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Does Google Penalize Downtime?

 5:45 am on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

My site was down 3 times last week for intervals of 30m to 1hr.

Is real that Google penalize downtime? My site disappeared from the competitive SERPS

Any idea?




 5:48 am on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes, sometimes that happens. But the "penalty" is not really a penalty, only a temporary disappearance until googlebot can dependable spider your website again. Google does not want to sent their users to a url that does not resolve.


 5:51 am on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks Ted

Do you know how long is the penalty? I have been out of competitive SERPS since saturday. My Google Webmaster Tools panel doesn't show me something...



 5:58 am on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's not good to have your site go down like that but it could be worse...we've seen that it lasts about 4 to 6 months but then you will come back...sorry for your loss~!


 6:01 am on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks, I can see since saturday, that Googlebot visit the site every day.


 7:41 pm on Aug 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

If Googlebot has scheduled to refresh 36000 pages from your site today, and your site is down during 10 hours, - all it will get is "IO Error" and all 36000 pages will disappear... if your site is huge (1000000 pages) 10-hour breakage will remove only 36000 pages from index... it's very natural for any kind of search engine...


 7:49 pm on Nov 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

My site come back to the positions of the end of july for the same keyword. It come back in steps, 70 positions first, then 100 positions, and till last week was in the position 190. Now again it went down 150 positions in 2 steps, 100 positions and 50 yesterday.

I think that the problem is other, perhaps yo-yo effect or sandbox...

what do you think?


 8:59 pm on Nov 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Speaking from my personal experience, downtime has little effect on an established site for short periods of time. My ISP failed several months ago and one of my sites was down for 3 days. When the ISP recovered, the site was still OK in Google. Luck? I don't know, just a fact in my case.

The site had previously been down (ISP again) for a half day on two occasions within a year. Again, no noticeable difference after service was restored. I have changed ISP though!


 9:24 pm on Nov 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

If the site misses the spider just once, the pages will normally bounce back; if the down time is extended, the damage may be too.

I've not heard of a 'cutoff' point after which the recovered site is seen as 'new' - but that point must exist!


 3:00 am on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Their general algo minus-penalties are a pain. I think it's the worst system they could come up with by having minus penalties.

Maybe in 10 years they can think again about minus penalties again, but at this time it's nonsense. It causes tons of collateral damage, it's just a dumb system which won't work in 2008, they should try in 2018 again.

Assigning a minus penalty for a site which can't be crawled is nonsense. Oh boy ... they should really think twice at Google.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 3:01 am (utc) on Dec. 1, 2008]


 3:13 am on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I often agree with a lot of what you say, but on this we see things differently. To me it makes plenty of sense for Google not to show links high in the search results if the site's server isn't responding. Why wouldn't Google protect their own user experience that way?

Maybe it's that word "penalty" that's getting in the way. I don't think there's a penalty against the domain here, just a removal from the top of the SERPs for enough time to be sure the site is accessible again. Google is only paying attention to their own users, and that's their core purpose.


 7:25 am on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Agree with tedster.

My experience is that i have temporary closed down my site by uploading a "site is no longer available" index page and as soon as new cache is collected, all my ranking gone.

After I re-open the site (contents and links unchanged at all), the ranking come back (i'm not sure whether it's exactly same ranks or not but it's roughly same, at most 1 or 2 positions differ)


 11:37 am on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Assigning a minus penalty for a site which can't be crawled is nonsense. Oh boy ... they should really think twice at Google.

If you had a search engine, would you list sites that had ceased to exist?

It isn't a penalty, it's a no brainer. You'd remove them, and restore them if / when they returned. And if they did it again, you'd probably be slower to reinstate, in case it got to be a habit.

Don't forget Quadrille's Oft-Quoted Tenth Law:
Search Engines are not a service for webmasters - when you assume that they are, you see penalties when they are just doing their job.


 12:07 pm on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

My site was offline from Oct 7 till Oct 23 (the whole time I was away) and nothing much changed in the SERP when I fixed the problem on the 25th. Mind you this site sees google crawlers quite frequently.

Though I agree it makes nosense to send visitors to a page which doesn't resolve, I don't think Google will throw you out of the SERP as soon as your site stops responding.

[edited by: Habtom at 12:09 pm (utc) on Dec. 1, 2008]

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