Robot Manager Pro

Reviewed by: Robin Nobles, send e-mail
Published by: Website Management Tools, go to the web site
Requires: Windows 98se/Me/NT4/2000/XP
MSRP: $129 (free trial version available)

Have you ever wondered how far down into your site the search engine spiders are going? Are the pay inclusion spiders coming at regular intervals like they're supposed to? Wouldn't it be great to see which spiders are visiting your site and which pages they're crawling . . . at a glance? Robot Manager Pro is undoubtedly one of the most helpful software programs I've seen in a long time. It actually serves two purposes:

  • It will create robots.txt files for you;
  • It will monitor spider activity to your Web sites.

What is a Robots.txt File? It's a text file that "disallows" or keeps spiders out of certain pages or areas of your web site. For example, if you have a section of your site that's devoted to your personnel, you can keep the spiders from finding and crawling that entire section by including it in a robots.txt file.

If you've ever tried to create a robots.txt file by hand, you know that it's nothing short of tedious, and it's so easy to make a mistake. So having a program create the file for you automatically is ideal. However, what's really exciting to me about Robot Manager Pro is how it monitors spider traffic. But first, let's look at the software as a whole.

The program is simple to use. On the left-hand side of the screen, you'll see numbered areas. On the right-hand side of the screen, you'll see a Quick Help section that explains how to use that portion of the program.

What you're doing in steps #1-3 is creating your robots.txt file. You'll tell the program which areas or pages that you want to keep the spiders from crawling and the software will create the robots.txt file for you and upload it to the root directory of your Web site. Keep in mind that you don't have to create a robots.txt file if you don't want or need to. You can simply use the spider monitoring portion by itself.

As I stated previously, the most exciting part of the program to me is the way it monitors spider traffic. The first time you download your log files to analyze your traffic, it won't be quite as interesting as it gets each additional time you use the program. Every time you use the program, you'll open the initial file you created, hit "refresh" to download the latest log files, and let the program update your spider visits. If we were to click on one of the spiders, such as Googlebot, we'd see how many pages from this site that Google has spidered. Google is a deep crawling engine and it really can find most of your web pages if you provide text links to them. If we were to click on any of the actual web pages, we'd see a screen that tells us how often the spider has visited the page.

Can you see the value in having this type of information?

  • If an engine hasn't found one of your important pages, maybe you need to add more links to that page from pages that are getting spidered more frequently.
  • When you create new pages, you'll be able to see at a glance when the spiders find and crawl those pages.
  • If you use pay inclusion, you'll be able to monitor whether the spiders are visiting like they're supposed to.
  • You'll know exactly which pages of your Web site are being spidered by which search engines and when.

If you're interested in tracking spider visits to your site, Robot Manager Pro is a must-have program for you. It's fast and easy to use, and it provides key information about how the spiders are crawling your Web site. Website Management Tools also offers a regular version of Robot Manager, but it doesn't monitor spider traffic.

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