Blocking Your Robots.txt In Google's Search Results

Dec 27, 2012 • 8:42 am | comments (8) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Have you ever seen your robots.txt file return a match in the Google search results before? Does that upset you? Did you know you can block Google from displaying that file in the search results without blocking Google's access to that file?

This is not a new topic, in 2008 we polled our readers asking if Google should display the robots.txt file in search results and the overwhelming majority said no, Google should not show the content in the search results.

But here is a picture of the robots.txt file showing up in the search results for this site:

robots.txt in google results

But there are ways to block the robots.txt file from showing up in the search results. John Mueller of Google explained it about five years ago:

Hi guys, there are two ways to block your robots.txt from showing up in search results:

- disallow it in your robots.txt (don't worry, we'll still check it); you can then use the Webmaster Tools URL removal tool to have it taken out of the index if it's indexed.

- use the x-robots-tag HTTP header tag with "noindex"

On the other hand, robots.txt URLs generally would not show up in any search results where you have more relevant pages within your site, so this is probably not something you'd want to spend all too much effort on :-).

Forum discussion at StackOverflow and also that old WebmasterWorld thread.

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