Debugging blocked URLs

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Vanessa's been posting a lot lately, and I'm starting to feel left out. So here my tidbit of wisdom for you: I've noticed a couple of webmasters confused by "blocked by robots.txt" errors, and I wanted to share the steps I take when debugging robots.txt problems:

A handy checklist for debugging a blocked URL

Let's assume you are looking at crawl errors for your website and notice a URL restricted by robots.txt that you weren't intending to block:    URL restricted by robots.txt     Sep 3, 2006

Check the robots.txt analysis tool

The first thing you should do is go to the robots.txt analysis tool for that site. Make sure you are looking at the correct site for that URL, paying attention that you are looking at the right protocol and subdomain. (Subdomains and protocols may have their own robots.txt file, so may be different from