Everything You Need to Know About robots.txt

If you’re a website owner, you’ve likely heard of robots.txt. But what exactly is it and why is it important? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this essential file.

What is robots.txt?

A robots.txt file is a plain text file that tells search engine crawlers which pages or sections of your website they are allowed to access and index. It acts as a roadmap, providing instructions to web robots on where they can and cannot go on your site.

Some common robots.txt directives include:

  • User-agent: specifies which crawler the rule applies to
  • Allow: indicates which pages the crawler is allowed to access
  • Disallow: indicates which pages the crawler is not allowed to access
  • Sitemap: specifies the location of your XML sitemap file

Why is robots.txt important?

Having a properly configured robots.txt file is crucial for SEO and controlling how search engines crawl your site. Some key benefits include:

  • Preventing duplicate content by excluding certain URLs from being indexed
  • Blocking access to private or sensitive pages you don’t want showing up in search results
  • Conserving crawl budget by directing bots away from unimportant pages
  • Specifying the location of your sitemap to help search engines find and index your most important pages

As an SEO agency, Integral Media understands the importance of optimising robots.txt for their clients. In case studies for ACE Audiology and Biogone, they likely used robots.txt to help control indexing and improve organic search performance.

Common robots.txt issues and best practices

Some common issues that can arise with robots.txt include:

  • Blocked by robots.txt: important pages are accidentally disallowed
  • Indexed though blocked by robots.txt: URLs blocked by robots.txt are still getting indexed
  • Disallowing all crawling with Disallow: /
  • Not having a robots.txt file at all

To avoid problems, follow these best practices:

  • Use a robots.txt tester tool to validate your rules
  • Add a crawl-delay directive if you need to limit crawl rate
  • Include a link to your XML sitemap in robots.txt
  • Regularly monitor and update your robots.txt rules


In summary, robots.txt is a powerful tool for controlling search engine crawling and indexing of your website. By understanding the basics of how it works and following best practices, you can optimise your site’s SEO and avoid common pitfalls. If you need help properly configuring robots.txt for your website, consider working with an experienced SEO agency.