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

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

However nearly every website is going to have pages that you do not want to include in this exploration.

For instance, do you truly desire your privacy policy or internal search pages appearing in Google results?

In a best-case situation, these are doing nothing to drive traffic to your site actively, and in a worst-case, they might be diverting traffic from more vital pages.

Luckily, Google enables web designers to inform online search engine bots what pages and material to crawl and what to overlook. There are numerous ways to do this, the most typical being utilizing 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 should absolutely check out.

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

Robots.txt provides spiders with guidelines about the site as a whole, while meta robots tags consist of instructions for particular pages.

Some meta robotics tags you may use consist of index, which informs online search engine to add the page to their index; noindex, which tells 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 a whole host of others.

Both robots.txt and meta robotics tags are useful tools to keep in your tool kit, however there’s likewise 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 way for you to control how your websites are crawled and indexed by spiders. As part of the HTTP header action to a URL, it manages indexing for an entire page, in addition to the particular aspects on that page.

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

But this, obviously, raises the question:

When Should You Utilize The X-Robots-Tag?

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

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

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

For example, if you wish to obstruct a specific image or video from being crawled– the HTTP action technique makes this simple.

The X-Robots-Tag header is also helpful since it permits you to combine numerous tags within an HTTP reaction or use a comma-separated list of regulations to specify directives.

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

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

The benefit of utilizing an X-Robots-Tag with HTTP reactions is that it allows you to utilize regular expressions to perform crawl instructions on non-HTML, along with use specifications on a larger, international level.

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

Here’s a convenient cheat sheet to discuss:

Crawler Directives Indexer Directives
Robots.txt– uses the user agent, allow, disallow, and sitemap instructions to specify where on-site online search engine bots are permitted to crawl and not permitted to crawl. Meta Robots tag– allows you to define and avoid search engines from revealing specific pages on a website in search engine result.

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

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

Where Do You Put The X-Robots-Tag?

Let’s say you want to obstruct specific file types. An ideal method would be to add the X-Robots-Tag to an Apache configuration or a.htaccess file.

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

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

So that sounds terrific in theory, but what does it look like in the real life? Let’s have 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 below:

area ~ * . pdf$

Now, let’s look at a different scenario. Let’s say we wish to use the X-Robots-Tag to block image files, such as.jpg,. gif,. png, and so on, from being indexed. You might do this with an X-Robots-Tag that would look like the below:

Header set X-Robots-Tag “noindex”

Please keep in mind that comprehending how these instructions work and the impact they have on one another is essential.

For example, what takes place if both the X-Robots-Tag and a meta robotics tag lie when crawler bots discover 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 instructions are to be followed, then the URLs consisting of those can not be prohibited from crawling.

Check For An X-Robots-Tag

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

The simplest method to check is to install a browser extension that will inform you X-Robots-Tag information about the URL.

Screenshot of Robots Exemption Checker, December 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

the cornerstone of seo. And the X-Robots-Tag is an effective tool you can utilize to do just that. Simply understand: It’s not without its threats. It is really simple to slip up

and deindex your entire site. That stated, if you read this piece, you’re most likely not an SEO beginner.

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