A robots.txt file helps inform search engines what portions of your website should be crawled, cached, and stored and which parts should not be search engine results.
It can be helpful when you want to avoid having a particular web page or asset displayed to search engines.
However, this can be an issue that can lead to an alert in Google Search Console for a “Sitemap must not contain URLs blocked by robots.txt.”
If you did that by mistake, then ignore it. However, it is recommended that people start using robots.txt to organize this content.
This file contains a list of permitted websites and prohibited ones for bots.
You can deal with this “URLs blocked by robots.txt” error message by using the information you provide for the file listed above.
What Is robots.txt?
Robots.txt files are text-based documents that guide precisely what content a search engine bot should crawl for indexing or indexing.
When you publish a brand-new webpage to your website, search engine crawlers look for this text to identify and index it in search results.
You can specify certain sections of your website that you do not want search engines to index, so if you do not want any of those pages of your website to appear on the search results page, indicate that preference.
For example, consider if you’d like to run an exclusive giveaway for your subscriber database that you do not want anyone else to stumble across via search engine results pages.
In this situation, you could define in your robots.txt file that the indicated hiding page must not be indexed.
That way, once your robots.txt file is accessible to the bots, they will be aware that it won’t ever be indexed.
The robots.txt file creation process is simple and can take place automatically or, in the case of certain WordPress websites, manually through a plugin.
Depending on your requirements, you can define various directives in your robots.txt file, including marketing efforts, redirects, robots, or other user-agent settings.
You will save an XML document containing a list of all pages on a website as an XML file, a file robot can send to access all pages.
You may want search engines to access your blog posts to ensure they’re found in the search results.
However, you may not want to provide them access to information for tag pages, as these pages are not likely to convert successfully into leads and should, therefore, not be crawled by search engines.
XML sitemaps also include additional metadata for each URL, for instance, metadata.
And like robot.txt files, an XML sitemap is essential for search engine spiders to discover all your web pages.
It does not merely provide bot spiders to find all of your pages quickly but expresses these pages’ significance.
How Are robots.txt & Sitemaps Related?
In 2006, the Search Engines User Experience Act was passed, in which Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google settled upon a standardized method for submitting a website’s pages using XML sitemaps.
Webmasters were required to submit XML sitemaps for Google Search Console, Yahoo, Webmaster Tools, and Bing.
Other search engines, such as DuckDuckGo, accepted those from Bing, Yahoo, and Google.
Seasoned six months before April 2007, renowned individuals supported a system developed to detect XML sitemaps via robots.txt, called Sitemaps Auto Discovery.
Without submitting your sitemap to the specific search engines, they would find it on your website s robots.txt file.
Because of this, the robots.txt file becomes increasingly significant for web admins as they can easily open the way by following followed endeavors of search engine robots to discover all the pages of their website.
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How To Add Your XML Sitemap to Your Robots.txt File?
Here are three simple steps you can take to include the site of the XML sitemap in your robots.txt file:
Locate Your Sitemap URL
You should confirm that you created your site using a third-party developer before exploiting an XML document to provide your web server with the sitemap.
If you do not have a website, the default will be sitemap.xml. For example, the XML sitemap for https://befound.pt is https://befound.pt/sitemap.xml.
Type this URL in your device’s browser where .com is in place of befound.pt.
Some sites generate more than one XML sitemap, requiring a site map for indexing sitemaps (a sitemap index).
For example, the Yoast SEO plugin is commonly set up on WordPress. If this plugin is used on the website, a sitemap index will be automatically added to sitemap-index.xml.
If you do not install a sitemap on your site, you can make your own using tools.
For instance, the XML Sitemap Generator website lets you create a progressive website sitemap at no cost if you make fewer than 500 pages and include your URL, and there are no pages that you do not wish to be included.
As an alternative, the Sitemaps.org website explains the protocol for making sitemaps.
Locate Your Robots.txt File
You can check whether your site has a robots.txt file by entering see.txt after your domain).
If you don’t have a robots.txt file, you need to create it and add it to the root directory of your web server. To accomplish this, you will need sufficient access to your server.
If you cannot edit the server files directly, look for a strong FTP program that lets you download and add new folders.
The files on these web servers will depend on the software the servers are equipped with.
You should consider seeking a web professional’s help if you need to get used to this sort of data.
Pinpoint the filename required by your robots.txt file. Do not utilize the name and perform Robots.txt together with Robots.txt.
Add Sitemap Location to Robots.txt File
If you want to open your robots.txt file now, find it on the origin of your site. To execute this, you need access to your website s server.
You should ask a web developer or hosting company for directions if you need help locating and editing your site s robots.txt file.
Automating your sitemap file management system is as straightforward as adding an explicit URL to your robots.txt free radical, as shown in the example: Sitemap: http://befound.pt/sitemap.xml.
How Dangerous Are Robots.txt Mistakes?
The robots.txt file controls robots’ access to a website. Specific changes and mistakes in that file might influence the accessibility of a website.
For the most part, this would only sometimes be a big problem.
If, when backing up your website, you resolve any problems with your robot.txt configuration, you can quickly recover from any mistakes in a matter of moments and usually in full.
Common Robots.txt Mistakes
If your website is misbehaving or cannot be found in the search rankings, your robots.txt file can help to identify any errors, syntax mistakes, or overzealous rules.
Let’s examine these errors based upon a more detailed analysis below:
Robots.txt Not in The Root Directory
Unless the default folder is set, they can only find it once you expand the root directory.
That is why only forward slashes should be maintained between the Web site (or equivalent domain), with instructions in the robots.txt file at the URL, and the closing of the robots.txt file.
There may also be additional sub-folders inside. If these folders also contain a file called robots.txt, your website will likely show that the robots.txt file itself doesn’t exist.
This way, you can quickly address the issue by moving your server’s robots.txt file to your root directory. It will also be necessary to grant yourself superuser access to that server.
Poor Use of Wildcards
Two wildcard characters are supported by robots.txt:
Asterisk*: The individual representing any instance of a valid character, such as a Joker, in a deck of cards.
Dollar sign$: Terminating a URL’s end allows you to apply restrictions only to the back of its URL, such as the file type.
Consider using a minimal approach to utilizing wildcards, as they can significantly impact the site’s full functionality.
If you block robot access to the site with a poorly placed asterisk, it may become straightforward to block members from participating.
Occasionally, to deal with wildcard problems, you merely have to locate and remove the incorrectly placed wildcard or restore the wildcard in your robots.txt file.
Noindex In Robots.txt
If your Robots.txt file was created before the specified date or doesn’t contain instructions on nonexistent-index pages, Google’s search results might index such pages.
The most optimal resolution to this problem is to install a meta tag in the head of any web page you want to block Google from indexing. You can deploy the robot tag to accomplish this.
Blocked Scripts and Stylesheets
Keep in mind that your HTML and PHP pages must be visited by Googlebot for your pages to be correctly interpreted.
If you observe that your pages are performing irregularly in Google’s search engine results page (SERPs) or that Google appears to be seeing them wrongly, ensure guest access to all required external files.
No Sitemap URL
When you embed your sitemap into the robots.txt file, Googlebot will start crawling your website sooner than it would traditionally.
This information is essential for your site if you have an organized sitemap.
While a desktop user or a webmaster who might stumble across your site externally is unlikely to encounter any adverse effects stemming from the absence of a sitemap.
Your website’s ineptitude in search results will subsequently detract to some degree from total usability.
Include the sitemap URL of your homepage in the robots.txt file to make your search engine optimization strategy more effective.
Access To Development Sites
Disabling crawling robots from your current web page is not suggested, yet so is offering them autonomous access even though your site is still under construction.
It’s best to include an explicit disallow instruction in the robots.txt file of a website under construction to prevent the world from seeing its contents until it is finished.
Keep in mind that removing this disallow instruction on the website is mandatory once it’s complete.
A phase diagram of the removal from the robots.txt file among web developers is one of the most common mistakes.
If you can remove this after the script runs, your website cannot be correctly crawled and indexed.
If you were to direct traffic to a recently deployed website, or if an individual cannot access your site when attempting to visit it, look for a “universal user agent” disallow rule among your robots.txt files.
If you see this quote saying that you shouldn’t access it (or access it when saying this), make it so that robots.txt has the content and the search engine’s site appearance updates accordingly.
Solving sitemap contains URLs that are blocked by robots.txt
Several site owners mistakenly alter their robots.txt file to block site access, which usually causes an error message.
If you prohibit anything on your website, be cautious; this may block website crawlers and prevent them from gaining access to your site.
Troubleshoot when confronted with a message saying, “Sitemap is present in URLs blocked by robots.txt.”
- Check for any Disallow rules within your robots.txt file; this file should be set to your root directory as follows: https://example.com/robots.txt.
- If you’ve recently transitioned from the HTTP protocol to HTTPS, and created a different property for the protocol, make sure that you update the robots.txt file so it is accessible via HTTPS.
- The Robots.txt Tester function in the Search Console allows you to check whether the robots.txt file on your server or domain generates any errors.
- When Google accesses your robots.txt file, it may take a couple of minutes to recrawl the sitemap. It’s also recommended that you resubmit your sitemap each time you make modifications to ensure all modifications are reflected.
- Navigate to your Search Console property Crawl Fetch as Google to enter Google’s Crawling Guidelines and manually join your site. To do this, go to Crawl Issues on the Crawling tab and fill out the Fetch as Google form. Complete the where you had to add the path to the unsuitable URLs to recrawl by clicking the Request Indexing Crawl only this URL button.
- Clear all of your site’s cache, including any caching plugins you’ve been utilizing and your CDN (if you have one).
If your sitemap contains URLs that are blocked by robots.txt, likely, search engine crawlers will not be able to access and index all of the content on your website.
It could impact your website’s visibility in search engine results pages.
To ensure that all of your website’s content can be found and indexed by search engines, you should check your robots.txt file and make sure that it does not block any URLs in your sitemap.