Robots.txt plays a crucial role in managing the activities of web crawlers to prevent excessive workload on your website and to avoid indexing pages that are not intended for public access.
Here are a few reasons highlighting the importance of using a robots.txt file:
- Enhance Crawl Budget Optimization
Crawl budget refers to the number of pages that search engines like Google crawl on your website within a specific timeframe. This number is influenced by factors such as the size of your site, its overall health, and the number of backlinks it possesses.
If the number of pages on your website is, at most, the allocated crawl budget, there is a risk of having unindexed pages that won’t rank in search results, resulting in wasted effort. By utilizing robots.txt to block unnecessary pages, search engine crawlers, like Googlebot, can allocate more crawl budget to pages that truly matter.
Note: For most website owners, the crawl budget is a minor concern, as stated by Google. It is primarily relevant for larger sites with a significant number of URLs.
- Prevent Indexing of Duplicate and Non-Public Pages
Not all pages on your website need to be crawled by search bots, especially pages not intended to be displayed in search engine results pages (SERPs). These may include staging sites, internal search results pages, duplicate content, or login pages, often managed by content management systems.
For instance, WordPress automatically disallows crawler access to the login page “/wp-admin/”. By utilizing robots.txt, you can effectively block these types of pages from being crawled.
- Secure the Privacy of Resources
In some situations, keep specific resources such as PDFs, videos, or images private or prioritize indexing more important content by search engines.
In such cases, robots.txt allows you to exclude these resources from being crawled and subsequently indexed.
Implementing a robots.txt file lets you control search engine crawlers and ensure they focus on relevant pages while respecting privacy and preventing unnecessary indexing of certain content.