In the eyes of Google, how long is too long in website downtime?

It may not be something you lay awake at night thinking about, but what if your website would happen to be down for one or a few minutes, would Google then penalize you for that?

Since we all worry about what Google thinks about our sites so that we can appear as favorably in its services as possible, hearing straight from Google would be worth a lot, and now we have.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, says in a video posted yesterday that a day or so of website downtime is nothing to worry about.

“If it was just for a day, you should be in pretty good shape,” Cutts says. “If your host is down for two weeks, then there’s a better indicator that the website is actually down and we don’t want to send users to a website that is actually down,” he adds.

All is not lost, however, even if you would happen to suffer frequent and recurring short outages. “We do try to compensate for websites that are transiently or sporadically down, and make a few allowances. We try to come back 24 hours later, or something like that,” he explains.

Cutts sums up by saying, “So if it was just a short period of downtime, I wouldn’t really worry about that.”

We know many website owners breathe a sigh of relief when hearing this. Cutts has a few other interesting things to say in this video:

But wait, what about your customers?

But even though Google might be forgiving of short periods of website downtime, remember the visitors to your site, or your customers if you like, may not be as forgiving.

If someone wants to buy something from you and the site is down, they’re very likely to find another site, which they can buy from instead.

This is, of course, where monitoring comes into place. Make sure you are end user monitoring your websites so you can be the first to know if something has gone awry.

Then you have a chance to detect when your website is down and fix what has gone wrong, so the impact on your customers and visitors is as minimal as possible.

Image (Top) via Shutterstock.


  1. Depending when Google Index’s your website, if your website were to just so happen to go down when they did index it, yes it would effect your website’s listing and would appear as offline in the cached version of it.

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