A robots.txt file is also known by the name of robots’ exclusion standard or protocol. It is a text file that tells the web robots on which pages on the site to do the crawl. It gives the search engine with all the necessary information to properly index and crawl a website. All the search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc., have the bots which crawl website on a regular basis for collecting new or existing information like web pages, images, blog articles, etc. As these resources get published through the website, then the search engine is there to determine what will be indexed.
A robots.txt file will help define in a better way that one wants the search bots to crawl and thus index. This is useful as it provides a variety of reasons, such as controlling the crawling traffic for ensuring that the crawler does not overpower on the server. The robots.txt file should not be used for hiding the web pages, which are the result of google search or any other.
How can the Robots.txt file be created?
The implementation process of the robots.txt file is simple, but before that, creating of robots.txt file should be done cautiously:
- With the use of a simple text editor, one can create the file under the tag “robots.txt.”
- The parameters need to be defined under the robots.txt file. For instance, the cases usehas been outlined in the next section.
- Then upload the robots.txt file on the root directory of the website.
- Whenever the search engine crawls the site, it will first check the robots.txt file to determine if some sections on the websites should not be crawled.
Examples of robots.txt file
Different possibilities are there when one configures the robots.txt file. The robots.txt file basic structure is very simple and mainly contains some of the primary components, like Disallow, Allow, or User-agent.
The User-agent specifies that on which search engine robots, the rules stated are applied. In this field, on a specific robot, the rules can be applied like User-agent: Googlebot, or it can be applied to everyone in the form User-agent: *.
Also, one can use the Allow and Disallow directives for enabling greater configuration coarseness. The Allow command bots will have access to one particular page on the web while disallowing on the rest of the pages. While in Disallow pages are not necessarily hidden, but they could not be so much useful for Bing or Google users.
How does the robots.txt file work
The robots.txt file is only a text file that does not have any HTML markup code, so the
extension is given as .txt. It is hosted on the services of the web, like any file done on the website. The robots.txt file on any website can be viewed by just typing the full URL of the homepage, then /robots.txt should be added to it. The users do not look for this file, but the web crawler mostly for this file first then to the rest of the site.
Though the robots.txt file gives instruction for bots, it does not enforce those instructions. A good bot like a news feed bot or a web crawler will go to the robots.txt file first to view other pages that are there on a domain and follow all the instructions. But a bad bot will ignore all that is there in the robots.txt file and will process the same to find that what webpages had forbidden in it.
The web crawler bot will track the specific instruction given in the robots.txt file. If there are any commands which are contradictory in a file, then the bot will follow the grittiest command. All the subdomains which are there also need their specific robots.txt file.
Though it is not always necessary to have the robots.txt file. If one does not want to give instructions to search bots on how to crawl on the website, do not choose the robots.txt file. But if one wants some of the particular content to be not searched by bots, then the robots.txt file should be included.