Shopify robots.txt: how and when to edit it?

Shopify robots.txt: how and when to edit it?
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Shopify robots.txt file contains information about which pages should and shouldn’t be crawled by search engine bots. Before crawling your Shopify store, crawlers will check your robots.txt file to see what rules are imposed on them.

Up until 2021, it was not possible for store owners to edit this file. Now that you can do it, you can get more control over your website. However, since it’s a complex subject, it’s extremely important to know exactly how and when to edit robots.txt to allow or disallow bots from crawling certain pages.

That’s where we come in. In this article, we dive deep into the ins and outs of editing, customizing, and resetting robots.txt.

What is robots.txt?

In simple terms, robots.txt is a file placed in a website’s server that contains rules about accessing your website for search engine bots/crawlers. When you edit the robots.txt file, you’re telling search engine bots which parts of the website they can explore and show to people in SERPs (Search engine result pages), and which should not be accessed through simple search.

You can see any website’s robots.txt file by adding /robots.txt to the site’s URL.

Where to find robots.txt

Is the default Shopify robots.txt good enough?

All Shopify stores come with the default robots.txt file. Generally, the default file is enough for most Shopify stores as they already contain a good amount of rules. However, if you want even more control over your website, it’s a good idea to customize robots.txt.

Since most ecommerce websites are bigger than any other type of website, the amount of pages, faceted navigation, and pages that are only useful for the buyer (e.g. checkout) can be a huge strain on the size of the website.

Knowing how to noindex Shopify pages can decrease your website’s crawling budget and prevent low quality pages from being crawled, which becomes more important as your store grows.

How to edit robots.txt in Shopify?

It’s possible to edit your Shopify store’s robots.txt file through the so-called robots.txt.liquid theme template. However, we suggest hiring a Shopify expert or someone with expertise in code editing because if not done right, you could see a huge dip in traffic.

Another important point is that robots.txt.liquid file is an unsupported customization, meaning that Shopify customer support can’t help with the edits.

To edit the robots.txt.liquid file, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Shopify Admin
  2. Click Online Store
  3. Go to Themes
  4. Click the button next to the theme you’re currently using, then Edit code
  5. Click Add new template, select robots.txt
  6. Click Done
  7. Make the changes
  8. Click Save

When you create this template, it should look like this:

Shopify robots.txt.liquid file template

TinyIMG reminder

We suggest keeping the rules already created by Shopify as they’re well-optimized, and interference could result in the loss of traffic.

What can you change in robots.txt file in Shopify?

You can customize the robots.txt file to manage the access of web robots to specific parts of your website. Below are some actions you can take with the robots.txt file in Shopify:

  • Add a new rule to an existing group (e.g. disallowing bot access to some private pages on your website)
  • Add custom rules (e.g. adding different rules for a Bingbot, or a DuckDuckBot)
  • Remove a default rule (e.g. removing the Ahrefsbot)

Add a new rule to an existing group

Existing rules include * (all bots), adsbot-google, Nutch, AhrefsBot, AhrefsSiteAudit, MJ12bot, and Pinterest. To add a new rule to one of these groups, you have to add a new block of code to the robots.txt.liquid file.

It could look like this:

{%- if group.user_agent.value == ‘*’ -%}

{{ ‘Disallow: [URLPath]‘ }}

{%- endif -%}

By adding a new rule to an existing, you can tell all bots or specific bots (e.g. Google bot) to not crawl a certain page that’s not already in the pre-generated Shopify robots.txt file, like checkout, cart, etc.

Add custom rules

We mentioned what groups already exist in the previous section. If you want to add a custom rule that doesn’t apply to any of the aforementioned groups, you’ll need to write a couple lines of codes at the bottom of the template.

Let’s say you don’t want Google Images to crawl images on specific pages.The line of code you need to add will look like this:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

Disallow: /[URL]

Remove a default rule

Removing default robots.txt rules is not recommended but you can do it by modifying the robots.txt.liquid code.

Below is an example of what it would look like if you removed a default rule that blocks /policies/ page in the Shopify robots.txt file:

{% for group in robots.default_groups %}

{{- group.user_agent }}

{%- for rule in group.rules -%}

{%- unless rule.directive == 'Disallow' and rule.value == '/policies/' -%}

{{ rule }}

{%- endunless -%}

{%- endfor -%}

{%- if group.sitemap != blank -%}

{{ group.sitemap }}

{%- endif -%}

{% endfor %}

While not recommended, removing a default rule can be beneficial if you want bots to crawl a page that’s already blocked by Shopify.

Shopify robots.txt change examples

A default Shopify robots.txt file includes a bunch of rules. Here’s part of the robots.txt file in a Shopify store:

an example of the default Shopify robots.txt file

You can change any of these rules and allow bots to crawl these pages, although it’s not recommended since it can damage your rankings and decrease traffic.

Generally, all of your website is being crawled by bots unless stated otherwise in the robots.txt file.

Besides the default Shopify robots.txt rules, here are some examples of the changes you can make in robots.txt:

  • Image crawling. You can block bots from crawling images in specific pages, for example, your personal directory.
  • Adding another sitemap. You can add an additional Shopify sitemap to your robots.txt file if you have a lot of pages in your website, and want to categorize them better.
  • Blocking bots. You can block specific bots from crawling your website or specific pages, e.g., WayBackMachine, DuckDuckBot, and others.

Should you customize Shopify robots.txt?

There are pros and cons of customizing your Shopify store’s robots.txt file. Let’s explore.


  • Allowing or disallowing search engines from crawling specific pages. For example, you can write a rule that will allow search engines to crawl pages already in the robots.txt file.
  • Controlling your website’s crawling budget. Your Shopify store pages will be crawled faster since the crawling time won’t be wasted on pages that don’t need to appear in search engines.
  • Disallowing search engines from crawling pages with thin content. Certain pages don’t have enough content to rank in SERPs. To save your crawling budget and not hurt rankings, you can simply instruct bots to not crawl thin content pages.


  • Complex for those not experienced in code editing. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s better to hire someone knowledgeable to customize robots.txt on your website, as incorrect usage of the feature may result in the loss of traffic.

How to check if new robots.txt rules are working?

To test if the changes you made to the robots.txt file are actually working, you can use Google’s robots.txt tester. Just submit your page URL and wait til you get an answer. This tester tool acts just as Google bots would when crawling your website.

How to reset Shopify robots.txt to default?

In order to reset your Shopify robots.txt file to default, you need to save the copy of the robots.txt.liquid template customizations. This step is crucial because you cannot recover deleted templates.

This is how you reset Shopify robots.txt to default:

  1. Go to your Shopify Admin
  2. Navigate to Settings > Apps and sales channel
  3. Click Open sales channel
  4. Click Themes
  5. Click the button, then Edit code
  6. Click robots.liquid, then Delete file

Customizing Shopify robots.txt: final words

It’s undoubtedly great that Shopify allows store owners to edit their website’s robots.txt file, as it grants merchants more control over what search engines can and cannot access.

However, if you’re not skilled in SEO, proceed with caution because – as we’ve mentioned multiple times in this article – misusing robots.txt can be detrimental to your website’s rankings and traffic.

In any case, we hope our guide to robots.txt editing was helpful. We also highly recommend diving deeper into best SEO practices in our Shopify SEO guide.

Frequently asked questions

You don’t need to manually add a robots.txt file to Shopify, as it’s already generated for you. However, you can edit the file by creating a robots.txt.liquid template:

  1. Go to your Shopify Admin
  2. Click Online Store
  3. Click Open sales channel
  4. Click Themes
  5. Click the … button, then Edit code
  6. Click Add new template, then select robots.txt

Some search engine crawlers choose to ignore the robots.txt file and index pages that are blocked. The reason could be external links pointing to the blocked page or the fact that the page used to be indexed, and crawlers want to recheck the content.

Yes, robots.txt rules impact your Shopify stores SEO because it can block duplicate pages, thin content, and other unnecessary pages from being crawled. When you save your site’s crawling budget, new and updated pages can be indexed quicker. This way, you’ll see changes in rankings faster.

About the author
Nikoleta Kokleviciute
Nikoleta is a Marketing Manager at TinyIMG, an app for image and SEO optimization for Shopify merchants. Nikoleta loves diving deep into digital marketing, eCommerce, social media trends, and creating content that benefits its readers!