Sudheer Kiran

Sudheer Kiran

Digital Marketing Consultant

How to Handle Your Website’s Search Presence if You’re Closing Down for a Day

There are situations when every business or every blogger wants to or need to turn off your website for a day or a period for several reasons. But, we all are scared and worried about our keyword rankings and negative effect on our search presence. Fortunately, there is a solution for this kind of situations when you want to take off your website offline for a day, and your rankings won’t drop.

John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google wrote a blog post explaining what are all options SEOs and webmasters have if you need to disable your website temporarily.

Here are three options you can try so that your website’s search presence won’t be affected.

  1. Block cart functionality.
  2. Always show interstitial or pop-up.
  3. Switch the whole site off.

Though you have three options, in my opinion, it is better to block cart functionality if you’re running an eCommerce website and display a small message to the visitors that your closed today. However, every business has the different way of approach and different business model, and you may have a cart functionality on your website. So, let’s check all three options we have to keep our search presence at the time of site closures.

1. Block cart functionality

If you’re running an eCommerce website, you can just block cart feature and block search bots from crawling your shopping cart pages using robots.txt file or a robots meta tag. This helps both Google and your website visitors understand your site is not available for shopping today.

2. Always show interstitial or pop-up

In some cases you may want to turn off your whole site for a day or a period and worried about rankings and search presence. In these cases, you need to block the entire site from users and be it with a “temporarily unavailable” message, informational page, or popup, and the server should return a 503 HTTP result code (“Service Unavailable”). If your server didn’t return a 503 HTTP result code, the interstitial would be indexed as your website’s content. So, make sure all your pages are returning with 503 HTTP code with some helpful information to your visitors.

3. Switch the whole website off

If you’re moving your server to a different data center, you can turn off your server completely and have a temporary server available to serve a 503 HTTP result code for all URLs and switch your DNS to point to new server.
And, don’t forget to give an appropriate informational page for your site visitors.

Here is how you do it,

  1. Set your DNS TTL to a low time (such as 5 minutes) a few days in advance.
  2. Change the DNS to the temporary server’s IP address.
  3. Take your main server offline once all requests go to the temporary server.
  4. Your server is now offline.
  5. When ready, bring your main server online again.
  6. Switch DNS back to the main server’s IP address.
  7. Change the DNS TTL back to normal.

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