Robots.txt file not found

Webmasters generate a text file called “robots.txt” to provide instructions for web robots (usually search engine robots) on how to crawl the pages of their websites. In simple words, the robots.txt file plays a significant role in ensuring the website can be found online. 

The information that search engine crawlers use to determine which pages of a website should be scanned initially and which pages should not receive any attention can be found in the online resource section. When you need to prevent search engines from accessing certain portions of a web page or the website, that’s when the robots.txt file is utilized.

How does robots.txt work?

A text file using UTF-8 encoding is referred to as a robots.txt file. This file can be accessed using the FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS protocols. The encoding type is quite significant because if the robots.txt file is encrypted in a different format, the search engine won’t be able to read the document and identify which parts of the site should be recognized and which ones should be ignored.

Why fixing robots.txt issues is important

Improper commands from the file that impede search crawlers will continue if the “robots.txt not found” problem is not fixed. As a result, the site’s ranking could drop, and the traffic data could be inaccurate. Furthermore, your site’s pages will be crawled without your knowledge if search engines miss the robots.txt file. To ensure that your website runs efficiently, the robots.txt file must function correctly.

What causes robots.txt issues

When you get the “robots.txt not found” response that usually means search crawlers have encountered one of the following: 

  • The location of the text file is found at a different URL.
  • There is no sign of the robots.txt file anywhere on the website.

The robots.txt file can be found in the root directory of the main domain and the directories of any subdomains. If you include subdomains as part of a site audit, the file needs to be accessible. If it’s not accessible the crawler will give an error message indicating that robots.txt is not found.

How to correct robots.txt file errors

It’s essential to debug your robots.txt file to ensure that search engine spiders will respond appropriately. You can do that by reviewing the file to correct any of the following typos that are present in the secured text:

  • Disallow or allow belongs at the end of the statement. If the directives are anywhere else they need to be moved.
  • Several page URLs that aren’t in the same directive.
  • Typos in the robots.txt file name.
  • Using all capital letters in robots.txt.
  • Insufficient information regarding the user-agent.
  • Absence of the directive in the phrase: disallow or allow.
  • Incorrect URI; the space should be specified using $ and /.

In addition to reviewing pages for these issues, validation tools for search engines can be used to examine the robots.txt file. It’s also a good idea to utilize services like Google’s robots.txt tester to ensure your site is accessible.

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