Site Downtime Can Delist You From Google

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Your site being Dugg to the point of site downtime or sticking with a bad host can have a negative effect on your Google rankings, and even a temporary delsting from Google.

Google’s Vanessa Fox explains in Google Groups:

If the host is down when Googlebot tries to access your pages, then those pages may disappear from the index until Googlebot can crawl them again. In webmaster tools, do the pages you want indexed appear in the crawl errors section? If so, then Googlebot was unable to access them.

If you are moving the site to a new host and the pages are available the next time Googlebot tries to access them, then you should see them in the index again soon after that.

Vanessa also adds that if this happens to your site there is no reason to request reinclusion, as Googlebot will keep rechecking for it automatically.

[Hattip to Barry Schwartz]

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • This host downtime talk is on a few blogs this morning.

    Is there a conspiracy or are a lot of people experiencing this?

  • I perform all the search engine optimization for our family business site and have really slugged at getting us a high ranking in all of our keywords. I am proud to say that even though I am an SEO novice, in 18 months 90% of my keywords are on page 1 or 2 in Google and making good progress in Yahoo. Now, imagine my surprise when all of a sudden my rankings slip not just a little bit but A LOT. For example, for the keyword “fused glass jewelry” where we used to be in the top 3, we slipped to page 5 or 6! The culprit was the hosting site was down performing maintenance at the time the the site was getting indexed. The way I discovered this was by looking at the cached pages in Google and seeing that the server had thrown an error. My site’s home page gets indexed once every 1 to 2 weeks, so I had to wait that long before my rankings recovered. The bizarre thing is that there seemed to be a rubberband effect. In some keywords, I actually received a higher ranking than I had originally, then slowly things settled back to normal.

  • I think it’s being blown out of proportion. This is something that’s been around for a while – if Google can’t find your page, it will try a couple of times, then deindex that page.

    Not news, really 🙂

  • Ahmed’s right that this isn’t new. I think it’s mainly that Vanessa mentioned this fact that a few people hadn’t thought about.

    Over at SERoundtable, I added a bit of context:
    “VinceVinceVince makes a good point: sometimes temporarily down pages turn into truly-gone-forever pages, so we have to drop those pages at some point.

    But it’s also true that we go back and revisit those pages pretty often and try to recrawl them in case the site comes back up. “

  • Nah, I think the main thing was that it was always downplayed. Don’t worry, if your site is down, Google will try again. End of story.

    Over the years that I covered this stuff, it was never put the other way.

    So now we know it is a “few times” and then your out.

  • I experienced exactly this phenomenon a few months ago whenever I was moving a site between hosts. There were problems with the database provider which meant that WP wasn’t serving pages properly and our traffic from Google plummetted.

    However, once the problems were ironed out, the Google traffic grew back to normal levels again. It’s not a permanent problem, but can be very worrying.

  • thank you for article

  • Great Help
    Thank you for article

  • Thanks you for post great help man 🙂

  • I saw my log in awstat, google bot still come to my website, but why my google index keep down? please advise thanks