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Robots.txt SEO: Understanding the Use of Robots.txt in Technical SEO

Learn how to leverage this powerful tool to control search engine crawling behavior, prioritize content indexing, and enhance your website's SEO.

In the expansive realm of search engine optimization (SEO), the technical intricacies wield significant influence over a website's visibility and positioning within search engine result pages (SERPs). Among these critical technical components lies the robots.txt file, a pivotal tool that acts as a directive for search engine crawlers, dictating how they should navigate and index a website's content. 

What is Robots.txt?

Robots.txt SEO

Robots.txt is a crucial text file located in the root directory of a website. It functions as a set of directives for search engine crawlers, specifying which pages or sections of the site should be crawled or indexed. This file acts as a vital communication tool between website owners and search engines, granting site owners the ability to manage how their content is accessed and displayed in search results.

It is a fundamental aspect of SEO strategy, as it empowers website owners to control which areas of their site are accessible to search engine bots. By strategically configuring the robots.txt file, webmasters can guide crawlers to prioritize indexing essential content while excluding sensitive or irrelevant sections. This level of control not only streamlines the crawling process but also ensures that search engines focus on indexing the most valuable pages, ultimately boosting a site's visibility and organic traffic.

Purpose of a robots.txt file in SEO

The primary purpose of a robots.txt file in SEO is to manage the crawling behavior of search engine bots. By specifying which areas of a website should or should not be crawled, website owners can optimize their site's crawl budget, prioritize important content for indexing, and prevent sensitive or duplicate content from being indexed.

It provides a set of rules, typically written in a straightforward format, that direct crawlers like Googlebot and Bingbot. By defining these rules in the robots.txt file, webmasters can control how search engines interact with their sites.

Robots.txt Use Cases

Some common use cases for robots.txt files include:

  • Preventing duplicate content from appearing in SERPs (note that meta robots is often a better choice for this)
  • Keeping entire sections of a website private (for instance, your engineering team's staging site)
  • Keeping internal search results pages from showing up on a public SERP
  • Specifying the location of sitemap(s)
  • Preventing search engines from indexing certain files on your website (images, PDFs, etc.)
  • Specifying a crawl delay to prevent your servers from being overloaded when crawlers load multiple pieces of content at once


How to Generate Custom Robots.txt for Blogger?

To generate a robots.txt file for a Blogger website, you can use the Robotstxtseo.com tool. Simply visit the website, input your Blogger blog URL, and customize the crawling directives according to your preferences. Once generated, the robots.txt file can be easily uploaded to your Blogger site to control search engine crawling.

If you want to block crawlers from accessing your entire website, what robots.txt entry would you use?

To block all crawlers from accessing the entire website, you can use the following entry:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

When should you use a robots.txt file?

A robots.txt file should be used when you want to control search engine crawling behavior, prevent certain pages from being indexed, or optimize crawl budget and indexing priorities.

How does robots.txt work?

When a search engine bot crawls a website, it first checks the robots.txt file in the site's root directory. Based on the directives specified in the file, the bot determines which pages it can or cannot crawl and index.

What is "Disallow" in robots.txt?

"Disallow" is a directive in the robots.txt file that tells search engine bots which URLs or directories they are not allowed to crawl or index.

How to add robots.txt in Next.js?

In Next.js, you can create a robots.txt file in the public directory of your project. Next.js automatically serves static files from the public directory, so the robots.txt file will be accessible to search engine crawlers.

How to add a sitemap in robots.txt?

To add a sitemap to the robots.txt file, simply include the following directive:

Sitemap: [URL of your sitemap]


In technical SEO, understanding the role of robots.txt is essential for optimizing a website's crawlability and indexing. By utilizing robots.txt effectively, website owners can exert greater control over how their content is discovered and displayed in search engine results, ultimately enhancing their site's visibility and performance in the digital landscape.