Everything You Required To Know About The X-Robots-Tag HTTP Header

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Seo, in its many fundamental sense, trusts something above all others: Online search engine spiders crawling and indexing your website.

But nearly every site is going to have pages that you don’t want to include in this exploration.

For example, do you really want your personal privacy policy or internal search pages showing up in Google results?

In a best-case situation, these are not doing anything to drive traffic to your site actively, and in a worst-case, they might be diverting traffic from more crucial pages.

Fortunately, Google enables web designers to tell search engine bots what pages and material to crawl and what to neglect. There are a number of methods to do this, the most common being using a robots.txt file or the meta robots tag.

We have an outstanding and comprehensive description of the ins and outs of robots.txt, which you must absolutely read.

However in top-level terms, it’s a plain text file that resides in your site’s root and follows the Robots Exemption Procedure (REPRESENTATIVE).

Robots.txt provides spiders with instructions about the website as an entire, while meta robotics tags include directions for specific pages.

Some meta robotics tags you may employ consist of index, which tells online search engine to add the page to their index; noindex, which informs it not to add a page to the index or include it in search results page; follow, which advises an online search engine to follow the links on a page; nofollow, which informs it not to follow links, and a whole host of others.

Both robots.txt and meta robotics tags are useful tools to keep in your tool kit, but there’s likewise another way to advise search engine bots to noindex or nofollow: the X-Robots-Tag.

What Is The X-Robots-Tag?

The X-Robots-Tag is another method for you to manage how your webpages are crawled and indexed by spiders. As part of the HTTP header action to a URL, it manages indexing for a whole page, in addition to the particular aspects on that page.

And whereas using meta robotics tags is fairly uncomplicated, the X-Robots-Tag is a bit more complicated.

However this, obviously, raises the concern:

When Should You Use The X-Robots-Tag?

According to Google, “Any directive that can be utilized in a robotics meta tag can likewise be defined as an X-Robots-Tag.”

While you can set robots.txt-related directives in the headers of an HTTP response with both the meta robots tag and X-Robots Tag, there are particular situations where you would wish to use the X-Robots-Tag– the two most typical being when:

  • You want to control how your non-HTML files are being crawled and indexed.
  • You want to serve instructions site-wide instead of on a page level.

For example, if you want to obstruct a particular image or video from being crawled– the HTTP response approach makes this simple.

The X-Robots-Tag header is also helpful because it enables you to combine multiple tags within an HTTP response or use a comma-separated list of regulations to specify directives.

Maybe you don’t desire a specific page to be cached and desire it to be not available after a certain date. You can utilize a mix of “noarchive” and “unavailable_after” tags to advise search engine bots to follow these guidelines.

Essentially, the power of the X-Robots-Tag is that it is far more flexible than the meta robotics tag.

The benefit of utilizing an X-Robots-Tag with HTTP actions is that it enables you to utilize routine expressions to carry out crawl directives on non-HTML, as well as use specifications on a larger, global level.

To help you understand the distinction between these regulations, it’s helpful to categorize them by type. That is, are they crawler instructions or indexer instructions?

Here’s a convenient cheat sheet to describe:

Spider Directives Indexer Directives
Robots.txt– uses the user agent, permit, disallow, and sitemap directives to define where on-site online search engine bots are allowed to crawl and not enabled to crawl. Meta Robots tag– allows you to define and prevent search engines from showing specific pages on a website in search results.

Nofollow– permits you to define links that need to not hand down authority or PageRank.

X-Robots-tag– enables you to control how specified file types are indexed.

Where Do You Put The X-Robots-Tag?

Let’s state you wish to block particular file types. A perfect method would be to include the X-Robots-Tag to an Apache setup or a.htaccess file.

The X-Robots-Tag can be added to a website’s HTTP reactions in an Apache server setup via.htaccess file.

Real-World Examples And Uses Of The X-Robots-Tag

So that sounds terrific in theory, however what does it appear like in the real life? Let’s take a look.

Let’s say we wanted online search engine not to index.pdf file types. This setup on Apache servers would look something like the below:

Header set X-Robots-Tag “noindex, nofollow”

In Nginx, it would look like the listed below:

place ~ * . pdf$

Now, let’s look at a different situation. Let’s state we want to utilize the X-Robots-Tag to obstruct image files, such as.jpg,. gif,. png, etc, from being indexed. You could do this with an X-Robots-Tag that would appear like the below:

Header set X-Robots-Tag “noindex”

Please keep in mind that comprehending how these directives work and the effect they have on one another is important.

For example, what occurs if both the X-Robots-Tag and a meta robotics tag are located when spider bots find a URL?

If that URL is obstructed from robots.txt, then certain indexing and serving directives can not be discovered and will not be followed.

If instructions are to be followed, then the URLs including those can not be prohibited from crawling.

Look for An X-Robots-Tag

There are a few various approaches that can be used to look for an X-Robots-Tag on the site.

The simplest method to inspect is to set up a browser extension that will tell you X-Robots-Tag information about the URL.

Screenshot of Robots Exclusion Checker, December 2022

Another plugin you can utilize to figure out whether an X-Robots-Tag is being used, for instance, is the Web Developer plugin.

By clicking the plugin in your web browser and navigating to “View Action Headers,” you can see the different HTTP headers being used.

Another technique that can be utilized for scaling in order to pinpoint problems on websites with a million pages is Yelling Frog

. After running a website through Yelling Frog, you can navigate to the “X-Robots-Tag” column.

This will show you which sections of the site are using the tag, along with which particular regulations.

Screenshot of Yelling Frog Report. X-Robot-Tag, December 2022 Using X-Robots-Tags On Your Site Comprehending and controlling how search engines interact with your site is

the foundation of seo. And the X-Robots-Tag is an effective tool you can utilize to do simply that. Simply understand: It’s not without its dangers. It is extremely simple to slip up

and deindex your whole website. That said, if you’re reading this piece, you’re most likely not an SEO newbie.

So long as you utilize it wisely, take your time and inspect your work, you’ll find the X-Robots-Tag to be an useful addition to your arsenal. More Resources: Included Image: Song_about_summer/ Best SMM Panel