Crawl directives

There are multiple ways to tell search engines how to behave on your site. These are called “crawl directives”. They allow you to:

  • tell a search engine to not crawl a page at all;
  • not to use a page in its index after it has crawled it;
  • whether to follow or not to follow links on that page;
  • a lot of “minor” directives.

We write a lot about these crawl directives as they are a very important weapon in an SEO’s arsenal. We try to keep these articles up to date as standards and best practices evolve.


Beginners level

Yoast SEO & Ryte: Checking your site’s indexability »

You probably know that Yoast SEO helps you determine what should and should not be indexed. But did you know that it also checks if your site is indexable or not? Thanks to Ryte, we can check if your site is still reachable for both search engine bots and visitors. This is the indexability check.

Expert level

The ultimate guide to robots.txt »

The robots.txt file is a file you can use to tell search engines where they can and cannot go on your site. Learn how to use it to your advantage!


Must read articles about Crawl directives


Recent Crawl directives articles

Preventing your site from being indexed, the right way »

Trying to prevent indexing of your site by using robots.txt is a no-go, use X-Robots-Tag or a meta robots tag instead! Here's why.

spider traps

The ultimate guide to robots.txt »

The robots.txt file is a file you can use to tell search engines where they can and cannot go on your site. Learn how to use it to your advantage!

noindex a post with meta robots noindex

hreflang: the ultimate guide »

This guide discusses what hreflang is, what it is for and gives in-depth information on how to implement it for your multilingual websites.

Yoast SEO friendly copy in foreign language
Browse through our Crawl directives content posts. »