Edinburgh Web Development

Does Google forget my site if it is down?

How long does it take to fall off rankings?

by Iain Wilson

23 March 2012

This month we had a new client whose website, for various business reasons, had been allowed to lapse.  It wasn't hosted and hadn't been for around 3 months, so wasn't viewable on the Internet and didn't show up in the search engine rankings.

However, in the past, the site had very good rankings for several keyword phrases, and the question from the business owner was whether the previous rankings could be recovered?

Empirical evidence and current wisdom has always indicated that Google doesn't 'forget' about websites.  Certainly, if a site is down for a few days nothing appears to change in the rankings.  But what about 3 months?

Putting the site online again will certainly make it available to Google and Google will probably find it again assuming there are enough external backlinks to make the Googlebot spider go there and find the site's pages.

But rather than wait for this to happen, we simply created an xml sitemap, verified the site through the Google Webmaster tools, then told Google about the new sitemap.

The Googlebot visited the site within 24 hours and within 48 hours it was back in the index - with all the previous ranking on keyword phrases and Page Rank.

So there you have it.  Google doesn't forget - at least not for 2-3 months anyway!

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