On the previous Webmasterhelp video of Matt Cutts, he was actually asked if site’s downtime can affect its ranking. And it was actually a YES, which depends on the length of downtime.
Matt Cutts never gets tired of answering some queries. Today we will be featuring his answer to a question raised by Googler Pierre Far, a Webmaster Trends analyst at Google UK. He asked:
Matt Cutss response can be viewed here:
Regaining search rankings after site’s downtime
Find out for the reason of site’s downtime. To avoid compromises with Google, always take a look at the cause of errors.
There are many cases by which a website can experience downtime. He must not have mentioned it but it can be because it was penalized, compromised, server time out or because of 404 errors.
Fixing the errors. When the website experience 404 errors, it can easily get back if you maintained the same pages, profile, and everything that supports that website prior to its downtime period. You have to put it back up again. That when Googlebot goes to your page, it can still see the same feature as it was before. When downtime can happen in one hour, two hours, days or weeks, the period to which the rankings will be gained back may not be predicted. This is because Google has “varying time periods”. It was not elaborated by Matt Cutts, but in my experience as an SEO Specialist, varying time periods mean that, the time Google visits the page vary and you can’t tell if the website will be crawled by Google in a specific time you would expect.
Thus, to answer the question of Pierre, yes, you can get back your rankings provided you have not violated any rules and that downtime was caused by unprecedented errors and you retain your website’s status when it is still in the rank. However, the time as to when you can gain these rankings back can’t be specified and unpredictable due to varying time periods Google server is implementing. It will also depend on how long the website was down. Google will continuously visit the page again at a varying time period and create a balance to determine if it will still show up or if it is gone forever.
Check your website regularly. The solution is, if you make any configuration in your website, plan ahead of time and check your website from time to time to resolve issues of downtime earnestly. You can’t afford to lose a day of being unseen by your users, much more being erroneous for Google. When downtime happened for longer period Google will at least drop the website from Google Search Results. What you need is vigilance towards your website performance and status. Google is competent and raises high competition plus the unpredictable visiting of Google to your webpage. Be more aware, so that even if you can’t avoid system downtime, you can avoid dropping off the SERP.
Remember, this is not all about rankings only, site’s downtime can also affect your user’s site experience. And if they have visited a website that is currently down, they will immediately look for another website, therefore you will loose the chance of having prospects or can be stated as: “Opportunity lost means Opportunity cost”.
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