robots-exclusion-issues

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robots exclusion issues

These are externally raised issues about Robot Exclusion Profile with broadly varying degrees of merit. Thus some issues are REJECTED for a number of obvious reasons (but still documented here in case they are re-raised), and others contain longer discussions. Some issues may be ACCEPTED and perhaps cause changes or improved explanations in the spec.

IMPORTANT: Please read the robots exclusion FAQ before giving any feedback or raising any issues as your feedback/issues may already be resolved/answered.

Submitted issues may (and probably will) be edited and rewritten for better terseness, clarity, calmness, rationality, and as neutral a point of view as possible. Write your issues well. — Tantek

For matters relating to the meta-robots specification itself, see meta-robots-errata and meta-robots-suggestions.

closed issues

Resolved issues that have no further actions to take. These will likely be moved to a separate page like robots-exclusion-issues-closed.

  • ...

resolved issues

Issues that are resolved but may have outstanding To Do items. As issues are resolved, they will be moved from the top of the Issues list to the bottom of this section.

2005

  • The "efficacy" issues from rel="nofollow" also apply.
    • ACCEPTED. The key here would be to get one or more search engines to implement it and get others to do so as well, just as the original meta-robots specification.
  • The "collateral damage" issues from rel="nofollow" also apply.
    • REJECTED EXAMPLE NEEDED.

Precedence

  • Should earlier values take precedence or later? Does class="robots-nofollow robots-follow" means the same as class="robots-nofollow" or class="robots-follow"?
    • ACCEPTED. Order MUST NOT matter in usage of the class attribute as it is defined to be a set by HTML4. The interpretation of conflicting values could be defined conservatively, that is in the presence of both a directive and its "no" variant, the "no" variant supercedes.
  • meta tag suggests not using conflicting or repeating directives and so does not specify precedence. <p class="robots-noindex robots-index"> is an apparent conflict but in this case the more specific should obviously override the general at its point of applicability, no matter what order the directives appear in.
    • ACCEPTED FAQ. In this case meta-robots examples should be constructed and tested with current search engines to see how they treat conflicting and/or repeating directives, various combinations, different orderings.
  • Interaction with rel="nofollow": what does class="robots-follow" rel="nofollow" mean?
    • ACCEPTED FAQ. One possible interpretation is that currently rel="nofollow" has no profile URI defined, so the Robot Exclusion Profile takes precedence. In the future, per XMDP's Using Multiple Profiles, the URIs in the 'profile' attribute are to be treated most significant (first) to least significant (last). However XMDP's precedence ordering only applies to the same term being defined twice, not to any sort of semantic conflicts. Note that rel="nofollow" only states how to treat the link when indexing it, that is, not giving it any weight. It does not preclude a robot from actually following the link.

Phrases

  • Modern search engines normally support phrase queries. A phrase query only maches documents that contain the words of the query, consecutively and in the same order. That does beg the question of whether a matched phrase should be allowed to straddle a class="robots-noindex" region. Intuitively this should not be allowed. The phrase query "word1 word2" should not match a document that contains word1 <b class="robots-noindex>ignore</b> word2. This does allow for an interesting tool for webmasters can specify that juxtaposed words not be considered to be phrases -- just specify an empty unindexed region as in word1 <b class="robots-noindex></b> word2.
    • ACCEPTED FAQ. Yes, any content in a "noindex" element should be treated as if it is not present, and thus would not form part of a phrase. The second example is less clear however, since many search engines search for phrases withoiut spaces as well, e.g. they provide results for "word1word2" even when the user searches for "word1 word2".

Specificity

Keywords

  • The keywords all and none are defined by the Robots META Tag as convenience shortcuts to enable or disable the combination of nofollow and noindex, but predate Google's noarchive and should not be considered to include it. As a result, for purposes of clarity and simplicity (the XMDP Minimalism principle), they are not included in this version of the Robot Exclusion Profile.
    • ACCEPTED FAQ.

issues

2006

Suitability as a microformat

  • open issue! Isn't the Robot Exclusion Profile designed for machines first and humans second instead of vice versa? Yes, just as much as rel="nofollow", the deployed microformat that it's designed to replace.
  • I'd like to echo this concern. We need to discuss whether or not this is a suitable microformat. --RyanKing 13:34, 17 Jan 2006 (PST)

2008

template

Please use this format (copy and paste this to the end of the list to add your issues):

  • open issue! YYYY-MM-DD raised by YOURNAME.
    1. Issue 1: Here is the first issue I have.
    2. Issue 2: Here is the second issue I have.

related pages