The robots.txt file is a text file placed on a website’s server to provide instructions to web robots (like search engine crawlers) about which pages or sections of the site should not be crawled or indexed. It is a tool used for controlling access to a website’s content by search engines.

Think of the robots.txt file as a signpost that tells search engines which parts of a website they’re allowed to explore and index and which parts they should ignore.

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Key Points:

Crawling Instructions: It contains directives that guide web crawlers on which pages or directories they are allowed or not allowed to crawl.

Location: The robots.txt file is typically located in the root directory of a website (e.g.,

Common Directives:

User-agent: Specifies the web crawler or user agent to which the rules apply (e.g., Googlebot).

Disallow: Indicates the URLs or directories that should not be crawled.

Allow: Permits crawling of specific URLs within a disallowed directory.

Example robots.txt File:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /private/
Allow: /public/


Crawl Efficiency: It helps search engines focus on relevant and valuable content, improving crawl efficiency.

Privacy: Prevents the indexing of private or sensitive information that shouldn’t be exposed in search results.

Testing and Verification:

Webmasters and SEO professionals can use tools provided by search engines to test and verify the correctness of their robots.txt files.


Incorrectly configured robots.txt files can unintentionally block search engines from accessing important content, leading to SEO issues.

Example Scenario:

If there is a directory on a website containing personal user data that should not be indexed, the robots.txt file can include a “Disallow” directive for that directory.

Why it Matters:

Search Engine Optimization: Proper use of robots.txt helps control how search engines index a website, ensuring that only relevant content is considered for search results.

Privacy and Security: It can be a tool to protect sensitive information by preventing its exposure in search engine results.

Crawl Budget Management: Efficiently guiding web crawlers with robots.txt can help manage a website’s crawl budget, ensuring that important pages are crawled more frequently.

Also read: Robots.txt Introduction and Guide | Google Search Central

In summary, the robots.txt file is a text file placed on a website’s server to provide instructions to search engine crawlers regarding which pages or sections of the site should or should not be crawled and indexed. It is a valuable tool for SEO and privacy management.