Having downtime is good SEO?

Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 9:35AM

If you are ever in the public eye with your online presence and have a major situation, you can come out better than ever afterwards because of all the free links especially if you solve the problems well.   I try to prove it below with the examples of netflix.com and theplanet.com.  This works because it seems people have to more to say when things go wrong then when things get better.

Netflix had a 2 day delay in their shipping system last week and thousands on the web wrote an article about it and many of them linked to netflix.com in their article.

Already, Google says 50,000 pages match "netflix shipping delay"

Imagine getting thousands of links from the most important sites on the net because you made a mistake!

I think our hosting company had a similar benefit when the power room blew up in early June.

Over 40,000 pages for "theplanet major outage".

Perhaps more important than the problem is how fast a company fixes the problem and what they do to compensate their customers.

Even though both companies could lose customers from this kind of situation, the benefits of better rankings and more exposure helped them grow and provide better services.

theplanet.com is pagerank 7 and netflix.com has pagerank 5 to 7.

Whether the event is in the real world like a power outage or online (getting hacked, a bug in the system, etc), a single catastrophic event can make a huge and permanent positive change in a company's web site traffic as you can see by looking at theplanet.com's alexa chart:

Of course, no company wants to have problems like this, but it shows that there is a bright side to everything in life and perhaps a major problem is just what you need to stimulate your companies growth.

SEO statistics for these 2 companies:

Yahoo says theplanet.com has 742,000 inlinks and netflix.com has 939,000 inlinks.

So to get pagerank 7 you probably need close to 700,000 links right now.  This number gets bigger over time as more content and domains are launched.

I also noticed vrbo.com is pagerank 6 with 120,000 links.  We have clients who are pagerank 5 with just a few thousand links.   Perhaps there are other factors at play besides the number of links yahoo reports.  Google stores links differently and gives them a different value.   However, Google hides their data unless you are the site owner.  This means Yahoo is the most accurate way to compare links between competitors. 

Looking at bigger established companies helps you realize that being able to out-rank a major web site like netflix.com or vrbo.com can not be done through cheap SEO tricks and paid links.  You need mainstream popularity to get hundreds of thousands of links.

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