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.


Must read articles about Crawl directives

SEO for a new website: the very first things to do

seo for a new website - first things to do

How does a new website start ranking? Does it just magically appear in Google after you’ve launched it? What things do you have to do to start ranking in Google and get traffic from the search engines? Here, I explain the first steps you’ll need to take right after the launch of your new website. »

Categories: Content SEO, Technical SEO
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Preventing your site from being indexed, the right way

5 June 2017 by Joost de Valk » - 9 Comments

prevent your site being indexed

We’ve said it in 2009, and we’ll say it again: it keeps amazing us that there are still people using just a robots.txt files to prevent indexing of their site in Google or Bing. As a result their site shows up in the search engines anyway. You know why it keeps amazing us? Because robots.txt »

Category: Technical SEO
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Block your site’s search result pages

10 May 2017 by Michiel Heijmans » - 14 Comments

block internal search pages

Why should you block your internal search result pages for Google? Well, how would you feel if you are in dire need for the answer to your search query and end up on the internal search pages of a certain website? That’s one crappy experience. Google thinks so too. And prefers you not to have these internal »

Categories: Technical SEO, User eXperience (UX)
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SEO basics: What is crawlability?

20 February 2017 by Marieke van de Rakt » - 6 Comments

what is crawlability

Ranking in the search engines requires a website with flawless technical SEO. Luckily, the Yoast SEO plugin takes care of (almost) everything on your WordPress site. Still, if you really want to get most out of your website and keep on outranking the competition, some basic knowledge of technical SEO is a must. In this post, »

Categories: SEO basics, Technical SEO
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Ask Yoast: should I redirect my affiliate links?

6 February 2017 by Joost de Valk » - 1 Comment

Ask Yoast stopwords in focus keywords

There are several reasons for cloaking or redirecting affiliate links. For instance, it’s easier to work with affiliate links when you redirect them, plus you can make them look prettier. But do you know how to cloak affiliate links? We explained how the process works in one of our previous posts. This Ask Yoast is »

Category: Technical SEO
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Ask Yoast: nofollow layered navigation links?

30 January 2017 by Joost de Valk » - 4 Comments

Ask Yoast stopwords in focus keywords

If you have a big eCommerce site with lots of products, layered navigation can help your users to narrow down their search results. Layered or faceted navigation is an advanced way of filtering by providing groups of filters for (many) product attributes. In this filtering process, you might create a lot of URLs though, because the user »

Categories: eCommerce, Technical SEO
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How to cloak your affiliate links

24 January 2017 by Joost de Valk » - 11 Comments

cloak affiliate links

We regularly consult for sites that monetize, in part, with affiliate links. We usually advise people to redirect affiliate links. In the past, we noticed that there wasn’t a proper script available online that could handle this for us, so we created one to tackle this problem. In this post, I explain how you can get »

Category: Technical SEO
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Playing with the X-Robots-Tag HTTP header

3 January 2017 by Joost de Valk » - 2 Comments

cloak affiliate links

Traditionally, you will use a robots.txt file on your server to manage what pages, folders, subdomains or other content search engines will be allowed to crawl. But did you know that there’s also such a thing as the X-Robots-Tag HTTP header? Here, we’ll discuss what the possibilities are and how this might be a better »

Category: Technical SEO
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Don’t block CSS and JS files

2 January 2017 by Michiel Heijmans » - 4 Comments

you should not block your CSS and JS files

In 2015, Google Search Console already started to actively warn webmasters not to block CSS and JS files. In 2014, we told you the same thing: don’t block CSS and JS files. We feel the need to repeat this message now. In this post, we’ll explain why you shouldn’t block these specific files from Googlebot. Why you »

Category: Technical SEO
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Crawl budget optimization

5 July 2016 by Joost de Valk » - 3 Comments

crawl budget

What is a crawl budget? Crawl budget is the number of pages Google will crawl on your site on any given day. This number varies slightly from day to day, but overall it’s relatively stable. The number of pages Google crawls, your “budget”, is generally determined by the size of your site, the “health” of your »

Category: Technical SEO
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