Google May Forgive Website Downtime, but Will Your Customers?

When it comes to website downtime, many worry about what effect it will have on their search engine rankings. More to the point, they worry about what effect it will have on their Google rankings. While we at Alertra have explained to our readers what measures they can put into place to ensure that website downtime has a minimal effect, if any, on their search engine presence, it is important to remember that Google isn’t your customer.

Customers Come First

If you’ve fallen into a lull of comfort and compliance, knowing that the search engines will realize that your downtime is planned downtime and that your site will indeed be back up and running, you must ask yourself what your customers think of this downtime. After all, Google isn’t making purchases from your site. Your customers are. If they get fed up with the downtime that your website experiences, they are going to be heading over to one of your competitors. With the cut-throat competition of the Internet, that is never a good thing. This means that even if your planned downtime is explained to Google, you need to minimize your downtime to ensure that your customers don’t lose patience.

How Much Downtime is Too Much Downtime?

Unplanned downtime is not always avoidable, although you can minimize your risk by implementing backup plans and a website monitoring service. When unplanned downtime occurs, you need to be the first to know. A website monitoring service will ensure this happens. Planned downtime, however, happens to all sites. The key is to plan your website downtime properly. That means updating your site and performing maintenance during off-peak hours. Use your site’s analytics to determine when your site experiences the least amount of traffic. Once you have that information, plan your scheduled downtime for that period of theday. You also need to make sure that your customers are aware of any planned downtime before it happens. This means sending emails out to your email list and posting a notice on the front page of your website explaining that maintenance is planned and exactly when the site will be down. If your customers know your site will not be available for a period of time, they can plan their purchases around your site’s planned downtime. If you don’t communicate your website downtime with your customers, it will inevitably lead to some level of frustration. Any amount of planned downtime that your customers are not notified of is too much.