SEO friendly robots.txt File For WordPress and other CMS

A robots.txt file is an important tool for managing crawler access and improving SEO for any website, including WordPress and other content management systems (CMS). This text file tells search engine robots which pages or files the crawler can or can’t request from your site. An optimized robots.txt file can help ensure search engines efficiently crawl and index your most important pages, while also blocking problematic or sensitive areas.

Why Have a robots.txt File?

There are a few key reasons why properly configuring a robots.txt file is beneficial:

  • It gives instructions to crawlers on what they can and can’t access. This helps:
    • Prevent indexing of pages you don’t want search engines to access like login pages.
    • Improve crawling efficiency by telling bots which URLs to focus on.
  • The robots.txt file can be used to solve indexing issues if pages that should not be indexed somehow are getting crawled and indexed.
  • It improves site security by blocking sensitive areas like payment gateways.
  • It supports SEO best practices by steering bots away from thin, duplicate, or less useful content.

Essentially this simple text file gives webmasters control over crawler behavior, which translates into better SEO and an improved user experience.

Default WordPress robots.txt File

WordPress automatically generates a default robots.txt file that gets placed in the root website folder. It contains:

This default setup blocks all bots from crawling or accessing everything under /wp-admin/ except for the admin-ajax.php file, which some WordPress functionality relies on.

When to Edit the robots.txt File

There are a few instances where editing your WordPress site’s default robots.txt file can be beneficial:

Prevent Important Pages from Being Blocked

Some plugins and themes may alter the robots.txt file blocking search bots from crawling important pages of your site. Always double check to ensure your sitemap or key content categories can be accessed.

Block Problematic Pages

If certain pages like checkout flows, My Account areas, or forums are getting indexed that shouldn’t be, explicitly disallow those using the robots.txt file.

Improve Crawling Prioritization

You can help bots crawl key areas faster by allowing those page paths first in the file while disallowing less important sections.

Debug Indexing Issues

Strange indexing issues can sometimes be resolved by temporarily blocking bots with robots.txt, which forces search engines to remove those pages from the index.

robots.txt File Structure

A robots.txt file comprises of two types of directives – User-agents and Disallows/Allows.


This specifies which crawler bot the directives apply to:

Disallow & Allow Directives

  • Disallow: Tells bots not to access or crawl the specified paths.
  • Allow: Explicitly permits bots to access the specified paths. By default bots can access all paths unless instructed otherwise.

Customize robots.txt for WordPress

Here are some examples of useful customizations to implement an SEO and security optimized robots.txt file for WordPress:

1. Eliminate Duplicate Content Risks

Remove potential for indexing duplicate content from site feeds and archives by adding:

2. Improve Site Security

Strengthen login page security by blocking bots:

3. Prioritize Key Pages

Encourage bots to crawl important WP sections first:

4. Block Problematic Pages

Disallow checkout flows, forums etc. if needed:

5. Debug Index Issues

Temporarily block page with unresolved indexing problems:

Implementing Robots.txt Rules

To make changes to your WordPress site’s robots.txt file, there are a couple options:

  • Use a robots.txt manager plugin to add rules through a UI like SEO Robots.txt
  • Manually edit the robots.txt file in the root folder, but changes may get overridden.

Also remember to test any disallow directives you add work as expected by using a tool like Google Robots Testing Tool.

CMS-Specific Considerations

While the same SEO optimization principles for configuring a robots.txt file apply across content management systems (CMS), there are some platform-specific things to keep in mind:


  • The default Joomla robots.txt file blocks the /administrator/ folder and other potentially sensitive areas.
  • Use the configuration settings to manage custom rules rather than editing file directly.


  • Modules like Robotstxt alter Drupal’s default robots.txt file with customizable options through the UI.
  • Drupal 9 and older versions handle robots.txt a bit differently.


  • Magento Marketplace extensions available like Commerce Bug Robots for adding custom directives.
  • Restrict crawler access to sensitive store admin, checkout, and account pages.

Other Systems

  • Other CMS tools like Craft CMS handle robots.txt through a UI panel or custom plugin.
  • Static site generators like Gatsby require manually creating and managing this file.


Optimizing your WordPress or other CMS site’s robots.txt file is an important but often overlooked opportunity to improve SEO, security, and crawl efficiency.

Be sure to:

  • Review default robots.txt rules
  • Customize access directives as needed
  • Disallow insecure, duplicate, or outdated content
  • Encourage crawling of key pages
  • Debug strange indexing issues
  • Retest any changes made

Configuring this simple text file provides immense control over how bots access a website, leading to better outcomes for both search engines and users.

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