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Robots.txt – what is it and how does it work?

The vast majority of websites have a robots.txt file. However, this doesn’t mean that most site administrators understand it. In this article, you will learn what this file is, what limitations it has, and how you can create one for your website. This inconspicuous and small file on the website has a significant impact on the position of the website in the search results.

Robots.txt – what is it?

The file described in this article was created to inform robots, i.e. Google robots, about what they should not be doing on your website. It is mainly used to keep a website from becoming overloaded with requests. Managing the traffic of indexing robots is of great importance.

In other words, it’s what’s known as the domain root. The robots.txt file is, as you can see, a text file that indicates whether a specific site indexing software is to crawl a page or not. It can therefore block or allow indexing. So it’s easy to see that robots.txt is essential for SEO.

The process of searching for new materials that can be found in the Google search engine is a job performed by search engine robots. They follow the links and then index the entire content of the web pages into the Google directory. The work of the Google robot is therefore based on browsing and analyzing websites in order to add information about them to the search engine. If a page should not be in the search engine’s index, it should be placed in the robots.txt file. Such a procedure is used, for example, by SEO specialists who optimize the site during SEO. You should block those pages whose presence in the search engine is unnecessary (e.g. shopping cart in e-commerce).

The robots.txt file is most needed on large and complex websites. Note that scanning a site that contains thousands of pages can take many months. The robots.txt file makes this process much faster. After all, search engine robots do not have to look at every page of your website. The robots.txt file is also set during the implementation of the SXO strategy, the components of which are SEO and UX.

What are the limitations of the robots.txt file?

You have to remember that blocking the Google robot is not always effective. The robots.txt file cannot force the machine to obey its rules. This way, the bots can ignore the robots.txt recommendations and crawl your site to the search engine anyway. As a rule, however, search engines follow the rules set by website administrators, and thus, it is worth taking care of the robots.txt file.

Also keep in mind that a page that is blocked by the robots.txt file may still be indexed. It is enough that links from other websites lead to it. If you want to completely exclude a specific URL from Google search results, create a noindex meta tag or remove the page entirely.

How do I create a robots.txt file?

There are several ways to create a robots.txt file. Much depends on the situation as well as your needs. One possibility is to use the robots.txt file generators. Thanks to their existence, you do not need to know the syntax of the file. You only need to know what addresses you want to block. The second variant is to create the file manually. This is the most popular method. However, it requires knowledge of all the elements related to the operation of the file. The third way is to create a dynamic file using the application or page the file relates to. For example, it can be generated from the content management system, for example in a WordPress CMS.

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