How Does Website Downtime Affect SEO?

How Does Website Downtime Affect SEO?

The bane of every webmaster’s life is their domain being taken offline for a long period of time. In order to maintain your SEO profile on search engines, site availability is paramount! Learning more about the consequences of website downtime can save your business from catastrophe and enable you to flourish into the future.

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There are many reasons why downtime happens: from glitches and outages to lack of payment – even malicious intent from outside influences! No matter the reason, your website going down for an extended period can have a dramatic effect on the overall outcomes of your site. Understanding website downtime SEO impacts is a surefire way to succeed in the long term!

Does Website Downtime Affect SEO?

Short answer: yes, absolutely! While short outages do not affect your site’s ranking, extended outages will get your site de-indexed. A few days is all it takes for Google to not register your site favorably anymore, with even longer downtimes having even more disastrous effects. Even a downtime of six hours can negatively impact your site’s ranking!

What Does “Down” Mean?

There are many different ways to define what a website being “down” means, but usually, it refers to a website that is either fundamentally broken or completely inaccessible. There are many things that can hamper the functionality of a site, but the consequences of website downtime will always ensure a loss in SEO standing.

Website downtime SEO time frames depend on what exactly the issue is – sometimes, for instance, it’s just a bit of new code gone awry or perhaps an update with your host that caused an error – but regardless of the underlying causes, you will want to become operational again as soon as possible.

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What Causes These Errors?

Website maintenance and optimization are things you need to constantly keep in mind and can’t merely be left for the last minute. There are many factors that can explain your website being unusable and many of them have preventative measures you can take that will ensure maximum safety for your site! So, what are the reasons for website downtime that can affect SEO?

Human Error

One of the easiest to rectify but unfortunately the most frustrating to have happened, human error abounds in website development and an oversight somewhere can lead to future frustration. Whether it was an accident or a deliberate attempt to harm a website, human error can cause many outages and complications. Checking and double-checking the infrastructure of your website is essential and an ongoing process, just like proper technical optimizations in general. Catch errors before they explode into huge problems!

Hosting Issues

It is very rare to host your own website, which is why many companies, such as GoDaddy, Wix, or a variety of others, are so important to the infrastructure of the internet. They allow you to have a location where everything is stored, giving you exactly what you need to utilize your site. This doesn’t mean, of course, that they’re perfect! There are many hosts out there of varying quality and capability and choosing the one best for you is essential to avoid website downtime and its consequences.

Is Wix your hosting service of choice? Check our SEO for Wix services to make sure everything runs smoothly!

Malicious Intent

Face it, we live in a strange and dangerous world. For whatever reason, someone or some people may attack your website. From DDoS attacks, hacks, or a number of other strategies, people with terrible intent can have you taken down for the long term. Having a great host with security features can mitigate this and provides an excellent way to defend yourself against cyber attacks.

Software Integrations

Sometimes you are going to have to look for outside assistance in the form of apps, plugins, and software. Sometimes, when you do this, things don’t work out for the best. This can cause a website downtime that affects SEO. Trials and testing are essential aspects of any website maintenance routine and absolutely cannot be neglected for integrating new software.

Hardware Issues

Whatever server your site is located on needs to have regular maintenance itself. Whether you host your own content or outsource it to a hosting company, your website is stored on physical equipment that can and will fail without proper attention. If you are hosting your own site, ensure that regular maintenance schedules are adhered to. If you are outsourcing hosting, ensure the host performs these actions themselves.

What Can I Do to Avoid Downtime?

Keeping the above points in mind is a great way to begin the process of hardening your website’s endurance and reducing the number of outages it will experience in its lifetime. There are many tactics one can use to mitigate downtime as much as possible and this list illustrates a few of them. There are, of course, more specific strategies you can employ as well. If you are worried about the consequences of website downtime for SEO you should make sure to:

  • Look into a Website Monitoring Service. These tools will warn you if your site experiences any outages and can save a lot of money in the long run. By monitoring a variety of statistics for a website, these tools can immediately alert you if anything is amiss. Thanks to this you can avoid website downtime or reduce it to a minimum. Some of them are even free!
  • Having a comprehensive backup strategy for your data is another extremely important aspect of website management. In the unlikely event of losing your data, you need to have a way to get everything back up to speed. By backing up your data, you can instantly restore any lost content and not suffer any consequences of website downtime.
  • Host choice is quickly becoming one of the most relevant considerations when trying to host a site. The best hosts will have fewer outages and more security, ensuring a long life for your website.

How to Prevent Downtime Consequences

There are a variety of internet codes that Google can see to determine what is happening to your website. If you need to take your site down for maintenance for an extended period of time (several hours), you should let Google know what you are doing by giving a ‘503 Service Unavailable’ code that the crawler can detect. This can be added directly to your website’s header!

Another tool available to you for website maintenance is to simply create a static page that can show for anyone currently viewing your website. These pages are useful to guide users where you want them to go during the maintenance period and even tell them how long it is expected to be.

Neither of these tasks should take more than a day if you want to maintain your SERP rankings. Planned downtime should always be finished before the day’s end!

It’s always best to try to prevent any downtime, but if it’s not possible, you can protect yourself by using the above solutions to avoid the negative consequences of website downtime that could really harm your SEO.

My Website Was De-Indexed! Can It Be Restored?

Websites that undergo an extended period of downtime will eventually be removed from Google’s index of websites. This is a useful and necessary feature for Google – otherwise, we’d be swimming in obsolete results from decades ago! This means, however, that the erasure of your website is a very real possibility that you need to take seriously.

If you believe you have been deindexed without cause, or have had significant downtime and want to get your site back into operation, a great way to move forward is to head to Google’s Search Console URL Inspection Tool and follow the guidelines there to initiate the reinstatement of your site. As we said before, the website downtime does affect SEO, so your previous search result ranking will probably be lost, so you may have to once again climb up the ladder to where you were.

You Can Beat Downtime!

While significant periods of downtime can tank even the largest website, downtime itself isn’t something to immediately worry about – especially if it only lasts a short while. While downtime can seriously hamper SEO results for a website, proper maintenance and strategies can mitigate any real chance of it happening, ensuring that you have a long and successful presence online. If you continually check in with and maintain your website, you will have very minor chances of facing downtime, ensuring that your SEO rating is unaffected.

If you are frequently experiencing downtime, contact our technical SEO specialists – we will find a solution!

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Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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