What does a Robots.Txt file do?
The Robots.txt Generator allows you to select specific URLs within your website’s network of pages and, primarily, prevent them from being crawled.
You can also use a robots.txt file to selectively allow crawling of your pages — editing your robots exclusion protocol to allow or disallow the Google bot or other bots designed by Bing, Yandex, or Yahoo to crawl or index particular pages.
It should be noted that Robots.txt files are not the same as a NoIndex directive. Robots.txt can deny permission for a specific bot (or all bots) to crawl parts of your website, but those pages could still be indexed by search engines.
NoIndex is used more directly to place an asterisk on selected pages that tells search engines specifically not to add those pages to search results. You can set NoIndex from the wp-admin tools and prevent indexing of pages still in development, login pages for employees, or pages you are using to test new plugins before rolling out the features within your main content.
Robots.txt files, instead, are used to direct a crawl-delay or provide other instructions for how the Googlebot and its competitors should crawl your site for maximum SEO impact. A robots.txt file is something that most new WordPress users – more than 600 every day – don’t setup initially.
Newcomers to the WordPress admin area are typically focused solely on ranking vital keywords across their entire site, building critical SEO techniques, and adding plugins to improve user experience as they create in order to launch rather than hone their content. However as your root directory begins to swell with new posts and pages, it will become increasingly important to maintain control over how Bing or Google robots regard the contents of your multiplying folders, images, plugins, and postings.
This is where advanced directives like meta robots tags and crawl-delay functions come into play. As your volume of uploads increase so too does the importance of exerting additional controls over the pages of your site through directives to maximize your crawl budget. Here is where the combined utilization of a generator and robots.txt validator come into the picture.
Why should I generate a Robots.txt file?
Robots.txt is a file within your website directory. It is important to upload a new robots.txt file the right way in order to see it work as a specific page in the main directory or root directory (YourSite.com/robots.txt) on the sitemap. Even though this is a fairly simple operation from creation to addition, it is critically important to make sure your robots.txt file is both built and implemented correctly. Otherwise, you run the risk of denying access to your most important pages, or even worse, the all-important Google bot altogether. Using a plain text editor or a robots.txt file creation tool is all you will need, but care and caution are paramount to success.
This page will come up in search results and can be navigated to, but it exists only as routine robot file text rather than the more difficult-to-implement XML format used to build traditional pages. This page, while seemingly innocuous speaks to search engine bots instead of your website’s users. Its only function is to direct certain web-crawling software or search engine spiders to ignore particular pages of your site when loading SERPs for their own users.
Your own robots.txt file can be a little tricky to build, especially if you are not an SEO expert yourself or have simply never written one before. But rest assured, access to either the Notepad plain text editor or a dedicated robots.txt content generator is all you need.
Utilizing a generator to begin this process is likely your best bet, as it grants you a full visualization of both default settings (namely, index everything) and a variety of restrictions you are able to place on a whole host of crawlers from the obvious Googlebot to the more ambiguous engine bots that seek out URL links across the internet. Even the most experienced digital marketers can benefit from using a generator as each bot behaves in its own unique manner, operating under based upon individual search engine parameters and each can affect your page’s crawl budget differently.
Why do crawler instructions matter?
Content creators crunch out a lot of pages – sometimes dozens of perfectly SEO crafted postings per day. Eventually, all that digital weight may begin to deflate your content’s search visibility rather than continue to build your search engine ranking, depending on how similar the content is and how well page rank is distributed throughout your site.
With the addition of a simple text file on your site that directs web robots to a specialized subset of your directory, you can improve domain authority and visibility across your network the right way.
Search bots are constrained by quotas in order to maintain their status as “good citizen[s] of the web.” This means that your crawl budget — or the overall speed of the process to index your published content — will begin to lose its efficiency and ultimately bots will begin to miss pieces of your sitemap if you are building pages at a higher rate than they are able to crawl. This is bad for business considering that visibility is the name of the game for website owners.
If you are seeing your ranking slipping down the charts it certainly may be due to increasing competition, but it is a good idea to verify the true cause of your down-trending tags rather than assuming. While content may be king, distribution is queen, and a decreasing market presence should be evaluated using Google webmaster tools or Yandex metrics as soon as possible to identify leaks in the hull.
There are many places where you could be losing the edge over your competition, including plugin issues or faulty CSS coding that render sloppy layout displays. Even the value of your content may slash viewership over time. However, the visibility of your content is a far likelier candidate.
If organic traffic growth is slowing or even declining, you have to ask yourself what you can do to improve your WordPress acumen outside of traditional content generation because your SEO practices are what need beefing up. The best way to counteract this loss of visibility is to build a new robots.txt file that eliminates selected images, tags, plugins, or duplicate content that is necessary to the functionality of your webmaster responsibilities and content standards, but hurts your overall search engine presence, which is a critical aspect to driving organic traffic and revenue.