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What is Robots.txt & Why It Matters

Optimizing your website and business for greater visibility isn’t a day’s work. You have to understand various components that can be critical in making your business more visible online, including knowing what robots.txt is.

If you’ve never heard of a robots.txt file, it’s probably because you’ve never needed your website to rank on a search engine. Here is what you should know about robots.txt and how to utilize it to make your website visible to your target audience.

All About Robots.txt

Robots.txt is a file created by webmasters to guide web (search engine) robots to crawl pages on their websites. It is a text file and part of the robots exclusion protocol (REP). REP is a collection of web standards that control how robots can crawl the web, access and index content, and show that content to users.

The file will basically indicate whether users can or cannot crawl various parts of the website. Crawl instructions can be specified by allowing or not allowing certain actions for specific (or all) users. The basic format is as follows:

User-agent: [user-agent name]Disallow: [URL string not to be crawled]

How It Can Impact Your Business

Search engines have two very basic functions: to find content on websites and to show that content in a way that is accessible to users who want to find it. To do this, robots will crawl the web. To successfully crawl through a website, search engines typically follow links to get from one website to another. It can lead to robots crawling through billions of links and websites (also known as spidering).

When a search crawler lands on a website, it will look for the robots.txt file. When found, the file will be read first before any crawling is done. The file will tell the search engine crawler how the website should be crawled through, and it can help with all the links being found promptly. Simply put, when a robots.txt file is in place, your website is likely to rank higher on search engines and be more visible when users are searching for it.

Best Practices

When you want to get started with a robots.txt file for your website, you will have to know entry-level coding. A robots.txt file needs to be placed on your website’s top-level directory to be found instantly by the search engine crawler.

The file is case-sensitive, so you have to name it robots.txt and not Robots.txt or ROBOTS.txt. You might also want to consider adding the location of your sitemaps associated with your domain at the end of the robots.txt file. The file can also prevent duplicate content from appearing on search engine ranking pages and keep entire website components private (when you’re not ready to release them).

There may be parts of your website that you don’t want indexed just yet, like specific images or content, which can be excluded through the robots.txt file.

Looking for Professional Help for Your Marketing? We’re Here to Help

Making sure your business succeeds online is the goal of any owner, but limited time and resources can deter you from your path to success. At WW Web & Marketing Studios, we help you find the best way to make your business visible and accessible to all. From design to marketing, we take care of it all. Call us today at 888-790-5505 to get started.

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