Understanding Robots.txt: What it is and How it Works

Have you ever wondered how search engines know which pages on your website to crawl and which ones to ignore? The answer lies in the file called robots.txt. In this blog post, we will be discussing the basics of robots.txt – what it is, how it works, and its importance in optimizing your website’s search engine ranking.

What is robots.txt?

Robots.txt stands for “robots exclusion protocol” and is a text file that is located in the root directory of your website. The primary purpose is to instruct search engine crawlers which files and directories to crawl and which ones to avoid. It helps ensure that your website’s sensitive information is not indexed or viewed by the search engine.

How does it work?

When a search engine crawler accesses your website, the first file it looks for is robots.txt. This file instructs the crawler which files and directories are blocked (disallowed) and which ones are allowed. If a file or directory is disallowed in robots.txt, the search engine crawler will not index it or even attempt to access it.

Why is it important?

By using robots.txt, you can prevent search engines from crawling sensitive directories on your website. For example, if you have a directory on your website that contains administrative files, you wouldn’t want that to be crawled by any search engine crawler. The file helps you protect such confidential information.

Common Commands

There are two common robots.txt commands- Allow and Disallow. Allow is used when a file or directory is to be crawled whereas Disallow is used when a file or directory is to be blocked. Here’s an example:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /admin
Allow: /index.html

What are the best practices for using robots.txt?

While robots.txt is an essential tool for website optimization, it is also important to use it correctly. Firstly, ensure that your text file is located in the root directory of your website. Secondly, use caution when blocking directories as this can negatively affect your website’s search ranking. Lastly, make sure that all the directory and file paths are accurate.


Robots.txt is a crucial tool for website optimization, and it’s essential that you use it correctly to avoid any negative impact on your website’s search ranking. By following the best practices, you can ensure that search engine crawlers only index what you want them to, limit access to sensitive information, and maintain your website ranking. With this knowledge, you can optimize your website to its fullest potential, ensuring that your website is accessible to users while keeping sensitive information private.



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