If your web pages are down — even momentarily — it can hurt you several ways. Learn why, and what to do to make sure your pages are visible maximum amount of time.
The Internet has changed way we access information, and way we buy and sell products and services. When it works, which, fortunately, is most of time, ideas and cash flow from person to person, company to company, and country to country.
But when inevitable happens and your pages go down, your business, your bank account and your reputation can suffer, especially if you are unaware of down status of your e-business operations for more than a few minutes. One way this can hurt you is with search engines.
Whether you operate a corporate website, a mom-and-pop or something in between, there’s no question about it. If you want to get traffic via search engines, you have to work at getting and maintaining placement on first page of current “big four” — Google, Yahoo, MSN and AskJeeves. Depending on keywords you’re trying to get high results for, this can be a time-and-resource intensive process.
Everyone who uses search engine marketing knows that getting and keeping high placement is an ongoing process filled with many unknowns. The rules of game seem to change without notice, causing frustration, disappointment and even desperation among beginners and veterans alike. Methods that work today may not work tomorrow. Tactics that may be “legal” today may cause problems tomorrow.
It’s as if, despite all research, experimentation and best intentions, there really is no exact formula that can be applied to guarantee results. There is, however, one aspect of search engine marketing that is a known quantity. If your pages are down — even briefly — when spiders visit, you run risk of losing your place. And unless they come back up immediately, they may be dropped altogether.
For example, Google’s “Information for Webmasters” area says that if your pages cannot be crawled after several attempts due to network or hosting problems, they won’t be listed — meaning they’ll be dropped — and it may take “a few weeks” to for them to show up again. MSN’s guidelines state that if your server is offline or there is another access problem when their spider tries to crawl your site, it may not return “until a later time.” Neither Yahoo nor AskJeeves seems to have guidelines on this issue, but it’s reasonable to assume that they and other search engine spiders operate like Google and MSN.
Another pitfall of web page downtime is wasted pay-per-click advertising dollars. When PPC landing pages go down, your clicks go nowhere and your money is needlessly depleted. And PPC medium may suspend your ad if your landing page goes down for too long.