SEO is a powerful tool to increase your website’s visibility, which ultimately leads to more traffic on your website in terms of quality and quantity. The type of traffic it brings in is called organic traffic. There are many ways to help your website ranking on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) using SEO, but today we will talk about a small little essential hack that many people do not know about.
It will make your website’s reach better on the web.
We are talking about the robots.txt file (also known as robots exclusion protocol or standard).
This small text file is a part of every website on the internet that will increase your SEO. It’s easy to implement and not time-consuming, and you will be thanking us by the end of this blog.
So what is a robots.txt file?
The robots.txt file is a text file that tells web robots or, more commonly, the search engines which pages on your site to crawl and which not to crawl.
Why would you NOT want a search engine to crawl some of your pages? Isn’t it the point of SEO to increase your visibility and not decrease it?
Well, yes, you want search engines to read your website, but Google search engines (Google bots) have a crawl budget. And you have to make the best use of your budget.
If the bot crawls on pages that have duplicate content, low-quality content, or error messages and thank you notes, you don’t want the search engine to waste time and resources on such pages and reduce your SEO ranking. You want the search engines to crawl and read your best and most relevant pages as effortless and fast as possible.
This is where the robots.txt file comes in handy.
Why do we need a robots.txt file?
If you have pages that are not to be visible to the regular public, such as login pages, you can use the robots.txt file to block those pages and make the Googlebot visit any of the other remaining pages on your site.
It works better than Meta Directives because you can’t work with multimedia contents using Meta Directives.
Sometimes, a website may have a crawl budget problem, and to minimize it, you can instruct the Googlebots to make it visit only the pages that matter.
How do you create a robots.txt file?
It’s a straightforward process. You need to create a new robots.txt file by using a plain text editor like notepad. If you use Microsoft Word, then it may insert an additional code of its own.
Therefore you need a plain text editor. You may also use a free online plain text editor like Editpad.org.
If you already have a robots.txt file, then delete the text, but not the file.
The basic skeleton of a robots.txt file looks like this:
User-agent stands for the one you are commanding. That is the search engine. You can specify a particular search engine or use an asterisk, which means the command is for all the search engines.
The next line that is “Disallow,” does what it says. You mention the page on your website that you wish to skip from crawling between two forward slashes.
For example, if you wish to disallow the page named Xyz, you write the code as follows:
Add the part of the URL that comes after the .com. This is called the directory. If you write nothing after Disallow, you will still allow bots to crawl your page.
In case there is a page or subdirectory named ABC within your disallowed parent directory you wish to see, you can add another command below Disallow.
So, this is how you write a robots.txt file. It looks simple, but it does take a lot of work!
How to upload a robots.txt file?
Upload the valid robots.txt file to your root directory or save it there if you already have one. To upload this file to your server, use your favorite FTP tool to log into your web server. Then open the public_html folder and open your site’s root directory.
Depending on how your web host is configured, your site’s root directory may be directly within the public_html folder or a folder within that. Once you’ve got your site’s root directory open, drag & drop the Robots.txt file into it.
You can also create the Robots.txt file directly from your FTP editor.
To do this, open your site root directory and Right Click and Create a new file. Then, in the dialog box, type in “robots.txt” (without quotes) and click OK.
You will see a new Robots.txt file inside. Make sure you have made yourself the page owner to read and write the file and not made it public. The file should show “0644” as the permission code, and if it doesn’t, then right-click on your file, select “file permission,” and change it to “0644”.
So, there you go. You now have a fully functional Robots.txt file that will enhance your SEO and make a significant difference.
Go ahead, give it a go, and see the difference for yourself!
There are billions of websites on the web. To make sure your website is searched more often and is always on the top in Google searches, you need a quality robots.txt file.
It should be specific and have clear instructions for the bots to follow. Do that, and you can easily see your site appearing on the top of Google search along with the recommended page assigned by you.