When it comes to your website, it’s important to put your best (digital) foot forward. This may mean keeping some pages hidden from Googlebot as it crawls your site. Luckily, robots.txt files allow you to do just that.
Below, we’ll discuss the importance of robots.txt files and how to simply generate robots.txt with free tools.
What Is a Robots.txt File?
Before we get into the super helpful (not to mention free!) robots.txt generator tools you should check out, let’s talk about what a robots.txt file actually is and why it is important.
On your website, there may be pages you don’t want or need Googlebot to crawl. A robots.txt file tells Google which pages and files to crawl and which to skip over on your website. Think of it as an instruction manual for Googlebot to save time.
Here’s how it works.
A robot wants to crawl a website URL such as http://www.coolwebsite.com/welcome.html . First, it scans for http://www.coolwebsite.com/robots.txt and finds:
The disallow section tells Google (or another search engine bot specified) to skip crawling certain elements or pages of a website.
Want to know more? Read our helpful Robots.txt guide.
Here are some examples of some popular sites’ robots.txt files:
Apple’s robots.txt files include a range of pages around its retail and mobile shopping experience.
In this example, Starbucks has implemented a crawl delay. This represents how many seconds a robot should wait before crawling a page. You can adjust crawl rate through Google Search Console, but there is often no need to do so.
When a bot lands on the Disney Plus website, it will not crawl any of these billing, account or settings pages. The disallow message makes it clear that the bot should skip these URLs.
Now that you know what a robots.txt file is, let’s talk about why it is important.
Why is a Robots.txt File Important?
A robots.txt file serves many SEO purposes. For one, it quickly and clearly helps Google understand which pages on your site are more important and less important.
Robots.txt files can be used to hide website elements like audio files from appearing in search results. Note, you shouldn’t use a robots.txt file to hide pages from Google, but it can be used to control crawler traffic.
Google’s crawl budget guide makes it clear that you don’t want your server to be:
- overwhelmed by Google’s crawler or
- waste crawl budget crawling unimportant or similar pages on your site.
How do you create a robots.txt file? Glad you asked.
How To Create a Robots.txt File
There is a very specific way to format robots.txt files for Google. Any given website is only allowed to have a single robots.txt file. The first thing to know is that a robots.txt file needs to be placed in the root of your domain.
See Google Search Central for specific instructions on how to create robots.txt files manually. We will make it easy on you by providing the 10 best robots.txt generator tools you can use for free!
10 Free Robots.txt Generator Tools
In no particular order, let’s get started with the free generators!
1. SEO Optimer
Seo Optimer’s tool offers a clean interface to create a robots.txt file for free. You can set a crawl-delay period and specify which bots are allowed or refused to crawl your site.
Ryte’s free generator has three options to choose from for generating a robots.txt file: allow all, disallow all, and customize. The customize option allows you to specify which bots you want to affect and includes step-by-step instructions.
3. Better Robots.txt (WordPress)
The Better Robots.txt WordPress plugin helps boost your website’s SEO and loading capabilities. It is supported in 7 languages and can protect your data and content from bad bots. Download this awesome plugin for your WordPress site!
4. Virtual Robots.txt (WordPress)
The Virtual Robots.txt WordPress plugin is an automated solution to creating a robots.txt file for your WordPress website. By default, the plugin blocks some parts of your website and allows access to parts of WordPress good bots need to access.
5. Small SEO Tools
Small SEO Tools’ free generator is another simple tool you can use to create a robot.txt file. It uses drop-down bars for each different bot’s preferences. You can select allowed or refused for each bot.
6. Web Nots
Web Nots’ robots.txt generator tool is similar to the Small SEO Tools’ generator because of its simplistic design. It uses drop-down bars as well and has a section for restricted directories. You can download the robots.txt file when you are finished.
7. Search Engine Reports
Search Engine Reports’ generator has sections to drop your site map and any restricted directories. This free tool is a great option for generating a robots.txt file easily.
8. The SEO Tools
The SEO Tools’ free generator is a straightforward and quick solution to creating a robots.txt file for your website. You can set a crawl-delay if you’d like and enter your site map. Click “Create and Save as Robots.txt” when you’re finished selecting the options you want.
9. SEO To Checker
SEO To Checker’s robot.txt generator is another great tool to use to create a robots.txt file. You can add your site map and update preferences for all the search robots.
10. Google Search Console Robots.txt Tester
Google Search Console has a great robots.txt tester you can use after you generate a robots.txt file. Submit your URL to the tester tool to see if it is properly formatted to block Googlebot from certain elements you want to hide.
Level Up Your Website with Technical Tips from Markitors!
The tools above offer easy and quick ways to create a robots.txt file. But a healthy, well-performing site goes beyond robots.txt. To give your website the visibility it needs, improving technical SEO is essential.
From assessing and enhancing site speed to ensuring proper indexing, there are many ways to optimize your site. Markitors is here to help your small business with technical SEO. Schedule a consultation today!