HomeSEOThe Saga Of John Mueller's Freaky Robots.txt

The Saga Of John Mueller’s Freaky Robots.txt

The robots.txt file of the non-public weblog of Google’s John Mueller turned a spotlight of curiosity when somebody on Reddit claimed that Mueller’s weblog had been hit by the Useful Content material system and subsequently deindexed. The reality turned out to be much less dramatic than that but it surely was nonetheless a bit of bizarre.

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The saga of John Mueller’s robots.txt began when a Redditor posted that John Mueller’s web site was deindexed, posting that it fell afoul of Google’s algorithm. However as ironic as that may be that was by no means going to be the case as a result of all it took was a number of seconds to get a load of the web site’s robots.txt to see that one thing unusual was occurring.

Right here’s the highest a part of Mueller’s robots.txt which contains a commented Easter egg for these taking a peek.

The primary bit that’s not seen every single day is a disallow on the robots.txt. Who makes use of their robots.txt to inform Google to not crawl their robots.txt?

Now we all know.

The Saga Of John Mueller’s Freaky Robots.txt

The following a part of the robots.txt blocks all search engines like google and yahoo from crawling the web site and the robots.txt.

The Saga Of John Mueller’s Freaky Robots.txtThe Saga Of John Mueller’s Freaky Robots.txt

In order that in all probability explains why the location is deindexed in Google. However it doesn’t clarify why it’s nonetheless listed by Bing.

I requested round and Adam Humphreys, an online developer and search engine optimization(LinkedIn profile), urged that it is likely to be that Bingbot hasn’t been round Mueller’s website as a result of it’s a largely inactive web site.

Adam messaged me  his ideas:

“Person-agent: *
Disallow: /topsy/
Disallow: /crets/
Disallow: /hidden/file.html

In these examples the folders and that file in that folder wouldn’t be discovered.

He’s saying to disallow the robots file which Bing ignores however Google listens to.

Bing would ignore improperly applied robots as a result of many don’t know the right way to do it. “

Adam additionally urged that possibly Bing disregarded the robots.txt file altogether.

He defined it to me this fashion:

“Sure or it chooses to disregard a directive to not learn an directions file.

Improperly applied robots instructions at Bing are possible ignored. That is probably the most logical reply for them. It’s a instructions file.”

The robots.txt was final up to date someday between July and November of 2023 so it could possibly be that Bingbot hasn’t seen the newest robots.txt. That is smart as a result of Microsoft’s IndexNow internet crawling system prioritizes environment friendly crawling.

One in all directories blocked by Mueller’s robots.txt is /nofollow/ (which is a bizarre title for a folder).

There’s mainly nothing on that web page besides some website navigation and the phrase, Redirector.

I examined to see if the robots.txt was certainly blocking that web page and it was.

Google’s Wealthy Outcomes tester did not crawl the /nofollow/ webpage.

The Saga Of John Mueller’s Freaky Robots.txtThe Saga Of John Mueller’s Freaky Robots.txt

John Mueller’s Clarification

Mueller gave the impression to be amused that a lot consideration was being paid to his robots.txt and he revealed a proof on LinkedIn of what was occurring.

He wrote:

“However, what’s up with the file? And why is your website deindexed?

Somebody urged it is likely to be due to the hyperlinks to Google+. It’s potential. And again to the robots.txt… it’s fantastic – I imply, it’s how I would like it, and crawlers can cope with it. Or, they need to be capable to, in the event that they comply with RFC9309.”

Subsequent he mentioned that the nofollow on the robots.txt was merely to cease it from being listed as an HTML file.

He defined:

“”disallow: /robots.txt” – does this make robots spin in circles? Does this deindex your website? No.

My robots.txt file simply has a number of stuff in it, and it’s cleaner if it doesn’t get listed with its content material. This purely blocks the robots.txt file from being crawled for indexing functions.

I might additionally use the x-robots-tag HTTP header with noindex, however this fashion I’ve it within the robots.txt file too.”

Mueller additionally mentioned this in regards to the file measurement:

“The dimensions comes from checks of the assorted robots.txt testing instruments that my staff & I’ve labored on. The RFC says a crawler ought to parse at the very least 500 kibibytes (bonus likes to the primary one that explains what sort of snack that’s). You must cease someplace, you would make pages which can be infinitely lengthy (and I’ve, and many individuals have, some even on objective). In follow what occurs is that the system that checks the robots.txt file (the parser) will make a reduce someplace.”

He additionally mentioned that he added a disallow on high of that part within the hopes that it will get picked up as a “blanket disallow” however I’m undecided what disallow he’s speaking about. His robots.txt file has precisely 22,433 disallows in it.

He wrote:

“I added a “disallow: /” on high of that part, so hopefully that will get picked up as a blanket disallow. It’s potential that the parser will reduce off in an ungainly place, like a line that has “permit: /cheeseisbest” and it stops proper on the “/”, which might put the parser at an deadlock (and, trivia! the permit rule will override when you have each “permit: /” and “disallow: /”). This appears most unlikely although.”

And there it’s. John Mueller’s bizarre robots.txt.

Robots.txt viewable right here:



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