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To Scan or Not to Scan? What You Don’t Share Matters in SEO

To Scan or Not to Scan? What You Don’t Share Matters in SEO - 1

Businesses of all types and sizes, from small local shops to massive international corporations, need search engine optimization(SEO). Google fields more than 40,000 queries per second, and when so many internet users turn to search engines to direct them to online and in-person purchases, businesses simply cannot afford to ignore SEO. 

Once upon a time, SEO wasn’t all that complicated, because Google used to be about as simple as sharing links. But Google’s ever-changing and top-secret algorithm is much more complex these days. That’s why it takes modern SEO experts to put your business over the top. SEO pros who are up on the latest and greatest SEO techniques can share the right things with search engine spiders. And they’ll understand why it’s best not to share everything. Here’s what we mean.

How search engines work: a refresher

To Scan or Not to Scan? What You Don’t Share Matters in SEO - 2

To understand why we might not want to let search engines scan every last piece of information on our websites, we first need toremember how search engines work. Search engines catalog the internet with thehelp of computer programs called “crawlers” or “spiders”. These programs “crawl”along from website to website, following links to discover new sites and updatetheir search engine’s record of sites it already knows.

Modern spiders are not limited to just crawling and cataloging, however. They can also read instructions and site maps that are shared by websites.

Robots.txt and other tools

One of the tools which web developers and SEO experts use in order to communicate with the spiders is a robots.txt file. The robots .txt file contains information and instructions for the spiders, and so the spiders read it and follow those rules — simple, right?

The main thing that SEO experts do with robots.txt files is tell spiders which parts of the website they should and should not crawl and catalog. In other words, this file is your way of hiding parts of your website from search engines. But why would you want to do that?

Why would you want to hide thingings from search engines?

Search engine optimization is all about making your siteas easy as possible for search engines to notice, and making it the mostattractive candidate for top spots on the search engine results page (SERP). Atfirst glance, it might seem counter productive to keep search engines from looking at any spot on the site, but it has its uses.

There are a few reasons to keep things private when youuse a robots txt generator, according to SEOexperts. For one thing, you want your site to come across as focused on the keywords and concepts that you want to rank for. Things like off-topic content and duplicate content can hurt your rankings, so you’ll want to use the robots.txt file to make sure that search engine spiders don’t mistake a mobile version of your site for spammy duplicate content or look at back-end pages as off-topic nonsense. On top of that, of course, you probably don’t want your site’s back end, content creation tools, and unpublished draft content to be cataloged by a search engine. This is why robots.txt can be so useful.

Smart use of robots.txt will direct search engine crawlers to key things like your website’s site map, while also hiding the stuff that you want hidden. Sometimes, what you don’t share with search engines is just as important as what you do share.