Everything You Need To Understand About The X-Robots-Tag HTTP Header

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Search engine optimization, in its many standard sense, relies upon something above all others: Online search engine spiders crawling and indexing your website.

However almost every website is going to have pages that you do not want to consist of in this expedition.

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

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

Luckily, Google enables webmasters to inform online search engine bots what pages and content to crawl and what to overlook. There are numerous methods to do this, the most common 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 must absolutely check out.

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

Robots.txt provides crawlers with instructions about the site as an entire, while meta robots tags include instructions for specific pages.

Some meta robotics tags you may use consist of index, which tells search engines to add the page to their index; noindex, which informs it not to include a page to the index or include it in search results page; follow, which instructs 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 work tools to keep in your tool kit, however there’s likewise another way to instruct 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 web pages are crawled and indexed by spiders. As part of the HTTP header reaction to a URL, it manages indexing for a whole page, along with the specific elements on that page.

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

But this, naturally, raises the concern:

When Should You Utilize The X-Robots-Tag?

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

While you can set robots.txt-related regulations in the headers of an HTTP action with both the meta robots tag and X-Robots Tag, there are specific 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 wish to serve directives site-wide instead of on a page level.

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

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

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

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

The benefit of using an X-Robots-Tag with HTTP reactions is that it allows you to utilize routine expressions to execute crawl directives on non-HTML, along with use parameters on a bigger, global level.

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

Here’s a convenient cheat sheet to describe:

Crawler Directives Indexer Directives
Robots.txt– utilizes the user agent, enable, disallow, and sitemap regulations to specify where on-site online search engine bots are allowed to crawl and not permitted to crawl. Meta Robots tag– enables you to define and prevent search engines from revealing specific pages on a website in search results.

Nofollow– permits you to specify links that need to not pass on authority or PageRank.

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

Where Do You Put The X-Robots-Tag?

Let’s say you want to block particular file types. An ideal technique 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 great in theory, but what does it appear like in the real world? Let’s have a look.

Let’s state we desired search engines 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 appear like the listed below:

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

Now, let’s look at a various situation. Let’s state we want to utilize 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 understanding how these directives work and the impact they have on one another is essential.

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

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

If regulations are to be followed, then the URLs consisting of those can not be disallowed from crawling.

Look for An X-Robots-Tag

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

The simplest way to examine is to set up a browser extension that will inform you X-Robots-Tag information about the URL.

Screenshot of Robots Exclusion Checker, December 2022

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

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

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

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

This will show you which areas of the website are using the tag, along with which specific instructions.

Screenshot of Shouting 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 foundation of seo. And the X-Robots-Tag is a powerful tool you can use to do simply that. Simply know: It’s not without its threats. It is really easy to slip up

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

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