About this tool:
There is a technique to increase your SEO by taking advantage of a natural part of your website that rarely gets discussed. And it's not difficult to implement it either.
That technique is the robots.txt file, also known as the robots exclusion protocol or standard.
What is the robots.txt file?
The robots.txt is a file that contains the instructions "how to crawl a website, access and index content, and serve that content up to users." That tiny little is file is an essential part of each website, but fewer people know about that.
- It is a standard used by the websites to tell the crawlers/bots which part of their website needs indexing.
- You can also specify the parts of your website you do not want the crawlers/bots to index. That includes the website's dashboard login page, duplicate content, or under-development web pages.
To sum up, in practice, the robots.txt file indicates whether specific user agents can or cannot crawl the particular parts of a website. These crawl instructions are specified by "disallowing" or "allowing" specific (or all) user agents.
Importance of robots.txt file in SEO?
The robots.txt is a bit tiny file that unblocks a better rank for your website. Whenever the search engine crawlers crawl your website, the first file they visit is your robots.txt file. And if they failed to find that file, there is a high chance that they will not index all the pages of your website.
Google runs on a crawl budget, and that budget is based on the crawl limit.
The crawl limit is the time that Google crawlers spend on your website.
However, if Google feels that crawling your website affects the user experience, it will crawl your website slower. That means whenever Google sends crawlers. They will crawl your website slower, crawl only the importance pages, and your most recent posts will always take time to get indexed.
To overcome that issue, your website must have a robots.txt file and a site map. That tells the search engines which parts of your website need more attention.
A robots.txt file contains "User-agent," and underneath it, you can write other directives like "Allow," "Disallow," "Crawl-delay," etc.
If it's written manually, it might take a lot of time, and you have to type multiple lines of commands in that one file.
The basic format of the robots.txt file is
User-agent: [user-agent name]
Disallow: [URL string not to be crawled]
If you think that it's easy, then you are wrong. One wrong line or tiny mistake can exclude your page from the indexation queue.
Note: Make sure don't add your main page in disallow directive.
If you generate a robots.txt file, you must be aware of few important terms used in that file. There are five standard terms you're likely to come across in a robots.txt file. They include:
- User-agent: A specific web crawler (usually a search engine) to which you are giving crawl instructions.
- Disallow: That command instructs the web crawler not to index the particular URL. Only one "Disallow" line is allowed for each URL.
- Allow: This command instructs the web crawler to index the particular URL. This command is applicable for Google bots also. It tells the Google bots to index a page or subfolder even though its parent page or subfolder may be disallowed.
- Crawl-delay: That command instructs how many seconds the web crawler should wait before loading and crawling page content. Crawl-delay is treated differently by different web crawlers from search engines. For Bing, it is like a time window in which the bot will visit the site only once. For Yandex, it is a wait between successive visits. The Google bots do not acknowledge this command. However, you can set the crawl rate in Google Search Console.
- Sitemap: It calls out the location of any XML sitemap(s) associated with the URL. However, currently, Google, Bing, and Yahoo support that command.
How to make a robots.txt file for Google robots by using a robots.txt file generator?
Manually creating a robots.txt file is a complicated thing. But the online tools make that process relatively easy.
To generate the robots.txt file.
- Open the Robots.txt Generator.
- When you open the tool, you see a couple of options. Not all the options are mandatory. But you need to choose carefully. The first row contains default values for all robots/web crawlers and a crawl delay. If you want a crawl delay, you can select the value in seconds as per your requirements.
- The second row is about a sitemap. Make sure you have one, and don't forget to mention it in your robot.txt file.
- The next couple of lines contain the search engine bots if you want a specific search engine bot to crawl your website. Then select "Allowed" from the dropdown for that bot. And if you don't wish for a particular search engine bot to crawl your website. Then select "Refused" from the dropdown for that bot.
- The last row is for disallowing if you want to restrict the crawlers from indexing the areas of the page. Ensure to add the forward-slash before filling the field with the address of the directory or page.
- After generating the robots.txt file, test your robots.txt with the robots.txt Tester.