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I want to allow crawling of my website only if the URL starts with accepted region/language combinations which are us/en, gb/en and fr/fr. Other language combinations must be restricted. On the other hand crawler should be able to crawl / or /about, etc. For example:

example.com/us/en/videos  # should be allowed
example.com/de/en/videos  # should be blocked
example.com/users/mark    # should be allowed

Again, it should be blocked only if it starts with unaccepted region/language combinations. What I did so far does not work:

Disallow: /*?
Disallow: /*/*/cart/
Disallow: /*/*/checkout/
Disallow: /*/*/
Allow: /*.css?
Allow: /*.js?
Allow: /us/en/
Allow: /gb/en/
Allow: /fr/fr/

I tested it with google's online robots.txt tester.

  • Assuming you have the User-agent: * line then what you've posted works as intended in "Google's online robots.txt tester". If you've missed the user-agent line then the tool reports a stack of errors: "No user-agent specified". (?) – MrWhite Feb 23 at 0:23
  • @MrWhite, yes I added user-agent line. but it does not work as I expect. – Eziz Durdyyev Feb 24 at 11:06
  • "it does not work as I expect" - and what do you expect? When I said it "works as intended", I mean it satisfies the 3 criteria you've stated. ie. /us/en/videos IS allowed, /de/en/videos IS blocked and /users/mark IS allowed. (?) – MrWhite Feb 24 at 20:54
  • @MrWhite, nope. when i test it at google's tool it blocks them all. and it says that /*/*/ rule is the reason of blocking. – Eziz Durdyyev Feb 24 at 22:30
  • Are you including the slash prefix on your input? – MrWhite Feb 25 at 0:58
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Assuming you have the User-agent: * directive on the first line then what you've posted appears to work as intended in "Google's online robots.txt tester". In that it satisfies the 3 (or more) criteria you've stated:

  1. example.com/us/en/videos IS allowed
  2. example.com/de/en/videos IS BLOCKED
  3. example.com/users/mark IS allowed
  4. example.com/ IS allowed
  5. example.com/about IS allowed
  6. example.com/us/en/ (with or without the trailing slash) IS allowed
  7. example.com/gb/en/ (with or without the trailing slash) IS allowed
  8. example.com/fr/fr/ (with or without the trailing slash) IS allowed

As per the screenshots below...

1. example.com/us/en/videos

example.com/us/en/videos

2. example.com/de/en/videos

example.com/de/en/videos

3. example.com/users/mark

example.com/users/mark

4. example.com/

example.com/

5. example.com/about

example.com/about

| improve this answer | |
  • ok, now I see what is my mistake. I tested it with https://sites.google.com/site/ezizdurdy/. sorry to waste your time. :/ – Eziz Durdyyev Feb 26 at 9:26
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I haven't seen the ? character in a robots.txt file before. Are you sure you don't mean to use $ instead, which denotes the end of the string?

Furthermore, your file needs to specify user-agent at the top for which bots to affect. Here's a revised file:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /*?
Disallow: /*/*/cart/
Disallow: /*/*/checkout/
Disallow: /*/*/
Allow: /*.css$
Allow: /*.js$
Allow: /us/en/
Allow: /gb/en/
Allow: /fr/fr/

This is closer to what you want. To affect only Googlebot, change User-agent: * to User-agent: Googlebot.

But it does seem like different robots.txt checking tools read it differently. Google's tool blocks /us/en/cart/, for instance, while technicalseo's tool and seobook.com's tool both allow the same URL. Not sure how to reconcile that one.

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  • The ? is just a literal ? - so this would match URLs that contain a query string (in the case of CSS and JS files, this might be used to indicate version/cache busting). "technicalseo's tool" appears to disallow that URL when I tried, not "allow" it? Although "seobook.com's tool" does appear to (incorrectly) allow it. (?) – MrWhite Feb 23 at 0:13
  • "seobook.com's tool" appears to just process every directive and whatever end result spits out is what it goes with - which (AFAIK) is not how any real crawler behaves. – MrWhite Feb 23 at 0:31

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