the site or pages deemed unimportant to search engine ranking.
  • Resource files – You can block this if you feel that they will not affect the pages significantly. The resource files could be style, script or image files deemed unimportant.

Creating a Robots.txt file

Since it is generally added to the same place on each website, you are easily able to see if a site has it in place already. “robots.txt” is simply added after the domain name as follows:

www.websitename.com/robots.txt

The syntax is also pretty easy and is done using the keywords

User –agent: [put in the robot’s name to which the rule applies]

Disallow: [paste the URL that you want blocked]

Allow: [Find the blocked parent directory, identify the subdirectory URL path and unblock it]

There are only 3 outcomes when it comes to robots.txt instructions you give:

  • Full allow – Which means that a crawler can access all content.
  • Full disallow – Which means that a crawler cannot access any content.
  • Conditional allow – Which means that you specify directives using robots.txt, which allow the crawler to access certain content only.

Should you decide to use the robots.txt file, ensure that it is used in the right way so that Googlebot is not completely blocked from site access, or that pages that are important to your ranking are not affected. If you are needing help to put robot.txt to your website, here Island Media Management will help you out. Contact us now!

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