Whatever You Required To Learn About The X-Robots-Tag HTTP Header

Posted by

Search engine optimization, in its the majority of standard sense, relies upon something above all others: Search engine spiders crawling and indexing your website.

However nearly every website is going to have pages that you don’t want to consist of in this expedition.

For example, do you truly desire your privacy policy or internal search pages showing up in Google results?

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

Fortunately, Google allows web designers to inform online search engine bots what pages and material to crawl and what to neglect. There are numerous methods to do this, the most typical being using a robots.txt file or the meta robotics tag.

We have an excellent and in-depth explanation of the ins and outs of robots.txt, which you need to definitely 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 offers crawlers with guidelines about the website as a whole, while meta robots tags consist of directions for specific pages.

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

Both robots.txt and meta robots tags are useful tools to keep in your tool kit, but there’s also another method 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 web pages are crawled and indexed by spiders. As part of the HTTP header response to a URL, it controls indexing for an entire page, along with the particular components on that page.

And whereas using meta robots tags is relatively simple, the X-Robots-Tag is a bit more complicated.

However this, obviously, raises the question:

When Should You Utilize The X-Robots-Tag?

According to Google, “Any instruction that can be used in a robots meta tag can likewise be specified as an X-Robots-Tag.”

While you can set robots.txt-related instructions in the headers of an HTTP action with both the meta robotics tag and X-Robots Tag, there are specific scenarios where you would want to utilize the X-Robots-Tag– the 2 most common being when:

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

For instance, if you wish to block a specific image or video from being crawled– the HTTP reaction technique makes this easy.

The X-Robots-Tag header is likewise helpful due to the fact that it permits you to combine several tags within an HTTP response or use a comma-separated list of regulations to specify directives.

Perhaps you do not desire a particular page to be cached and want it to be not available after a particular date. You can utilize a combination of “noarchive” and “unavailable_after” tags to advise search engine bots to follow these instructions.

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

The benefit of utilizing an X-Robots-Tag with HTTP reactions is that it enables you to use routine expressions to perform crawl regulations on non-HTML, along with apply parameters on a bigger, global level.

To help you comprehend the difference in between these instructions, it’s useful to classify them by type. That is, are they crawler directives or indexer regulations?

Here’s a helpful cheat sheet to describe:

Crawler Directives Indexer Directives
Robots.txt– utilizes the user agent, allow, prohibit, and sitemap directives to specify where on-site search engine bots are permitted to crawl and not permitted to crawl. Meta Robots tag– allows you to specify and prevent search engines from revealing particular pages on a site in search results.

Nofollow– permits you to define links that should not pass on authority or PageRank.

X-Robots-tag– permits you to manage how defined file types are indexed.

Where Do You Put The X-Robots-Tag?

Let’s say you want to obstruct particular file types. A perfect method would be to add the X-Robots-Tag to an Apache setup or a.htaccess file.

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

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

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

Let’s state 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:

location ~ * . pdf$

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

Header set X-Robots-Tag “noindex”

Please note that understanding how these instructions work and the effect they have on one another is vital.

For example, what takes place if both the X-Robots-Tag and a meta robots tag lie when spider bots find a URL?

If that URL is blocked from robots.txt, then certain indexing and serving regulations can not be found and will not be followed.

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

Look for An X-Robots-Tag

There are a couple of different methods that can be used to check for an X-Robots-Tag on the website.

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

Screenshot of Robots Exemption Checker, December 2022

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

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

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

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

This will show you which sections of the website are utilizing the tag, together with which specific directives.

Screenshot of Shrieking Frog Report. X-Robot-Tag, December 2022 Using X-Robots-Tags On Your Site Comprehending and managing how search engines engage with your website is

the cornerstone of seo. And the X-Robots-Tag is a powerful tool you can utilize to do just that. Just be aware: It’s not without its risks. It is really easy to make a mistake

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

So long as you use it carefully, take your time and examine your work, you’ll discover the X-Robots-Tag to be a beneficial addition to your arsenal. More Resources: Featured Image: Song_about_summer/ Best SMM Panel