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Getting Google Rankings Back After Site Downtime

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The latest Google Webmaster Help video deals with getting your site’s rankings back after experiencing some downtime.

Google’s Matt Cutts will often provides answers to his own questions in these videos. This time the question comes from Googler Pierre Far, a Webmaster Trends analyst at Google UK. The question is:

My website was down for a couple of days and now has lost all of its Google rankings. What can I do to get them back?

Basically, Cutts’ answer is just to put the site back up, make sure it’s reliable, and make sure the pages that were there before are still there.

“There’s a tension at Google where if a page goes away (maybe there’s a 404), we don’t know if it’s really gone away or whether that page will be back,” he says. “Sometimes there’s a server time out, you know, the server is kind of slow. And so, on one hand, you don’t want to keep showing a page that would be a bad user experience, like it’s really gone away. On the other hand, it’s very common for websites to go down for an hour, two hours, a day, two days…and so you also want to give the benefit of the doubt, so you can revisit those pages and see whether they’ve gone up.”

“So we do have different varying time periods where we basically allow, if a domain looks like it’s gone away, but it comes back – you know, it’s back online, then we just sort of say, ‘Okay, it was a transient error,’ so the short and simple advice is just make sure you put the website back up the way it was, and hopefully things should recover relatively quickly,” says Cutts.

This may not be quite the answer you were looking for, but that’s the one Google is giving. It would certainly be interesting to know more about these “varying periods of time”.

Getting Google Rankings Back After Site Downtime
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  • http://tabpc.in Sasi Kiran

    My website was down for two days and now I have migrated to a new host. After a day of downtime, I have noticed that rankings to my top keywords were lost. But after migrating to a new host (which was a further downtime due to DNS propagation of 48 hours), my rankings are back instantly. But what I fear losing are those hard earned direct visits to my website.

    In hindsight, i think it is actually good to have your rankings temporarily go down during downtime, or you would have disappointed visitors. The real issue would be if the rankings don’t come back after the site is up again. So the focus during down time should be on getting your website working as quickly as possible.

  • http://tabpc.in Sasi Kiran

    I used the word ‘instantly’ in my earlier comment. It actually took a day . But in SEO terms it means ‘instantly’.

  • John

    After his lies about a level playing field for small sites and the now total domination sites like Amazon Overstock, Wal Mart and Target . . . It is plain to see small sites are not considered as part of any long term plans of Google.

  • http://www.graciousstore.com Nina

    So Google has not given an real solution to the problem to someone who lost Google’s ranking

  • Clegent

    Hi, my website was down for 1 day and I lost my rankings immediately (within 2 days). About 20 days have passed but rankings are not improving.

    Can some one please suggest a solution.

    Thanks in advance.