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

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Seo, in its most standard sense, trusts one thing above all others: Search engine spiders crawling and indexing your site.

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

For example, do you really desire your personal privacy policy or internal search pages appearing in Google results?

In a best-case situation, 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.

Thankfully, Google allows web designers to inform search engine bots what pages and content to crawl and what to overlook. There are a number of methods to do this, the most common being using a robots.txt file or the meta robotics tag.

We have an outstanding and detailed explanation of the ins and outs of robots.txt, which you need to definitely read.

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

Robots.txt supplies crawlers with guidelines about the site as a whole, while meta robotics tags include instructions for specific pages.

Some meta robotics tags you may utilize 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 tells it not to follow links, and a whole host of others.

Both robots.txt and meta robots tags are useful tools to keep in your tool kit, however there’s also another method to advise online 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 websites are crawled and indexed by spiders. As part of the HTTP header reaction to a URL, it manages indexing for a whole page, as well as the particular elements on that page.

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

However this, of course, raises the question:

When Should You Utilize The X-Robots-Tag?

According to Google, “Any regulation that can be used in a robots meta tag can also be defined as an X-Robots-Tag.”

While you can set robots.txt-related directives in the headers of an HTTP reaction with both the meta robots tag and X-Robots Tag, there are certain circumstances where you would want to utilize the X-Robots-Tag– the two most common being when:

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

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

The X-Robots-Tag header is also useful since it allows you to combine several tags within an HTTP reaction or use a comma-separated list of instructions to specify instructions.

Maybe you don’t want a certain page to be cached and desire it to be unavailable after a specific date. You can use a mix of “noarchive” and “unavailable_after” tags to instruct online search engine bots to follow these instructions.

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

The advantage of using an X-Robots-Tag with HTTP reactions is that it enables you to use regular expressions to carry out crawl instructions on non-HTML, along with use specifications on a larger, global level.

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

Here’s a handy cheat sheet to explain:

Spider Directives Indexer Directives
Robots.txt– uses the user agent, enable, prohibit, and sitemap directives to define where on-site search engine bots are permitted to crawl and not enabled to crawl. Meta Robotics tag– allows you to specify and avoid search engines from revealing specific pages on a website in search results page.

Nofollow– enables you to specify links that ought to not hand down authority or PageRank.

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

Where Do You Put The X-Robots-Tag?

Let’s say you want to obstruct specific 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 configuration via.htaccess file.

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

So that sounds excellent 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 configuration on Apache servers would look something like the below:

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

In Nginx, it would appear like the below:

location ~ * . pdf$ add_header X-Robots-Tag “noindex, nofollow”;

Now, let’s take a look at a different circumstance. Let’s say we want to use the X-Robots-Tag to block image files, such as.jpg,. gif,. png, and so on, 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 keep in mind that understanding how these directives work and the effect they have on one another is important.

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

If that URL is blocked from robots.txt, then particular indexing and serving directives can not be discovered 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 techniques that can be used to look for an X-Robots-Tag on the website.

The simplest way to inspect is to set up an internet browser extension that will tell you X-Robots-Tag information 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 used, for instance, is the Web Designer plugin.

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

Another method that can be utilized for scaling in order to pinpoint problems on sites with a million pages is Shrieking Frog

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

This will show you which sections of the site are using the tag, in addition to which particular directives.

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

the foundation of seo. And the X-Robots-Tag is a powerful tool you can utilize to do just that. Simply know: It’s not without its risks. It is extremely simple to make a mistake

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

So long as you utilize it carefully, take your time and check your work, you’ll find the X-Robots-Tag to be a helpful addition to your toolbox. More Resources: Included Image: Song_about_summer/ Best SMM Panel