So, you’ve had a bumper year of business and your SEO is really starting to take off. You’re ready for the holiday season, your store is stocked and it’s time to make some money.
With your business way up the search rankings, there’s a good chance you could experience a holiday shopping influx like never before.
But is your website and its host as ready as you are?
Website downtime is always a huge concern for your business, but did you know that long outages can seriously harm your Google ranking?
An explanation is in order and it gets a bit technical so bear with us and we’ll explain everything you need to know.
First, let’s talk about error codes.
If you’ve ever been to a website that isn’t working properly before you’ve probably seen the infamously common ‘404 error page’. This signals that a single missing file or page has been requested by the browser.
This is pretty easy to fix and a web technician can usually have you back online quickly with minimal impacts on your rankings.
Then there are the dreaded ‘500 series’ of error codes. These indicate an error with the server itself, meaning that it can’t fulfil the request and properly serve up your website.
Even the biggest names in online shopping have been hit by 500 series outages and luckily (or unluckily depending on your host) the fix is on the end of your server provider.
So, what does this all mean for your search engine rankings?
Let’s not mince words, Google HATES website outages because their algorithms don’t want to risk a poor user experience by sending searchers to sites that are down.
A small amount of downtime is usually fine, but as we stated before, long outages can seriously hurt your site ranking.
So how do we prevent these outages from ever occurring?
Unfortunately, there’s no cure-all for the occasional website crash, but here’s a couple of things you can do to seriously limit the likelihood of an untimely issue.
- Make sure that your hosting service is capable of handling the amount of traffic you expect this coming holiday season.
- Check with your webmaster (the one that handles what goes on behind the curtain of your site) and let them know the amount of traffic you expect and ask whether your website itself is capable of comfortably handling that number.
Remember that proper planning prevents disaster, ensuring that your website remains stable throughout the holiday season.