# Will “performing maintenance” page holder affect your seo and page rankings? If so, is there a better way to handle it?

Let's say that theoretically you run a ecommerce shop. There may be times, once a year, that you need to take the site down to update product information or to do some maintenance.

What would happen to your page rankings? I would assume that we would direct any page hit to the maintenance page.

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Here's how I've managed this in the past w/Apache (with no apparent change to ranking):

1. Create a maintenance page with a defined open/close for the maintenance window - make the maintenance window about twice the amount of time you anticipate maintenance to last so you can roll-back if necessary

2. Rewrite rule to direct traffic to maintenance page:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !maintenance\.html\$
RewriteRule .* /maintenance.html [L,R=307]


(Where 1\.2\.3\.4 is a regexp for your IP)

3. Complete maintenance and testing, comment out rewrite directives

The 307 Temporary redirect is, to the best of my knowledge, the proper response header for a maintenance situation, I've never seen any problems with maintenance lasting 1-3 hours on moderately busy sites (i.e. 100-500 users/hour).

Edit:

Per John Mueller's comments, you should also configure your webserver to throw a 503 error with a Retry-After timeframe to indicate that spiders should not cache the contents of the maintenance page.

@John Mueller - Ah, you're right - I forgot to mention the <meta name="robots" content="noindex" /> tag on the maintenance page - will add that –  danlefree Oct 28 '10 at 12:52