Did you notice that your visits from GoogleBot, Google's web crawler, slowed to virtually almost nothing yesterday? The reason for that was because of the SOPA protests and Google slowed GoogleBot activity in order not to hurt those sites in their search results.
There are several threads where webmasters claim GoogleBot didn't crawl their sites at all yesterday. Google said they "slowed" the crawling behavior of GoogleBot but I guess in some cases, they stopped crawling for some sites completely. You have to assume they continued to crawl news sites?
One webmaster said:
For some reason, googlebot is not accessing my site since 3 hours ago. Normally, I get thousands of googlebot visits per hour (and that ok for me), but since las 3 hours I'm not getting any googlebot visit.
Well Googlebot seems to have all but disappeared on my main site. It may be on all sites then?
In response, Google's Pierre Far explained again:
We realize many webmasters are concerned about the medium-term effects of today's blackout. As a precaution, the crawl team at Google has configured Googlebot to crawl at a much lower rate for today only so that the Google results of websites participating in the blackout are less likely to be affected.
In any event, things should be back to normal today.
Image credit to ShutterStock for robot turtle.