Google search lawyer John Mueller mentioned on December 10 during the Google Search Central Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Office-Hours Chat Program that Google will start to deindex webpages if a website is down for some days.

Aakash Singh, a search engine optimizer (SEO), joined Livestream to ask Mueller how he can minimize the impact on search rankings when his client’s website has been down for over a week.

Unfortunately for Akash Singh and his clients, having an offline site for a week will have a negative impact on SEO and search rankings.

Mueller says that if the pages on the site become unavailable, it will only take a few days for them to be indexed. Müller then proposes an alternative strategy for eliminating the planned downtime, although this does not guarantee that no harm will be done in short term.

John Mueller from Google on the impact of search marketing on the website downtime

There is no way to avoid negative consequences for search results if a site is offline for more than a few days, whether planned or unexpected.

John Mueller states:

“I don’t think you’ll be able to do it for that time, regardless of whatever you set up. For an outage of maybe a day or so, using a 503-result code is a great way to tell us that we should check back. But after a couple of days, we think this is a permanent result code, and we think your pages are just gone, and we will drop them from the index.

And when the pages come back, we will crawl them again and we will try to index them again. But it’s essential during that time we will probably drop a lot of the pages from the website from our index, and there’s a pretty good chance that it’ll come back in a similar way but it’s not always guaranteed.”

Followed by:

“So, any time you have a longer outage, where I’m thinking more than a couple of days, I would assume that at least temporarily you will have really strong fluctuations and it’s going to take a little bit of time to get back in.

It’s not impossible because these things happen sometimes. But if there’s anything you can do to avoid this kind of outage; I would try to do that.”

The key takeaway here is that the effects of extended downtime will last longer than the shutdown itself. Your pages won’t reappear, and when they do, your search rankings will change significantly even before they all even start.

Watch Google Search Central SEO Office Hours, December 10, 2021 Video:

What should a website do if it has been down for a long time?

One solution that John Mueller said, is to create a static version where customers can be sent if the main site is unavailable. It is the best and most beneficial thing to do, if possible, to limit the outage to less than one day.

“… that could be something like setting up a static version of the website somewhere and just showing that to users for the time being. But especially if you’re doing this in a planned way I would try to find ways to reduce the outage to less than a day if at all possible.”

What are the consequences of de-indexing websites?

It’s important to note that a deindexed page or fluctuations in Google rankings can have different effects and metrics in addition to page views. There are many other values that can be affected, such as leads, offers, new business opportunities, and impact on other internal and external pages when it comes to link building strategies.

And if you’d like to stay on top with Google updates and use them to capitalize on your marketing strategies.  Stay connected with SetBlue Blog for the latest SEO trends and digital marketing news.

Source: Search Engine Journal

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