My website will be unavailable for 48 hours, what can I do to keep my SEO intact?
A temporary breakdown is not necessarily bad for your SEO as long as you develop the right system to make sure you won’t lose anything.
Full or partial downtime of a website (specific modules) can come from different causes:
- Maintenance and upgrade (code, software, server…)
- Server overload (sales season, TV appearance…)
- Ongoing legal proceedings
Anticipating that kind of problem prevents your ranking from being affected by a temporary issue.
When search engines access to a page, as a first step, your server send them a HTTP header. It could for example indicate that your website is only temporarily unavailable and that you should come back later.
We are talking about the HTTP 503 header here. (SERVICE UNAVAILABLE -temporary overload or scheduled maintenance).
You probably already know the HTTP 404 header that indicates « NOT FOUND »: the target resource doesn’t exist.
Let’s picture the disaster if Google robots browse through your current nearly empty pages!
Obviously, it is better to limit as much as possible the unavailability of your contents. The maintenance should not last 2 weeks or 6 months!!!!
Please note that some major websites send this kind of headers on peak days (sales season, Christmas…) to robots only in order to keep as much resources of their server as possible. We can imagine that these websites don’t rely too much on their SEO but everyone (including you) is not that lucky.