To a Webmaster that is trying to create a successful website, server downtime is something that you never want to see. Every second that your website visitors cannot access your website it can cost you loads of money.

Besides the money though, continual server downtime can also kill your search engine rankings dead!


All you have to do is think about how you would feel if you clicked on search results and came up with a website that was not working. You would undoubtedly be annoyed and look for another website to visit.

So the human is annoyed, but what should the search engines do? Should they continue to serve your website in the search results, hoping that the error would be fixed shortly? Or maybe they should remove your website immediately because of the error.

Here are a few ways server downtime can kill your rankings dead!

Creating a Bad First Impression

Let’s just say a human visitor tried to visit your website and the server was down. This is obviously a bad first impression, but you have lost more than that.

Here are a few things:

  1. The search engines are presuming that the humans do not like your site because they are bouncing back to the search engines.
  2. You have lost the chance to impress that visitor or convert them and turn them into a loyal visitor.
  3. The chances of that visitor coming back are very low.

And that’s just about the humans, what about the spiders that crawl your site to index it? What do you think they are doing when your links are not available? Yes they go and index someone else’s site.

Downtime When the Traffic is Thick

This is the absolute worst nightmare for any Webmaster. You plan a massive launch or have a truckload of traffic coming to your website and then your server goes down. Sometimes you have so much traffic that your server is overloaded and then crashes.

If that traffic came from the search engines in the first place, you now have a massive problem. For example, you just finally ranked at number one for an amazing keyword, and then the traffic started flooding in. Your server crashes and the traffic have nowhere to go. This is not a good look and can ruin not only the humans experience with your website, but the search engines as well.

The more traffic that cannot access your site, the more damage it is doing.

Search engines watch what users do when they visit your website.

For example:

  • Do they click and stay on your site or leave instantly.
  • Are there errors on your site? (Yes if your site is down)
  • Is your site getting more clicks than others and proving it is worthy of them?
  • How many visitors encountered errors?

Downtime Means No Publishing

If you are experiencing server downtime often, this obviously means that you will be having trouble publishing fresh content to your site. Everyone knows that the search engines love fresh content and you need to keep the ball rolling. Server downtime can see you miss out on fresh listings because you have no fresh content to share. Also, as mentioned above, the spiders cannot index this new content. Oh no!

SEO Goes Out the Door

Most sites invest a significant amount of money or time into their search engine optimization efforts. When you are faced with continual downtime this has a negative impact on your search engine rankings. Obviously people can’t get to your website because it is not available on the Internet.

The search engine optimization that you invested your time and money in can turn out to be useless because SEO is a continual process and does not like to be stopped. It is like stopping a cake from baking as we all know that it will most likely flop in the middle.

Server downtime is simply something to be avoided by any Webmaster and the only true way to avoid this problem is to buy from one of the top web hosting companies that pride themselves in awesome uptime. The best hosting does not always mean the most expensive either; it is all about a quality service, with the least server downtime possible.

Please share your experiences with server downtime below. How did this impact on your search engine rankings?

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