Here is everything that you need to know about X-Robots-Tag
There are several types of instructions that tell search engines which pages and other content can be crawled and indexed. The most commonly used files are the robots.txt file and the meta robots tag.
The robot.txt file tells search engines to crawl specific parts of your site, be it pages, subdirectories, etc.
In the end, you can create a more optimized analysis by telling Google which fewer essential parts of the site you don’t want to prioritize.
However, keep in mind that search engine robots should not respect this file.
Another common guide is the meta tag of the robot. This controls the index at the page level.
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A robot meta tag can contain the following values:
- Index: allows the search engine to add pages to your index.
- Noindex: Prevents search engines from adding pages to your index and prevents them from appearing in search results for this particular search engine.
- Follow: Tasks the search engine to follow the links on the page so that the crawler can find other pages.
- Nofollow: instructs the search engine not to follow the links on the page.
- None: this is short for noindex, nofollow.
- All: this is a shortcut to the pointer, watch out.
- Noimage index: prevents the search engine from indexing images on the page (if you need to link the image to another site, you can still index the image using the meta tag of the robot).
- Noarchive: tells the search engine not to show the cached version of the page.
- Nocache: same as noarchive tag, but specifically for Bingbot/MSNbot.
- Nosnippet: instructs the search engine not to display text or video.
- Notranslate: tells the search engine not to display the page translation in the search results.
- Unavailable_after: tells the search engine at a specific date and time that they should not show results in the index.
- Noyaca: Ask Yandex tracker not to use the page description in the results.
However, there is another shortcut to indicate noindex instructions, nofollow.
The X-Robots tag differs from the robots.txt file and the robot meta tag in that it is part of the HTTP header, which controls the index of the entire page, in addition to certain elements. On one page
According to Google:
“Any instructions that can be used in the robot meta tag can also be specified as X-Robots-Tag.”
Although you can use the robot and the X-Robots meta tag to define the robots.txt directive in the HTTP response header, in some cases, you may want to use the x-robot tag.
For example, if you want to block a specific image or video, you can use the HTTP response method.
The power of the X-Robots-Tag is that it is more flexible than robotic meta tags.
Generic expressions can also be used by running analysis directives in non-HTML files and applying configurations at a more extensive global level.
To better explain the differences between all of these instructions, it is useful to classify them as types of instructions associated with them. These are directives for tracking or indexing.
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Real-World Examples and Uses of the X-Robots-Tag
To block certain types of files, the ideal solution is to add an X-Robots-Tag to your Apache configuration or .htaccess file.
X-Robots-Tag can be added to the HTTP response on the website in the Apache server configuration via the .htaccess file.
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For example, suppose we want search engines not to index.pdf file types. This configuration on the Apache server is as follows:
In Nginx, it looks like this:
Suppose we want to use X-Robots tags in various scenarios to avoid indexing image files such as .jpg, .gif, png, etc. An example of this is the following:
Understanding the combination of these guidelines and their mutual influence is fundamental.
Suppose that when a scanner finds a URL, it finds the X-Robots-Tag and Meta Robots.
If this URL blocked from robots.txt, some pointers and service instructions are not found and will not be tracked.
If you follow the instructions, you will not be able to exclude the URLs containing them from your analysis.
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Check for an X-Robots-Tag
There are various ways to search for X-Robots tags on your site.
One way is to screaming frogs.
By launching the site using Screaming Frog, you can go to the “Guides” tab, search the “X-Robots-Tag” column and see which parts of the website use this particular tag and guides.
There are also some add-ons, such as a Web Developers Plugin, that let you determine if you are using X-Robots tags.
You can see the various HTTP headers by clicking on the browser plugin and clicking on “Show response header”.
To Sum Up
There are many ways to order search engine bots so that they do not crawl specific parts or resources on a page.
Understanding these issues and how they interact is vital to avoid the basic mistakes of SEO instructions.