1. What is robots.txt?
Robots.txt is a standard text file that is used for websites or web applications to communicate with web crawlers (bots). It is used for web indexing or spidering. It will help the site that ranks as highly as possible by the search engines.
The robots.txt file is an integral part of the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) or Robots Exclusion Standard, a robot exclusion standard that regulates how robots will crawl the web pages, index, and serve that web content up to users.
Web Crawlers are also known as Web Spiders, Web Robots, WWW Robots, Web Scrapers, Web Wanderers, Bots, Internet Bots, Spiders, user-agents, Browsers. One of the most preferred Web Crawler is Googlebot. This Web Crawlers are simply called as Bots.
The largest use of bots is in web spidering, in which an automated script fetches, analyzes, and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. More than half of all web traffic is made up of bots.
Many popular programming languages are used to created web robots. The Chicken Scheme, Common Lisp, Haskell, C, C++, Java, C#, Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby programming languages all have libraries available for creating web robots. Pywikipedia (Python Wikipedia bot Framework) is a collection of tools developed specifically for creating web robots.
Examples of programming languages based open-source Web Crawlers are
- Apache Nutch (Java)
- PHP-Crawler (PHP)
- HTTrack (C-lang)
- Heritrix (Java)
- Octoparse (MS.NET and C#)
- Xapian (C++)
- Scrappy (Python)
- Sphinx (C++)
2. Different Types of Bots
a) Social bots
Social Bots have a set of algorithms that will take the repetitive set of instructions in order to establish a service or connection works among social networking users.
b) Commercial Bots
The Commercial Bot algorithms have set off instructions in order to deal with automated trading functions, Auction websites, and eCommerce websites, etc.
c) Malicious (spam) Bots
The Malicious Bot algorithms have instructions to operate an automated attack on networked computers, such as a denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks by a botnet. A spambot is an internet bot that attempts to spam large amounts of content on the Internet, usually adding advertising links. More than 94.2% of websites have experienced a bot attack.
d) Helpful Bots
The bots will helpful for all customers and companies and make Communication over all the Internet without having to communicate with a person. for example, e-mails, chatbots, and reminders, etc.
3. List of Web Crawlers or User-agents
List of Top Good Bots or Crawlers or User-agents
Google Mobile Adsense
Google Plus Share
Facebook External Hit
List of Top Bad Bots or Crawlers or User-agents
HTTrack Website Copier/3.x
Crescent Internet ToolPak HTTP OLE Control v.1.0
Note:- If you need more names of Bad Bots or Crawlers or User-agents with examples in the TwinzTech Robots.txt File.
4. Basic format of robots.txt
User-agent: [user-agent name]
Disallow: [URL string not to be crawled]
The above two lines are considered as a complete robots.txt file. one robots file can contain multiple lines of user agents names and directives (i.e., allows, disallows, crawl-delays, and sitemaps, etc.)
It has multiple sets of lines of user agent’s names and directives, which are separated by a line break for an example in the below screenshot.
Use # symbol to give single line comments in robots.txt file.
5. Basic robots.txt examples
Here are some regular robots.txt Configuration explained in detail below.
Allow full access
Block all access
Block one folder
Block one file or page
6. How to create a robots.txt file
Robots files are in text format we can save as text (.txt) Formats like robots.txt in editors or environments. See the example in the below screenshot.
7. Where we can place or find the robots.txt file
The website owner wishes to give instructions to web robots. They place a text file called robots.txt in the root directory of the webserver. (e.g., https://www.twinztech.com/robots.txt)
This text file contains the instructions in a specific format (see examples below). Robots that choose to follow the instructions try to fetch this file and read the instructions before fetching any other file from the website. If this File doesn’t exist, web robots assume that the web owner wishes to provide no specific instructions and crawl the entire site.
8. How to check my website robots.txt on the web browser
Go to web browsers and enter the domain name in the address bar of the browser and add forward slash like /robots.txt and enter and see the file details (https://www.twinztech.com/robots.txt). See the example in the below screenshot.
9. Where we can submit a robots.txt on Google Webmasters (search console)
Follow the below example screenshots and submit the robots.txt on webmasters (search console).
1. Add a new site property on search console-like as below screenshot (if you have a property on search console leave the first point and move to second).
2. Click your site property and see the new options on screen and select the crawl options on the left side is as shown in the below screenshot.
3. Click the robots.txt tester option in crawl options is as shown in the below screenshot.
4. After clicking the robots.txt tester option in crawl options, we can see the new options on screen and click the submit button is as shown in the below screenshot.
10. Examples of how to block specific web crawler from a specific page/folder
The above syntax tells only Bing crawler (user-agent name Bingbot) not to crawl the page that contains the URL string https://www.example.com/example-page/ and not to crawl any pages that contain the URL string https://www.example.com/example-subfolder-name/.
11. How to allow and disallow a specific web crawler in robots.txt
# Allowed User Agents
The above syntax tells to Allow the user-agent name called rogerbot for crawling/reading the pages on the website.
# Disallowed User Agents
The above syntax tells to Disallow the user-agent name called dot bot for not crawling/reading the pages on the website.
12. How To Block Unwanted Bots From a Website By Using robots.txt File
Due to security we can avoid or block unwanted bots using the robots.txt file. The List of unwanted bots is blocking by the help of robots.txt File.
# Disallowed User Agents
User-agent: HTTrack Website Copier/3.x
The above syntax tells to Disallow the unwanted bots or user-agents names for not crawling/reading the pages on the website.
See the below screenshot with examples
13. How to add Crawl-Delay in robots.txt file
In the robots.txt file, we can set Crawl-Delay for specific or all bots or user-agents
The above syntax tells Baiduspider should wait for 6 MSC before crawling each page.
The above syntax tells all user-agents should wait for 6 MSC before crawling each page.
14. How to add multiple sitemaps in robots.txt file
The examples of adding multiple sitemaps in the robots.txt file are
The above syntax tells us to call out multiple sitemaps in the robots.txt File.
15. Technical syntax of robots.txt
There are five most common terms come across in a robots file. The syntax of robots.txt files includes:
User-agent: The command specifies the name of a web crawler or user-agents.
Disallow: The command giving crawl instructions (usually a search engines) to tell a user-agent not to crawl the page or URL. Only one “Disallow:” line is allowed for each URL.
Allow: The command giving crawl instructions (usually a search engines) to tell a user-agent to crawl the page or URL. It is only applicable for Googlebot.
Crawl-delay: The command should tell how many milliseconds a crawler (usually a search engines) should wait before loading and crawling page content.
Note: that Googlebot does not acknowledge this command, but crawl rate can be set in Google Search Console.
Sitemap: The command is Used to call out the location of any XML sitemaps associated with this URL.
Note: This command is only supported by Google, Ask, Bing, and Yahoo search engines.
Here we can see the Robots.txt Specifications.
16. Pattern-matching in robots.txt file
With the help of Pattern-matching in the robots.txt File, we can control the bots by the two characters are the asterisk (*) and the dollar sign ($).
1. An asterisk (*) is a wildcard that represents the sequence of characters.
2. Dollar Sign ($) is a Regex symbol that must match at the end of the URL/line.
17. Why is robots.txt file important?
Search Engines crawls robots.txt File first, and next to your website, Search Engines will look at your robots.txt File as instructions on where they are allowed to crawl or visit and index or save on the search engine results.
Robots.txt files are very useful and play an important role in the search engine results; If you want search engines to ignore or disallow any duplicate pages or content on your website do with the help of robots.txt File.
How To Hire SEO Services To Help You Grow Your Business?
How To Hire SEO Services To Help You Grow Your Business? Who is an SEO freelancer, and SEO Agency, look out for when hiring for SEO services
Many businesses (local or international) want to have better rankings on search engine result pages, meaning more traffic and more sales. But the process involves doing this isn’t common knowledge, especially amid competitors; hence an expert is required.
The expert here has to optimize a business website to rank well on Google or any other search engine. Finding the right service, especially if it’s your first time, can be a daunting task.
The difficulty involved is understandable, especially when one looks at the uncertainties of a service like this.
Well, we’re here to simplify the process for you and build confidence while doing so.
This article is going to take you close to knowing what’s required or expected from a freelancer or agency offering freelance Search Engine Optimization services.
Before we get further let’s clear the air about the differences between an SEO freelancer and an agency.
1. Who is an SEO freelancer?
An SEO freelancer is mostly an individual who offers SEO services, usually a small part of the process. When hiring an SEO freelancer, it’s not always for a whole task as this wouldn’t just sit right.
For instance, you can hire an SEO freelancer to build backlinks of a particular type of drive social signal to your domain name. The whole SEO process of a business or company will be too much for a single person to handle.
To hire an SEO freelancer, it means you know precisely what you want to be given. To be as straightforward as possible, only an SEO expert is advised to hire a freelancer; otherwise, you should consider hiring an SEO agency.
2. What is an SEO Agency?
This is an organized team offering SEO services holistically. They comprise of a group of experts handling all SEO parts and sometimes give the custom report. Of course, they come at a higher cost from its sound, but if you ask me which is better, I will pick the SEO agency any day. Example of an Agency is Webfx.
Let’s get down to a more critical part of this article.
3. What to look out for when hiring for SEO services?
Some things can determine if you’re about to hire the right SEO service provider or not. Consider the following tips:
a. Previous jobs:
This has got to be the most important tip on our list. Finding out previous jobs handled by an agency or whoever you’re hiring makes you ascertain if your site will be in safe hands. Previous positions are done and how it pans out can give you confidence showing that your site is in safe hands.
You can take the niches and the projects’ sizes into consideration as this will give a heads up on what the service provider can handle.
b. What problems are easily spotted:
This is where a site audit comes in – it doesn’t have to be in-depth at this stage, but a brief point where a problem is visible can go a long way to show proficiency.
Many tools out there can generate a quick audit it’s left for your potential employee to add words to it, it can be compared to your competitors. Not all site audits can be done by an online tool, so it’s left for the agency to prove its expertise.
c. Possible fixes:
Remember, at this interview stage, things must not be necessarily in-depth, but answers should be able to pinpoint possible holes.
This can be derived from the site audit gotten from a previous stage.
Most agencies are always glad to lay down what needs to be done as this is a stage where new clients are convinced or lost.
d. When do I start seeing results?
This is probably the first thing in every employer’s mind. SEO takes time to kick in; no one no matter the level of expertise can say for sure the day or week results will be seen. However, a time frame is predictable.
The experts should be able to put curiosity to rest and estimate when results should turn for the better.
e. The price:
Of course, there’s a price, and this will determine whether the deal goes through or not. Unlike, freelance SEO services SEO agencies have a list of packages where you can choose from.
These packages make sure everything is well spelt out, so you don’t have to pay extra charges when the project is underway.
f. What happens when the contract is over?
Being concerned about the post-contract period is also necessary. Questions like “Will my site be in the upward trend after the project?”, “Will things go wrong after the project?” “What should I expect after this contract expires?”
This is where you can learn on small things to keep doing or to avoid si you reap from your investment in the long run.
4. Where can you find SEO service providers?
You can hire freelancers from platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, where you find people worldwide who offer different SEO services listed there. One way to find out the right man for the job is by looking at reviews from past clients. Also, looking out specifically for people on your niche should be a factor too.
Finding an agency isn’t difficult as a simple search on Google will lead to a list where you can start your digging to find the one that suits you in all sense.
Some of the well-known agencies are:
- Ignite Visibility
- Straight North
- Super Star SEO and many more.
For a list of top SEOs agencies, you can go here. You might also want to use a local SEO service in your country, which may come with its advantages – Google has also got you covered.
In this time, you shouldn’t be in haste, as hiring a low SEO service provider can result in very harsh consequences. So, make sure to take your time.
You can also do more than talk to an agency you want to hire; you can perform an underground check to ensure their expertise. No right service provider goes unnoticed – something somewhere must have been saying about their services.
Lastly, getting yourself a braced with SEO basics is necessary as everything can make sense even if you can’t do them yourself.
Should I Hire An Agency Or Build An In-House Digital Marketing Team?
Hire An Agency Or Build An In-House Digital Marketing Team? Why Hire A Digital Marketing Agency, Why Build House Digital Marketing Team
You are confused about whether you should hire a digital marketing agency or build your digital marketing team? Read to know the pros and cons, along with the differences between both of them to make the right decision for your successful business growth.
Don’t Wear Different Hats! Hire A Digital Marketing Specialist!
If you aim high to expand your visibility and drive more organic traffic your way, you will need to take your marketing quo an inch higher.
It can be difficult and not-so-beneficial to look after digital marketing with already handling too many operational responsibilities. After all, it is a whole new world of different elements and strategies.
So, hiring digital marketing experts can help you scale up the game. But the immense confusion is to decide whether you should hire a digital marketing agency or build an in-house digital marketing team.
If you wonder what is more cost-effective and can drive better results, find the full breakdown of both to decide what approach your brand needs.
1. Why Hire A Digital Marketing Agency?
Hiring a digital marketing agency is somewhat more beneficial because it offers a more extensive range of services and has a bigger team of experts from different spheres.
The hiring rate for agencies has substantially gone higher after the pandemic because these experts can work from home without joining your team physically.
However, assessing the agency’s expertise and work ethics can be more challenging. Furthermore, there are countless meetings, long hours of discussion, and lengthy contracts involved.
- Digital marketing agencies have specialists with years of experience onboard.
- They work with multiple clients at the same time and have a higher level of competence.
- In most cases, a highly-renowned digital agency will have prior experience in your domain. So, they already know effective tactics to expand your business outreach.
- Their diverse team includes one digital marketing specialist for almost every strategy so that different marketing perspectives are carried on at the same time. So, you get a pool of talent when you hire an agency.
- Apparently, hiring an agency drives better results even when you are not paying for different individuals.
- Moreover, agencies are more scalable and provide strategic insights into your effective business plan to grow your brand.
- You have to fully trust a digital marketing agency and its strategies to see where the ideas lead you without interfering in or gaining a dominant control over the agency’s plans.
- Digital agencies are quite expensive compared to hiring a few employees who do their respective jobs in your workspace.
2. Why Build an In-House Digital Marketing Team?
In most cases, the challenge of finding the right people and the high budget lead people to prefer the other marketing approach, i.e. building their own in-house digital marketing team.
Well, making your marketing team isn’t at all a bad option if you hire potential candidates carefully. Moreover, you can easily hire freshers at a much lower cost.
- Having digital experts in your workspace increases their engagement and passion for learning and growing.
- By physically joining your office, the employees get more familiarity with your brand and have more in-depth knowledge about your needs.
- If you hire the right employees, you can form a dynamic team that goes hand-in-hand with your company.
- Your employees are only focused on your business goals which are opposite to the case of an agency where one digital marketing expert handles multiple clients simultaneously.
- You have full control over your team, meetings, and the entire marketing plan.
- Building an in-house team also gives you the flexibility to change the strategy, restructure your team, or even fire the employee if there is a severe lack of work ethics, skills, or motivation. On the contrary, you need to sign a fixed contract with agencies where you don’t get enough flexibility.
- Finding the right talent and employees with years of experience is difficult.
- A team of few candidates can sometimes be less efficient and take more time to finish specific projects.
- Building your team not just requires hiring new people but also requires purchasing premium software, enough resources, furniture, and a large workspace.
3. The Bottom Line
Crafting and implementing a well-deliberated marketing plan needs expertise and is time-consuming. With the right digital marketing expert around, you can gradually reach your target audience, generate more leads, and get a high return on investment within a year.
If you have a valuable network of marketing experts, are low on budget, or have a highly innovative product that needs more people to work on consistently, you should go for an in-house digital marketing team.
Contrarily, if you are on a higher budget, aiming for bigger goals, and looking for renowned experts, an agency is the right choice for you. So, the decision primarily depends on your requirements and long term business plans.
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