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This is one of the areas where precise terminology is key. However, the vast majority of casual conversations (and indeed some official resources) tend to be quite lax.
Would not a person of ordinary intelligence interpret this to mean that a file in a roboted-out directory will stay out of the index, once removed?
If we have evidence that a page is good, we can return that reference even though we haven't crawled the page.
Could you please tell me WHEN/WHY DO I NEED A ROBOTS.TXT, THEN? I beg, could anyone please explain it to me precisely?
And why do I need to keep them off my pages/files when they can simply ignore the robots.txt and index those pages/files in their SERPs through external, internal links to those pages/files?
You use robots.txt to keep Google off your page. It stops them knowing stuff. That's it.
Real-world reasons for employing it include, but are not limited to
- Preserving Crawl budget (CSS files might not need crawling)
- Blocking file directories (/images/)
- Creating bad spider lists (block a directory, link to it in a hidden link, ban anything that finds its way there)
That's one reason I like robots.txt for a quick control on query string "sort" parameters and the like. Sorted product URLs are very easily inserted into social media links by well-intentioned fansI was wondering why you did not use a Canonical instead for all the pages with query string(sort)?
I once described someone as the world's leading authority on such-and-such obscure subject. I didn't and still don't know if he really is, but I haven't seen any serious competition. Months later it occurred to me that it should be possible to look it up.
Oh, now this sounds promising: an article by the person I named. I've read the article; it's damn good. Maybe I glossed over an introduction by some equally knowledgeable person, describing him as the world's leading et cetera.
No luck. Maybe in some older, cached version. This comes with the g### boilerplate, informing me that my search terms only appear in pages that link to this page. Let's stop right there.
The key point is that I got a search-engine hit based purely on the text that linked to a page. It happened to be my own link, and the page happened to be fully indexed in its own right-- but both of those are tangential. The significant part is that it was a search that could have occurred in real life.
That's one reason I like robots.txt for a quick control on query string "sort" parameters and the like. Sorted product URLs are very easily inserted into social media links by well-intentioned fans, The robots.txt file is a down and dirty way to stop crawling from generating a mess of duplicate content as well as messing up the quality of your site's googlebot crawl altogether.
...I'd suggest that less aggressive indexing here would be helpful. I can't imagine why Google would want to return a link to a blocked page.
I have very mixed thoughts about Google's aggressive indexing, btw. As a web professional who knows what I want indexed and what I don't, Google's aggressiveness in indexing has been a PITA. As a searcher looking for important information where webmasters have been too inept to make it visible, I can understand what Google's doing, and occasionally I've been glad they've done it.
Bottom line, if you don't want something indexed, use noindex and/or password protection.
A description for this result is not available because of this site's robots.txt – learn more
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 3:26 am (utc) on Sep 12, 2012]
since they are crawling where explicitly banned from?
Should I be in touch with a lawyer
How can I remove these phantom pages from serps since Google is ignoring my directives?
This page has been blocked by robots.txt but is still indexed?
#82407. [project "Other Search Features"] For pages that we do not crawl because of robots.txt, we are usually unable to generate a snippet for users to preview what's on the page. This change added a replacement snippet that explains that there's no description available because of robots.txt.