Downtime is a dirty word amongst a lot of webmasters. Any time your site is down, that’s time you’re not getting new visitors, not making new sales, and not collecting new leads. Occasionally, though, downtime is a necessary evil. Things need to be updated and tweaked and mistakes happen. While downtime is always bad for your following, is it just as bad for your website SEO?
Let’s take a look.
In the old days, Googlebots didn’t come around as often as they do now. They would visit your site maybe twice a month and if you were experiencing downtime during one of those visits, you could be in serious trouble. This made downtime a cardinal sin in the SEO community. Those days have passed though, now Google crawls websites about as often as you can generate new content, so that fear is no longer legitimate. Obviously downtime is still bad for a myriad of reasons, but SEO isn’t one of those reasons anymore.
This has been confirmed by a Matt Cutts video on website downtime. He reiterates the point that small blips of downtime shouldn’t hurt your rankings at all. However, if you have extended downtime (multiple days-weeks) or a pattern of repeated downtimes, that will be a sign of low quality and Google will be less likely to send people to your site.
So occasional bits of downtime are fine. Long or repeated instances of downtime aren’t. Simple as that.