Robots.txt? What is it? Every novice website developer or website owner might know a little about it or almost nothing. The best SEO Company in India also believe that Robots.txt is the most important SEO element.
Basically, Robots.txt is the first thing the search engine crawler checks when it visits the website. The main use of it is to guide a crawler about which section of the website is allowed and disallowed to crawl. If by any chance, there will be a single mistake in direction, it will impact crawlability which will affect rankings.
Here are a few most common mistakes that you should avoid for better ranking results.
- Block CSS and JS files
Most people think that CSS and JS files can be indexed through Google bot and thus, they end up blocking them in the Robots.txt file. It’s advisable to not block JS and CSS files as Google bot needs to crawl both of these files for rendering the page. If Google Bot could not render pages, it is obvious that it will not index or rank those pages.
- Forget placing the file in the root directory
Usually, all the novice SEO nerds would make such a mistake that they forget to place the Robots.txt file in the right place. The file should be always placed in the root directory of your website. If you place it in other directories, it will make the file difficult to find out when it visits your website. The URL should be like mywebsite.com/robots.txt – this way.
- Additional use of trailing slash
Wrong or incorrect use of trailing slash will also lead to problems when you block or allow a URL in the robots.txt file. If you want to block – mywebsite.com/category URL and you add an unnecessary trailing slash after “category”, it will indicate Google bot to not crawl any URLs located in the “category” folder and it will also not block the URL as the folder “category” has no slash.
- Forget case sensitivity
If you don’t know or forget, remember that URLs are case sensitive for crawlers. For crawlers, there is a difference in “category” and “Category” so when you define directives in the file, you should double-check URL case sensitivity.
- Miss blocking crawlers from accessing staging sites
It is part of a strategy that all the development work will be tested on a staging site and then it will be uploaded on the main website. But, techies sometimes forget that they know it is a staging website, but crawlers will take it like any other website. Hence, it is suggested to crawl and index the staging website just like your main website. And also, if you don’t block the crawlers from crawling the staging website, there could be ranking issues at a later stage. There are many people who prefer the same Robots.txt file for staging and main website which is awful. Make sure to block crawlers to crawl your staging site once you reach to the main website.
In a nutshell,
If this information is not enough for you to deal with the Robots.txt file, seek the best SEO agency around you and get some help for ranking.