How Bing's New Robots.txt Tester Can Help SEOs Identify Crawling Issues

Since the beginning of the search engine age, webmasters and SEOs have constantly been looking for reliable and efficient tools to manage their websites relationship with web robots/crawlers/spiders. While robots exclusion protocol gives the power to inform web robots and crawlers which sections of a website should not be processed or scanned, the growing number of search engines and parameters have forced SEOs and webmasters to search for their robots.txt file amongst the millions of folders on their hosting servers, editing them without guidance and sometimes making errors that result in unoptimised crawling.

Bing themselves have both identified and understand this webmaster frustration, prompting the creation of their new and enhanced robots.txt tester tool. The robots.txt tester tool is designed to help webmasters not only evaluate their robots.txt file and identify any crawling optimisation issues by Bing and other robots; but, also guides them step-by-step from fetching the latest file to uploading the same file at the appropriate address.  

The download option provides a step by step process of updating the file that includes downloading the edited file, uploading the same on the domains root which can be checked for a live version and lastly requesting Bing to update the same

How SEOs can make use it

The new Bing robots.txt tester tool can be used by SEOs to test and validate their robots.txt file, or to check whether a URL is blocked, which statement is blocking it and for which user agent.

Bing has also introduced an editor, where changes to the robots.txt files can also be made. The in-built test functionality can check submitted URL’s against the content of the editor, therefore allowing SEOs and webmasters to check the URL for errors on the spot.

The edited robots.txt file can be downloaded to be updated offline and, if changes to it have been made from elsewhere, the fetch option can be used to retrieve the latest version of the file.

The tester operates as Bingbot and AdIdxbot (the crawler used by Bing Ads) would and there’s an option to toggle between the two. The tool also enables SEOs to submit a request to let Bing know that your robots.txt file has been updated.

A useful tool for busy SEOs

Following all of the required formats and syntax related to the robots.txt file can be complex and time-consuming, which can often lead to errors, resulting in suboptimal crawling. SEOs can use Bing’s robots.txt testing tool to highlight crawling issues, enabling them to troubleshoot and validate their robots.txt files more easily.

Struggling to manage your robots.txt file?

To find out more about how our professional marketers can help you optimise and manage your robots.txt file, call Ben Keeley on 01323 735800, or email Alternatively, you can fill in our contact form and Ben will get back to you.

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