You might have a business website or a personal website like your blog. In any case, you need to regularly maintain your website to keep it actively available 24*7 for your users. Sometimes your website might get down for maintenance reasons. But can this website downtime impact your search engine optimization?
Reasons for Website Downtime
There may be several reasons for your website to get down. Here is a list of few major reasons for the same:
- Website Hosting: The quality of service provided by your hosting provider matters a lot. As if it is of poor quality or needs maintenance more often then your website might go down from time to time.
- Hardware Failure: Another major reason for your website downtime can be hardware challenges like power failures.
- Cyber Attacks: Attacks on your server can also be the reason for the downtime of your website. These cyber-attacks can be like:
- A sudden spike in your website’s traffic by hackers.
- Multiple requests on your website to crash the server which is also known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS).
- Lack of Maintenance: If you don’t prioritize regular maintenance of your website then you can miss out on some critical issues which can further result in website downtime.
SEO Impacts While Your Website Goes Down
Suddenly your website may go down for some time. Reasons maybe your web host is down or hardware failure. If your website is down for few hours to one whole day then there will not be any impact on your search engine optimization.
Precautionary you should serve 503 status code for the whole of your website requests. 503 status code indicates that currently, the server is not able to handle website access requests due to regular maintenance or temporary overloading.
Recently John Mueller highlighted in his tweets in case of an unplanned website outage it’s good to serve 503 for all requests or you can show a user-friendly page to show the website is temporarily down. But if your website is down for more than two days then it may impact the rankings of your webpages as Google starts removing webpages from its index.
Recently John Mueller on Twitter about Unplanned Outages:
John added few more Tweets in the same thread:
“Serving 503 to all requests gives you a day or two before Search starts dropping URLs. More at https://google.com/search?q=site%3Adevelopers.google.com%2Fsearch%2F+503… (various articles / blog posts). 503 first, then breathe deep, & find something that works for your site. I’d also go for a run & eat chocolate, YMMV.”
“and if it takes longer, we’ll start dropping URLs from our index, that’s pretty much impossible to avoid. We’ll pick them back up once we can recrawl them with useful content. There’s no “outage-reputation-loss”; we understand things sometimes go poof, and can come back too.”
In general, Google might take few days to weeks to remove your website pages from its index. That also depends on the size of your website as if it’s a smaller website then it can be removed from the index faster than a bigger website.
How to Reduce Website Downtime?
Mostly every website goes down for a few minutes or hours sometimes. But there are some ways you can reduce your website downtime as highlighted here:
- Reliable Web Hosting: Choose reliable web hosting for your website as it should be able to handle heavy traffic with high uptime. You should not look out for a cheaper host as it costs more when it can’t handle traffic and your website suffers from the user experience. Good examples for web hosting can be Bluehost and Hostinger.
- Leverage Content Delivery Network: CDN helps to quickly deliver content to your users. When a network of servers at different locations worldwide store a cached version of your website’s content and deliver it quickly to users in corresponding regions. This helps to provide a cached version of your webpages when your website is even down.
- Scheduled Website Maintenance: Keep a regular maintenance check of your website. This helps your website to work perfectly. Website maintenance may include regular hardware, software, and backup checks.
- Check Security Issues in Google Search Console: Regularly check security issues notification under the ‘Security and Manual Actions’ side menu bar in your GSC account. Take required actions quickly to reduce website downtime.
Every website goes down because of some unavoidable reasons which is not a big deal. The important thing is how you handle that downtime. You should keep regular maintenance of your website to avoid website downtime.
It’s good to leverage the 503 HTTP status code which indicates temporary service unavailable. But always remember the 503 status is not a permanent solution. Take quick actions to bring your website back to normal as soon as possible. So that there is no negative impact on your SEO and organic search rankings on Google.