Robots.txt is not an appropriate or effective way of blocking sensitive or confidential material. It only instructs well-behaved crawlers that the pages are not for them, but it does not prevent your server from delivering those pages to a browser that requests them. One reason is that search engines could still reference the URLs you block (showing just the URL, no title or snippet) if there happen to be links to those URLs somewhere on the Internet (like referrer logs). Also, non-compliant or rogue search engines that don't acknowledge the Robots Exclusion Standard could disobey the instructions of your robots.txt. Finally, a curious user could examine the directories or subdirectories in your robots.txt file and guess the URL of the content that you don't want seen.
Google’s aim is to provide the most relevant result for any given query. Their entire business model relies on them being able to do this, consistently, across hundreds of billions of searches. For that reason, they’ve invested heavily into understanding the intent of queries, i.e., the reason a person typed a specific thing into Google in the first place.
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The Featured Snippet section appearing inside the first page of Google is an incredibly important section to have your content placed within. I did a study of over 5,000 keywords where HubSpot.com ranked on page 1 and there was a Featured Snippet being displayed. What I found was that when HubSpot.com was ranking in the Featured Snippet, the average click-through rate to the website increased by over 114%.
Organic results includes a wider range of websites—not just local businesses. While location may still be a factor in the organic results, it is not generally the dominant factor. The main factor is the authority of the website (or the credibility of the site), external links back to the site, the length of time the site has been live, and other considerations. This is why you will often see sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, and Facebook show up high in search results.
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