Due to the ongoing pandemic that is coronavirus, businesses continue feeling the fallout, while there are some that are forced to temporarily shut down. In order to help businesses owners preserve their visibility in Google Search, Google published recommendations on how to properly limit your site’s functionality if you need to pause operations.
If you disable your site, even if it’s for just a few days, the effect it can have can be significant on your visibility in search, according to Google. You want and need people to find your business and learn about your services and products in the event you’ve just temporarily closed.
If your site was disabled, it’ll be challenging to ramp back up more difficult than it needs to be, as the site will need reindexing all over again. A site takedown can also result in a loss of reporting data and Search Console verification.
If, for some reason, you really need to take down your site, the following options are recommended:
- For a temporary takedown, use the Search Console Removals Tool.
- If you’re taking down your site for one or two days, you can return an informational error page with a 503 Service Unavailable code.
- For longer site takedowns, put up an indexable homepage placeholder for searchers using the 200 HTTP status code.
If your intention is to resume regular operations, Google says that the following alternatives will preserve your search visibility
- Keep users informed with a popup or banner explaining how your business has changed. Follow Google’s guidelines for banners and popups to ensure that you’re not interfering with the user experience.
- Adjust your structured data to reflect event updates, product availability and temporary closures. You can also mark your business as temporarily closed through Google My Business.
- E-commerce sites should follow Google’s Merchant Center guidance on availability and, if necessary, disable cart functionality.
- Inform Google of site updates by requesting a recrawl through Search Console.