Controlling how spiders access your website can be easily overlooked. However, it is important in terms of your site’s search engine optimization. Both Robots.txt and Meta Robots are used to control how spiders access your website. However, they are not equal in terms of how they accomplish this task. Which one should you use?
While Robots.txt can be used to control access to your website, current SEO best practice calls for you to use Meta Robots. For example, when you are seeking to block search engines from accessing a given page, you can block with robots.txt or Meta NoIndex.
Blocking with Robots.txt tells search engines not to crawl the page, but they can index it and display it in the results. Blocking with Meta NoIndex tells search engines they can visit the page, but they cannot display it in the results. Therefore, MetaNoIndex offers the most favorable result.
Additionally, pages using Robots.txt cannot reap the benefits of popularity and trust that comes from accumulating links since they do not allow search engines to crawl them. On the other hand, with meta robots, these pages can be crawled by search engines and their ranking is benefited by their popularity and trust.
While the differences between Robots.txt and Meta Robots may seem small to a lay person, the impact on SEO between the two can be significant. If you’re not sure how you currently are controlling access to your website, you’ll want to talk with your web designer sooner rather than later. It could be impacting your site’s page ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs).