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Robots & User-Agents
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Overview: Robots are a means to communicate with search engines about which pages to index and which to follow (spider). Learn how to write robots that communicate easily with search engines on exactly which pages you want indexed and spidered.

Robots or user-agents are automated scripts and programs that visit websites and attempt to index all links and content that they find on your webpages. If robots are not given instructions on what they can index and spider, they'll keep following links on your site until there's no more, indexing everything it finds. While this may be a great utility to save time on submitting each individual page to a search engine, this also may pose some problems. Many websites offer dynamic content through scripts and databases which generally should not be indexed since there can be an infinite number of webpage. In order to create a governing set of rules that would interact with the search engine robots on which files to index and which to skip, a standard has been created called the Standard For Robot Exclusion which involves the creation of a robots.txt file placed in the root web directory. Alternatively, some users do not have access to write files to the root web directory and as such another supported format is through the use of Robots META Tags. Server side (robots.txt) robots syntax has been described below with two examples. To easily create a robots file or robots META tag, we've created an online Robots Generator which will create the code for you in a matter of seconds.

Server Side Robots (robots.txt) Usage

The robots.txt file is a plain text file placed into your web root directory such that any client can access it by going to yoursite.com/robots.txt. If you cannot create a file to this location, you'll need to implement a META Robot instead.

robots.txt Usage:
File Location: "/robots.txt"
General Usage: User-agent: <AGENT>
Disallow: /PATH/

<AGENT> represents the name of a search engine Agent or use an asterisk (*) to represent all agents.
PATH represents a relative path which you do not want to access.
Examples: User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin/

Comments: The above will tell all robots to not index anything in the /cgi-bin/ directory

User-agent: ia_archiver
Disallow: /

Comments: The above will tell the robot called ia_archiver to not access anything on this webserver. All other user-agents will have full access. The user-agent names are available from each individual search engine, or you may use our Robots Generator Script to create your Robots code for you.

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