Mastering best practices for Robots.txt and Sitemap files

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Robots.txt and Sitemap


For improve referencing of your websiteit is essential to optimise access to search engines such as Google.

The Robots.txt and Sitemap files play a crucial role in this process, as they help to guide the indexing robots.

In this article, discover 10 key points for mastering these two tools and optimising the use of them. SEO of your site.

Robots.txt and Sitemap

1. Understanding the purpose of the Robots.txt file

The Robots.txt file is an essential element that informs the search engines on how they should crawl and index the pages of your site. This file gives instructions to the indexing robots so that they do not access certain parts of your site that are unnecessary to the referencing or containing confidential information (customer accounts, administrative sections, etc.).

2. Structuring your Robots.txt file

A well-structured Robots.txt file must respect a precise format to be understood by the robots of the search engines. It must contain "user-agent" blocks and "user-agent" directives. Disallow ". Here's an example:

User-agent : *
Disallow : /prive-folder/
Disallow : /confidential-page.html

This structure indicates that all robots (user-agent: *) are not authorised to access the folder named "private-folder" and the page named "private-page".

3. Use the main commands in the Robots.txt file

Several commands can be used to give instructions to robots in the Robots.txt file. Here are the main ones:

  • Disallow : is used to restrict access to a specific page or folder.
  • Allowallows access to a page or folder, even if its parent directory is blocked by a "Disallow" rule.
  • Crawl-delay : tells the robots the minimum time to wait between two exploration requests on the site.
  • Sitemap : specifies the location and URL of the Sitemap XML file.

4. Do not abuse access restrictions

Too many restrictions in the Robots.txt file can prevent proper exploration and indexation of your site by the search engines. It is therefore important not to block certain pages unnecessarily and to check that your directives do not hinder the indexing process.

5. Creating an XML Sitemap file

The Sitemap XML file lists all the URLs in your website. It helps search engine spiders to quickly discover and index the content of your site, by showing them the tree structure and how often each page is updated. To create this file, you can use an online generator, dedicated software or build it manually.

6. Organising and prioritising URLs in the Sitemap

It is important to organise and prioritise the URLs in your Sitemap file to help search engines better understand the structure of your site. Here are a few tips:

  1. Prioritise URLs that are important and relevant for search engine optimisation.
  2. Include only URLs that are accessible to indexing robots.
  3. Prioritise the different navigation levels (categories, sub-categories, pages).

7. Updating your Sitemap regularly

It is essential to update your Sitemap file regularly, adding new pages and removing deleted pages. Frequent updating will help search engines to quickly index changes made to your site.

8. Do not include too many URLs in the same Sitemap file

The standards imposed by the main search engines limit the number of URLs in a Sitemap file to 50,000. If your site contains more URLs, you will need to create additional Sitemap files and index them via a Sitemap Index.

9.1 Informing search engines of the location of the Sitemap file

To help indexing robots find your Sitemap file, you can include its URL directly in your Robots.txt file using the "Sitemap" command:

Sitemap : https://www.votresite.com/sitemap.xml

9.2 Using dedicated search engine tools to submit your Sitemap

Another method is to manually submit your Sitemap file via the dedicated platforms of the main search engines (Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools). This will also enable you to obtain statistics and information on the crawling and indexing of your site.

10. Optimising access to Robots.txt and Sitemap files for better referencing

In conclusion, mastering the best practices of the Robots.txt and XML Sitemap files is essential for improving the SEO of your website. These two tools are complementary and should be used in parallel to guide search engines in exploring and indexing your pages.

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