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What is Crawler Directives in Digital Marketing?

Learn all about digital marketing, we have built this glossary to help you understand everything to thrive in online marketing and promoting your website or business.

What are Crawler Directives?
Robots.txt or crawler directives are rules given to web crawlers or bots that navigate through different sites on the internet. They tell the bot what pages to crawl and which ones to ignore, heavily shaping the site’s SEO by controlling its visibility on search engine results.
These directives are of two types: index/noindex affecting the visibility of your page on search engine results, and follow/nofollow determining link equity transfer.
In essence, by correctly implementing and managing crawler directives, any digital marketer can take control of their site’s visibility on search engines - a vital part of driving organic traffic to their website.
Crawler Directives' Role in Digital Marketing
Effective control of bot behavior is essential for any digital marketer. With crawler directives, marketers can prioritize how search engines index their site's content - maximizing the visibility of key pages and decreasing the attention to less critical or duplicate ones.
By carefully strategizing the navigation of bots through their website, marketers can significantly impact their SEO rankings. This strategy ensures that the most influential pages receive the library treatment, thus likely to acquire a higher search engine ranking.
Note that misusage or non-compliance of crawler directives could potentially lead to SEO disasters such as dropped rankings or being completely deindexed. Therefore, understanding and correctly using crawler directives should be a key concern in your digital marketing strategy.
Crawler Directives Examples
Here are a few examples of crawler directives: 'User-agent: *' tells all bots that the following directives apply to them, 'Disallow: /' prevents all bots from crawling all parts of a site, and 'Allow: /' instructs bots they can access all parts of a site.
You can also prevent specific pages from being indexed with directives such as 'Disallow: /non-important-page/' . On the flip side, to ensure a particular page is crawled and indexed, the 'Index' directive is placed. Explicitly stating these directives will ultimately dictate better SEO rankings for your site.
You can use these various examples to inform your crawler directives strategy, guiding bots to the most SEO-valuable pages and protecting those that you would prefer to keep private.