Can a Temporary Server Crash Cause the Loss of Indexed Pages?

Jun 27, 2006 • 8:40 am | comments (2) by twitter | Filed Under Search Engine & SEO Theory

Search Engine Optimization often involves creating relevant content and adding it to your site on a regular basis. If the site is properly coded and spiders can get around easily - or even if you use Google Sitemaps properly - you should be able to count on the number of pages of your websites in the Google index increasing. So what happens if Google comes to town and your server has crashed? Will they immediately drop a bunch of your pages from the index? All of them? Obviously the answer to the last question is no, but could they hit your total pages indexed for this?

A recent thread over at Search Engine Watch Forums has a member asking if a server crash could be responsible for a dramatic dip in the number of pages indexed when he checked the next day. He says:

the number of indexed pages drastically dropped to 100+ (from 2000+) and for certain sub domains started appearing supplemental results. Even after 3 weeks, Google doesn't seem to pick these pages again.
Now this post was written about 3 weeks ago, so it is time for an update, but a couple of good answers followed the question.

Vayapues, a newer member who is very active and seems quite knowledgeable, immediately brings a calmer tone to the topic when he says:

Google understands that your server goes down from time to time, and will not penalize you for it, unless it is down for a few crawls in a row.
Then another member Fathom hints that this could have had something to do with Big Daddy, saying:
As many websites lost many pages recently you quite possibly suffered the same fate, and the crash merely occurring in and around the same time provided a convenient camouflage.

I have asked DinSurf for an update...hopefully the thread at Search Engine Watch Forums will pick back up...

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Chris Beasley

06/27/2006 01:22 pm

I recall Googleguy posting a long time ago that a temporary crash is not going to have an affect. Things may have changed though since this was at least a couple years ago.


06/27/2006 04:49 pm

Actually, a big pet peeve of mine has been to never allow a bad host to ruin your SE rankings. I had a bunch of new sites about 6 months ago that I was struggling to get listed for. I was on a terrible host ( that had downtime nearly every other day. I actually managed to hit #1 in MSN for a while then after a particularly bad week of outages my ranking dissapeared from MSN and dropped in Google as well. I know this post is about a single drop but just pointing out that a bad host CAN hurt your rankings, especially when you're starting out. So shell out the bucks for a good host when at all possible.

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