Imagine that you wake up one morning, take a sip of your delicious coffee, and open your laptop to take a look at your site when suddenly … you see that it went offline.

Every webmaster will have to face at some point an SEO nightmare in the form of website downtime.

When your website goes down, you need to act quickly before Google starts punishing your pages one by one.

The question is: How exactly will downtime affect your SEO efforts?

In this article, we will therefore take a look at:

  • What website downtime exactly is (and its possible causes)
  • How does it affect SEO
  • What to do during website downtime (best SEO practices)

Without further ado, let’s dive deep into this nightmarish topic.

What is website downtime?

Website downtime (or outage) is a period during which the site is completely or partially inaccessible to users due to certain technical issues.

Here’s what a regular website visitor might see during the downtime period:

Depending on the outage duration, a website that goes “down” may experience a dramatic decrease in organic traffic, ranking drops, or even removal from Google Index.

What causes the site to go “down”?

There are numerous reasons why the website may experience downtime periods – software problems, human failure, server issues, you name it.

Let’s take a quick look at a few common causes of downtime.

1. Human mistake

Let’s be honest, people make mistakes all the time.

One of the most common causes of website outage is simply a human error – whether it is implementing a malfunctioning feature, or just an accidental click of the button that can bring the whole website down.

According to the data survey done by Veriflow, 75% – 97% of site outages can be caused by human error (whether it is due to lack of training, time pressure, or simply by the amount of stress).

Although downtime caused by a human mistake might be a somehow frustrating experience, it is also (usually) the easiest problem to solve.

2. Hosting & hardware issues

Web hosting is the place where your site lives – and another common cause of website downtime.

Although you can get decent hosting service pretty easily these days (and for a reasonable price), it does not mean that it will be flawless all the time.

For example, it can easily happen that the hosting server may experience a huge (and unexpected) traffic spike that could slow down your page speed or even bring your whole website down.

3. Poor security

Unfortunately, website…