The robots.txt file is a text file used to communicate with web crawlers and other automated agents, such as search engine spiders, to inform them which pages or sections of a website they should or should not access.
The robots.txt file is typically located in the root directory of a website (e.g. www.example.com/robots.txt), and it uses a specific syntax to specify which pages should be crawled and which should be ignored.
The syntax of a robots.txt file is as follows:
User-agent: [agent name]
Disallow: [URL or directory]
For example, the following robots.txt file tells all web crawlers not to crawl any pages on the website:
It’s important to note that while a robots.txt file is a widely recognized standard, it is not a guarantee that a page will not be indexed or crawled. Some crawlers may not obey the instructions provided in the robots.txt file, and certain malicious actors may ignore it. Additionally, the robots.txt file only affects the crawling of the website. It does not affect the indexing of the website; for that purpose, the meta robots tag or the HTTP header should be used.
Using robots.txt is a way to communicate with the crawlers and inform them which pages or sections of the website should not be accessed. Still, it should be used with other methods, such as noindex meta tags or redirects, to ensure that sensitive pages are not indexed.
Also, See: Google Search Console