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I have a webstore and recently went on holiday so just placed all of the products out of stock and left the website open. In this time my traffic, which is almost entirely from google, dropped from 5k per month to about 1k. I've done the same thing before and it didn't suffer as badly, but those times I had a popup as soon as the page loaded saying "be right back" so I'm wondering if not having the message up would have affected the google rankings more? It was closed for about 6 weeks, this is the longest period I have ever left it closed. Thinking about it now I should have just paid someone to send the stock out for me. Rookie error.

Also, how is it that google can know your site is less "useful" to the customer when it is closed like that, I guess they track if they come back and click on another link in the search results after visiting?

Anyway, how long do you guys think it will take to recover, the traffic has been exponentially growing for about 2 years and I feel like I've just lost a year's progress? Definitely won't be closing the site ever again. Thanks so much for any insight offered.

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Welcome to Stack Exchange.

Google knows. Anyone else is just guessing as to how long it will take to recover - but an educated guess can be made by examining your crawl stats in Search Engine Console. Most sites are updated in the rankings between a few days and 4 weeks. Unfortunately even after your updates go through, it will possibly take a while to recover the ground that you had before.

Since you have the instance of 6 weeks for it to fall, (taking note of the difference between the previous 4 weeks and this 6 week period) and how long it took to recover last time, then you have a fairly good guide to how long it may take to recover this time.

Crawl rates are generally determined by:

  • Domain authority: where a website ranks
  • Page authority: where a specific page ranks
  • Content schedule: publishing frequency of new content
  • Popularity of website: traffic, CTR and time on site

Yes, Google algos are very intelligent (they understand out of stock notices, notices, etc. and they look at changes in measurements such as CTR, time on site etc.) Basically you can assume that anything that you use to indicate a message to your users is what the Google bot is looking to find. So yes, a notice will probably affect how Google treats your rankings, but only some A/B testing on a couple of product pages is going to prove it conclusively.

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  • thank you. The thing is, it was barley damaged in the periods before, but now I've gone from 70-80 users a day, to something like 10-20. It's really catastrophic for the kind of business I'm running as the conversion rate is so high. I'll make sure to leave the notice up if this ever happens again, and track traffic daily. I don't know if you'll receive a notification about this post, but if I start a "blog" on the website and post an article like every other day would it help in terms of content schedule even though it's just an ecommerce website and the articles probably wouldn't rank high? – Callum O'Neill Sep 20 '18 at 22:08
  • The longer period certainly would be a big part of it. You can try a blog etc. but if you effectively close down shop with out-of-stock etc. then Googlebot is going to report that, so no matter what that's going to affect your rankings for those links and those are the links you want to protect. Even if it costs you a bit for the month, surely it is better to hire a VA from the Philippines, or get someone local and get them to run the site for you? – garth Sep 21 '18 at 13:53
  • Yes it would absolutely be better to do that, it was a massive oversight, but I guess it's lesson learnt now. My holiday just cost me about 10x or more what I actually paid for it haha. Thank you for your help. – Callum O'Neill Sep 21 '18 at 15:04
  • Yeah, most unfortunate. Ah well, incentive to build your site up more :-) Remember to select my answer as the preferred answer to the question to identify this as solved. Cheers – garth Sep 21 '18 at 15:07

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