Google Recommendations: Pausing Your Online Store

The coronavirus pandemic has had a far-reaching impact on the global economy. It has resulted in some businesses shutting or scaling down operations.

Online businesses haven’t been spared, they too have been seriously affected. Dropshippers, for example, can’t move products from suppliers to customers because factories and entire countries are on lockdown.

How you can pause your online business without negatively affecting Google Search

Google just posted these recommendations that apply to any business with an online presence but particularly for those who have paused selling their products or services online.

Limit site functionality

Imagine going through an online shop, choosing a product and only to find that the product can’t be delivered to you.

That’s frustrating and could lead to a negative review.

In order to avoid bad customer experience, Google recommends limiting your site functionality, especially when the situation is temporary. For example, you might mark items as out of stock, or restrict the cart and checkout process.

This is the recommended approach since it minimizes any negative effects on your site’s presence in Search. People can still find your products, read reviews, or add wish lists so they can purchase at a later time.

Google added that it is also a good practice to:

  1.  Disable the cart functionality
  2. Tell your customers what’s going on
  3. Update your structured data
  4. Check your Merchant Center feed
  5. Use crawl request or sitemap updates

What’s not recommended by Google

Google does not recommend disabling the whole website.

Disabling your website can have a negative impact on your website in Google Search, however, if you must, only disable it for a few days at most.

Your website should be available if when you are not, keep in mind that your customers may also want to find information about your products, your services, and your company, even if you’re not selling anything right now.

Side effects of disabling your website

According to Google disabling your website has these side effects;

  • Your customers won’t know what’s happening with your business if they can’t find your business online at all.
  • Your customers can’t find or read first-hand information about your business and its products & services. For example, reviews, specs, past orders, repair guides, or manuals won’t be findable.
  • Knowledge Panels may lose information, like contact phone numbers and your site’s logo.
  • Search Console verification will fail, and you will lose all access to information about your business in Search. Aggregate reports in Search Console will lose data as pages are dropped from the index.
  • Ramping back up after a prolonged period of time will be significantly harder if your website needs to be reindexed first. Additionally, it’s uncertain how long this would take, and whether the site would appear similarly in Search afterward.

Has your online business been affected by the coronavirus pandemic? Have you paused online sales?

If this was helpful, let me know in the comments.

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