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Google Updates Its Robots Text File Testing Tool

By Author: Jamie Judson
Total Articles: 7

Who would have thought that little text file in your root directory could be so important? Google obviously realizes the importance of crawling the web and caching content within websites while making it searchable. It is leaps and bounds above the competition in search engine technology and innovation. For years Google has enjoyed the leading market share of the search industry and overall presence on the web. They have cornered multiple markets on the internet and have expanded their sights and focus to just about every web concept imaginable.

The robots.txt file is placed in the main directory of most websites. You probably have a robots.txt file of your own if you have your own website. Search engines ask your sites permission to cache and crawl content by querying the robots.txt file in your root directory first. The robots.txt file, properly setup, allows or disallows content and directories to be cached and crawled. With a simple, "disallow," command in your robots.txt file, you would be limiting content that Google caches. You can answer for each directory located on your server separately. For instance, you may put a response in your robots.txt that allows Google or other search engines to crawl and cache your content in a specific directory such as "pictures." You however would not want Google to attempt to crawl or cache your "admin" directory. In this case, you simply tell Google via your robots.txt file to "disallow" the "admin" directory, preventing its contents and structure from being cached or crawled.

Google has now updated its tool to test your robots.txt file so that you may do the sometimes tedious task of scanning through a text file line by line, much easier. Some website administrators may have trouble with Google crawling their websites or caching certain content that is allowed. The robots.txt tool will tell you if and where the blockage exists. The new tool also allows you to review previous versions of your robots.txt file and compare them. Many times, websites are inadvertently blocking elements such as CSS or JavaScript from Google. In these cases the robots.txt testing tool may be beneficial in targeting where the specific problem exists.

The robots.txt testing tool is located at Google Webmaster Tools website (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/) under the "Crawl" section. Website administrators and webmasters are encouraged to test their robots.txt file for possible errors or warnings that could cause problems with Google crawling their websites. If you are having known problems with Google crawling your website, this tool will show you specifically where. This should also give you a good idea of what you need to do to fix it.

Ensuring the "Googlebot" can crawl elements on your site that you expect to be cached on it is search engine is important and relative to your web presence and search ranking. The more content you have available to be crawled and cached, the more visibility you will have on the web and specifically on Google.com. A well configured robots.txt file can direct Google or any search engine to the specific content you want shared, while also acknowledging which content should not be shared. Google's new updated robots.txt testing tool should take the hassle out of tracking down possible errors with your site and content being crawled or cached into Google's enormous and perpetually growing search results.

Search Optics Inc. is a leader in digital marketing solutions for the automotive industry. Search Optics’ car dealer SEO services include custom websites, search engine optimization, paid search and mobile solutions that generate leads which result in sales opportunities. Search Optics specializes in car dealer marketing and automotive SEO services.

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