People are always worrying about what might happen if they get penalized by Google, or if their site go offline for couple of days, or even weeks. Common questions are:
Well, I have a REAL example because my site was offline for from 17th May, 2016 to 29th September, 2016.
The site was OFFLINE for 135 DAYS (4 MONTHS and 12 DAYS).
Honestly, I’ll share everything with you since I intentionally left the site offline for this period because I wanted to see how long does it take to return back.
But, before that, let’s see what Google says about being offline.
Matt Cutts, a former head of webspam team at Google, answered on this question.
He said that if your site is offline only for a day, then you should be in pretty good shape.
But, if your host is down for weeks, then there’s a better indicator that the website is actually down, and they don’t want send users to a website that’s actually down.
In simple terms, you’ll lose your ranking. However, according to Google, being offline for in a short period isn’t a reason for stress.
Now, let’s go back to my example and see what happened after being offline for 4 months and 12 days. Here’s my organic traffic in the 1st year of the project existance - 2013 year.
TOTAL IN 2013 = 1,904 VISITS
This is the Google Analytics evidence.
My traffic was increasing week by week. I didn’t do link building so much, it was just a hobby. The project didn’t have commercial intents at all.
In fact, I didn’t invest a single $1 in the SEO nor other digital marketing channels. Now, take a look what happened in 2014.
TOTAL IN 2014 = 18,983 VISITS
Here’s the photo from Google Analytics.
This wasn’t bad at all.
The best month was December where I had a total of 4,013 visits (session). Nothing great, but still solid since I didn’t invest anything except some of my free time.
Anyway, the 2015 year was even better and here’s the traffic, month by month.
TOTAL IN 2015 = 35,539 VISITS
Now, when I compare 2014 and 2015, I can see that 2015 was much better.
Specifically, there was an increase of 88.11%. Bounce rate was a bit lower, but overall, I was satisfied.
I didn’t work so much but the traffic was still increasing. New 2016 year had started fine, too.
Here’s the data.
Site was online only until the half of the May, and it went down on 17th May 2016.
As you might noticed, there was a small drop of the traffic in the last week of the January.
At that time, I wanted to see how long will it take to return after being offline for 1 week. The result was quite surprising - nothing happened.
Once I returned back, my traffic returned too. But.. what happened when I went offline for 4 months and 12 days? KEEP READING.
Here’s how my traffic started returning in the first 6 weeks.
Let’s see how it looks when I display it as Day.
I don’t know about you, but I thought that in the first 30 days of my return, I would have only 300 - 500 visits, but I had 1,368.
Comparing to the best month ever (December 2014) I recovered 33% of the traffic in the first month. What do you think, was this bad or good?
Next, let’s see what happened from 6th November, 2016 to 21th January, 2017.
The best week was the period from the Christmas to the New Year which was absolutely logical since this site is about the food.
This is how it looks from some larger view.
As for me, traffic has started increasing very fast. Specifically, it took only 2 months to recover the most of the traffic.
We’ll see what will happen in the upcoming months. I’ll make the update of this case study every month so - stay tuned.
I thought that I won’t recover most of the traffic in the first two months.
Honestly, I assumed that it would require about 6 - 10 months, but it happened really fast. In fact, my site was down for 1 week and the results were surprising. No change in rankings.
However, it doesn’t mean that this will be a case for you, too. It would be interesting if someone of you guys do the same thing so that we can compare the results of the experiment.
Do you know any similar case study because I haven’t found anything. Anyway, here’s the data from Google Search Console.
I almost forgot to show you the graph.
The number of queries where my site appears has increased in the last 90 days. I hope the trends will continue although I don’t update the site frequently.