robots.txt File: Common Mistakes & Tips – SEO & Engine News – Abundance

The robots.txt file is an essential component in the art of setting up quality crawling of your website by search engine robots. But its syntax is not always so simple and sometimes errors are frequent. Here’s a little review from the staff of best practices to implement to have as few surprises as possible…

The robots.txt file is an important asset in mastering crawling engines and other tools on a website. Located at the root of a site (eg, it allows crawlers to access or not access certain resources through different directives. This can affect irrelevant URLs, for example (faceted filters, technical URLs, URLs linked to the admin interface, etc.) to improve the quality of indexed pages, but also the crawl budget for sites with a high volume of pages .

It is regularly visited by search engine crawlers, and some tools (for example, website vacuum cleaners) only check them when there are specific calls. We will review in this article the common errors related to the robots.txt file, as well as tips to better optimize this file and make it easier to read and maintain over time. But first let’s get back to an important notion related to crawling and indexing.

Crawl doesn’t rhyme with indexing

This file is often misunderstood: it should not be thought of as allowing URLs to be deindexed, but rather to restrict crawling of URLs, and thus potentially prevent specific pages from being indexed, as they are uncrawlable.

Differences between crawling and indexing. Author: SEO Indexing – License: CC BY-SA 4.0

To unindex pages, you need to use the tag (or via HTTP headers with the X-Robots-Tag directive). It should be understood that a crawlable page will not necessarily get indexed (relevance, duplication, technical issue, or no-indexing policy) and that, conversely, an uncrawlable page may sometimes get indexed (e.g. restriction on robots. txt post-indexing, indexing despite a restriction!)

Google and the robots.txt file

Is it still effective?

Even though Google is supposed to respect the robots.txt file, it is possible that it will still come up in your results, pages blocked in the robots.txt file.

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robots.txt file: common mistakes and tips

An article written by Aymeric Bouillat, senior SEO consultant at Novalem.

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