A robots.txt file instructs search engine crawlers which webpages and sections they can or can't crawl and index. They exist in a website's root directory (the topmost folder in a file system) and regulate how search engine crawlers should behave while indexing a website.
Think of a robots.txt file as traffic signs for crawlers — steering them toward authorized areas while cautioning against others. Web developers create robots.txt files to regulate how search engines interact with websites, allowing site owners to protect sensitive information, prevent content duplication, and keep maintenance areas hidden.
However, robots.txt files have specific limitations. For example, not all search engines support robot.txt files — Google’s crawlers are likely to follow a file’s rules, but other crawlers may interpret syntax differently. As a result, understanding index-blocking methods, such as the “noindex” directive and the correct syntax, is vital for protecting website information.
Visit Webflow University to learn how to create a robots.txt file for your website.