Understanding the role of Disallow in SEO

Through our SEO Agency Optimize 360

on the theme : Technical SEO

The world of natural referencing is littered with techniques and methods for improving the visibility and performance of a website. website on search engines.

Among these aspects, the Disallow is an essential part of any webmaster wishing to have precise control over access to its site by search engine spiders.

In this article, we'll explain what the Disallow directive is in SEO and how it works.


What is the Disallow directive?

The Disallow directive is an instruction used in the robots.txtwhich allows the owner of a website to define which parts of their site should not be crawled or indexed by search engine spiders such as Google, Bing or Yahoo.

This file is placed at the root of the website and must be accessible to crawlers so that they can take account of the instructions it contains before proceeding to explore the site's content.

Using the Disallow directive can be particularly useful for preventing certain sensitive pages, duplicate content or files that are not relevant for referencing from being taken into account during the indexing process.

This ensures that only relevant resources from your site appear in the search engine results.

Example of Disallow syntax

To use the Disallow directive in your robots.txt file, simply add the following line:

Disallow : /pagepath/

This instruction tells search engine spiders not to crawl or index the page located at the address "/pagepath/".

Common mistakes when using Disallow

Although the Disallow directive can offer greater control over access to and indexing of your site by search engines, it is important to be vigilant when using it, as certain errors can have negative consequences for the SEO of your site.

Incorrect location of the robots.txt file

The robots.txt file must be placed at the root of your site in order to be taken into account by the robots. For example, for a site accessible at www.example.com, the file should be located at www.example.com/robots.txt. If this is not the case, the instructions contained in the file will not be taken into account and your site may be poorly indexed by search engines.

Incorrect use of syntax

Using the Disallow directive requires a good understanding of its syntax: a space between "Disallow" and the path to the page is necessary for it to be taken into account correctly.

Unintentional blocking of important resources

When using the Disallow directive, take care not to block access to important resources for your referencing, such as the CSS or JavaScript necessary for your site to look its best.

Alternatives and complements to Disallow

While the Disallow directive allows simplified management of the rules governing access to your site by search engines, certain situations require more specific means. Here are a few alternatives and complements that you can use:

  • Allow : This directive allows you to authorise access to a specific resource which would otherwise have been blocked by an encompassing Disallow directive. For example, if you want to deny access to an entire folder but allow access to a particular page, you can use the following combination :
Disallow : /dossier-a-bloque/
Allow : /dossier-a-bloc/page-autorisee/
  • Noindex : If you want to prevent a page from being indexed without preventing robots from accessing it, you can use the noindex meta tag in the code HTML of the page in question :

This tag instructs search engine spiders not to include the page in their indexwhile allowing it to be explored.

Take account of the sitemap.xml file

In addition to the directives used in the robots.txt file, you can provide a sitemap.xml to search engines to make it easier to discover and index the resources on your site.

This file should also be placed at the root of your site and should list all the URLs you want indexed, as well as information about how often they are updated or their relative importance.

In short, the Disallow directive is a valuable tool for any webmaster who wants to control access to his site by search engines, and contributes to the success of a website's natural referencing.

By mastering this technique, as well as its alternatives and complements, you will be able to effectively manage the visibility of your content on search engines and guarantee the best possible positioning in their results.

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