A user agent is a computer program representing a person, for example, a browser in a Web context.
Besides a browser, a user agent could be a bot scraping webpages, a download manager, or another app accessing the Web. Along with each request they make to the server, browsers include a self-identifying User-Agent HTTP header called a user agent (UA) string. This string often identifies the browser, its version number, and its host operating system.
Spam bots, download managers, and some browsers often send a fake UA string to announce themselves as a different client. This is known as user agent spoofing.
A typical user agent string looks like this: "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:35.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/35.0".
If you need to verify that the visitor is Google bot, you should use reverse DNS lookup. Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 5.0; SM-G920A) Apple WebKit (HTML, like Gecko) Chrome Mobile Safari (compatible; Abbot- Google -Mobile; +http://www.
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) Apple WebKit/537.36 (HTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ W.×.Y.Z ‡ Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; Google bot/2.1; +http://www. Google .com/bot.html)(Checks Android app page ad quality.
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 4.2.1; en-us; Nexus 5 Build/JOP40D) Apple WebKit/535.19 (HTML, like Gecko; googleweblight) Chrome/38.0.1025.166 Mobile Safari/535.19 ‡ Chrome/ W.×.Y.Z in user agents Where several user -agents are recognized in the robots.txt file, Google will follow the most specific.
Some pages use multiple robots meta tags to specify directives for different crawlers, like this: Robots.txt is a plain text file that follows the Robots Exclusion Standard.
Each rule blocks (or allows) access for a given crawler to a specified file path in that website. The user agent named “Google bot” crawler should not crawl the folder http://example.com/nogooglebot/ or any subdirectories.
The site's Sitemap file is located at http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml Don't use a word processor; word processors often save files in a proprietary format and can add unexpected characters, such as curly quotes, which can cause problems for crawlers.
Use the robots.txt Tester tool to write or edit robots.txt files for your site. This tool enables you to test the syntax and behavior against your site.
The robots.txt file must be located at the root of the website host to which it applies. If you're unsure about how to access your website root, or need permissions to do so, contact your web hosting service provider.
If you can't access your website root, use an alternative blocking method such as meta tags. Groups are processed from top to bottom, and a user agent can match only one rule set, which is the first, most-specific rule that matches a given user agent.
Supports the * wildcard for a path prefix, suffix, or entire string. Allow: A directory or page, relative to the root domain, that should be crawled by the user agent just mentioned.
Supports the * wildcard for a path prefix, suffix, or entire string. Please read the full documentation, as the robots.txt syntax has a few tricky parts that are important to learn.
Keep in mind that in some situations URLs from the website may still be indexed, even if they haven't been crawled. Note: this does not match the various Abbot crawlers, which must be named explicitly.
Please note that any changes you make to your robots.txt file may not be reflected in our index until our crawlers attempt to visit your site again. Just one character out of place can wreak havoc on your SEO and prevent search engines from accessing important content on your site.
Primarily, it lists all the content you want to lock away from search engines like Google. You can also tell some search engines (not Google) how they can crawl allowed content.
Unless you’re careful, disallow and allow directives can easily conflict with one another. If you’re unfamiliar with sitemaps, they generally include the pages that you want search engines to crawl and index.
So you’re best to include sitemap directives at the beginning or end of your robots.txt file. Google supports the sitemap directive, as do Ask, Bing, and Yahoo.
For example, if you wanted Google bot to wait 5 seconds after each crawl action, you’d set the crawl-delay to 5 like so: Google no longer supports this directive, but Bing and Yandex do.
If you set a crawl-delay of 5 seconds, then you’re limiting bots to crawl a maximum of 17,280 URLs a day. That’s not very helpful if you have millions of pages, but it could save bandwidth if you have a small website.
However, until recently, it’s thought that Google had some “code that handles unsupported and unpublished rules (such as no index).” So if you wanted to prevent Google from indexing all posts on your blog, you could use the following directive: If you want to exclude a page or file from search engines, use the meta robots tag or robots HTTP header instead.
No follow This is another directive that Never Google officially supported, and was used to instruct search engines not to follow links on pages and files under a specific path. If you want to no follow all links on a page now, you should use the robots meta tag or robots header.
Having a robots.txt file isn’t crucial for a lot of websites, especially small ones. Note that while Google doesn’t typically index web pages that are blocked in robots.txt, there’s no way to guarantee exclusion from search results using the robots.txt file.
This example blocks search engines from crawling all URLs under the /product/ subfolder that contain a question mark. In this example, search engines can’t access any URLs ending with .pdf.
In other words, you’re less likely to make critical mistakes by keeping things neat and simple. Failure to provide specific instructions when setting directives can result in easily-missed mistakes that can have a catastrophic impact on your SEO.
For example, let’s assume that you have a multilingual site, and you’re working on a German version that will be available under the /DE/ subdirectory. Because it isn’t quite ready to go, you want to prevent search engines from accessing it.
The robots.txt file below will prevent search engines from accessing that subfolder and everything in it: But it will also prevent search engines from crawling of any pages or files beginning with /DE.
These are mainly for inspiration but if one happens to match your requirements, copy-paste it into a text document, save it as “robots.txt” and upload it to the appropriate directory. Robots.txt mistakes can slip through the net fairly easily, so it pays to keep an eye out for issues.
To do this, regularly check for issues related to robots.txt in the “Coverage” report in Search Console. It’s easy to make mistakes that affect other pages and files.
This means you have content blocked by robots.txt that isn’t currently indexed in Google. If this content is important and should be indexed, remove the crawl block in robots.txt.
Once again, if you’re trying to exclude this content from Google ’s search results, robots.txt isn’t the correct solution. Remove the crawl block and instead use a meta robots tag or xrobots-tag HTTP header to prevent indexing.
This may help to improve the visibility of the content in Google search. Here are a few frequently asked questions that didn’t fit naturally elsewhere in our guide.
You can identify the subtype of Google bot by looking at the user agent string in the request. For sites that haven't yet been converted, the majority of crawls will be made using the desktop crawler.
However, due to delays its possible that the rate will appear to be slightly higher over short periods. Google bot was designed to be run simultaneously by thousands of machines to improve performance and scale as the web grows.
Our goal is to crawl as many pages from your site as we can on each visit without overwhelming your server's bandwidth. If that's not feasible, you can send a message to the Google bot team (however this solution is temporary).
It's almost impossible to keep a web server secret by not publishing links to it. If you want to prevent Google bot from crawling content on your site, you have a number of options.
Search engines robots are programs that visit your site and follow the links on it to learn about your pages. The best way to edit it is to log in to your web host via a free FTP client like FileZilla, then edit the file with a text editor like Notepad (Windows) or TextEd it (Mac).
If you don’t know how to login to your server via FTP, contact your web hosting company to ask for instructions. Some plugins, like Yoast SEO, also allow you to edit the robots.txt file from within your WordPress dashboard.
If you want to instruct all robots to stay away from your site, then this is the code you should put in your robots.txt to disallow all: In effect, this will tell all robots and web crawlers that they are not allowed to access or crawl your site.
Important: Disallowing all robots on a live website can lead to your site being removed from search engines and can result in a loss of traffic and revenue. You exclude the files and folders that you don’t want to be accessed, everything else is considered to be allowed.
You simply put a separate line for each file or folder that you want to disallow. The reason for this setting is that Google Search Console used to report an error if it wasn’t able to crawl the admin-ajax.php file.
This sitemap should contain a list of all the pages on your site, so it makes it easier for the web crawlers to find them all. If you want to block your entire site or specific pages from being shown in search engines like Google, then robots.txt is not the best way to do it.
Search engines can still index files that are blocked by robots, they just won’t show some useful metadata. On WordPress, if you go to Settings Reading and check “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” then a no index tag will be added to all your pages.
In some cases, you may want to block your entire site from being accessed, both by bots and people. Keep in mind that robots can ignore your robots.txt file, especially abusive bots like those run by hackers looking for security vulnerabilities.
Also, if you are trying to hide a folder from your website, then just putting it in the robots.txt file may not be a smart approach. If you want to make sure that your robots.txt file is working, you can use Google Search Console to test it.
Using it can be useful to block certain areas of your website, or to prevent certain bots from crawling your site. If you are going to edit your robots.txt file, then be careful because a small mistake can have disastrous consequences.
For example, if you misplace a single forward slash then it can block all robots and literally remove all of your search traffic until it gets fixed. I have worked with a big site before that once accidentally put a “Disallow: /” into their live robots.txt file.
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