Crawler directives are instructions or rules used to guide search engine crawlers when they visit and analyze a website. These directives are used to control how search engines crawl, index, and rank a website, and they are typically included in the website’s HTML code or separate files such as robots.txt or meta tags.
Types of crawler directives:
Robots.txt: A file placed in the root directory of a website that can be used to indicate which pages or sections of the website should not be crawled by search engines. The robots.txt file uses a specific syntax to indicate which user agents (search engine crawlers) should follow the rules and which pages should be disallowed.
Meta Robots Tag: A meta tag that can be included in the HTML code of a webpage and that can be used to indicate whether a page should be indexed or not and if links on the page should be followed.
X-Robots-Tag HTTP header: A HTTP header that can be used to indicate whether a page should be indexed and if links on the page should be followed, similar to the meta robots tag.
Canonical Tag: A tag that can be used to indicate the preferred version of a webpage when multiple URLs access the same content. This helps search engines to understand which version of the page should be indexed and which should be ignored. It helps avoid duplicate content issues.
Sitemap: A file that lists all the URLs of a website and that can be used to indicate to search engines which pages of the website should be crawled and indexed.
By using crawler directives, website owners and webmasters can control how search engines crawl and index their websites, and they can ensure that the most important pages are being crawled and indexed. It’s important to note that not all search engines follow the same rules, and some may ignore specific directives. Therefore, it’s important to stay informed about the latest guidelines and best practices for crawler directives and monitor the website’s performance and indexing status using the webmaster tools provided by search engines.
Also, See: Crawl Budget