Recently, John Muller a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google shared his latest blog post explaining some possible ways on how Developers and Digital Marketers could handle site closures without affecting its online search presence. These closures may include the situations when websites that are under maintenance, moving of database or any other reason.
John focused on below mentioned three options.
- Block cart functionality
- Always show interstitial or pop-up
- Switch whole website off
Block cart functionality
John said, If a site only needs to block users from buying things, the simplest approach is to disable that specific functionality. In most cases, shopping cart pages can either be blocked from crawling through the robots.txt file, or blocked from indexing with a robots meta tag.
Aways show interstitial or pop-up
If you need to block the whole site from users, be it with a “temporarily unavailable” message, informational page, or popup, the server should return a 503 HTTP result code (“Service Unavailable”). The 503 result code makes sure that Google doesn’t index the temporary content that’s shown to users. Without the 503 result code, the interstitial would be indexed as your website’s content.
Switch off the whole Website
Turning the server off completely is another option. You might also do this if you’re physically moving your server to a different data center.
Some key points include:
- Set your DNS TTL to a low time (such as 5 minutes) a few days in advance.
- Change the DNS to the temporary server’s IP address.
- Take your main server offline once all requests go to the temporary server.
- … your server is now offline …
- When ready, bring your main server online again.
- Switch DNS back to the main server’s IP address.
- Change the DNS TTL back to normal.
PS If your business is active locally, make sure to reflect these closures in the opening hours for your local listings too!