Can server performance impact your search engine rankings ?
There are so many factors contributing to your web site visibility it is close to impossible to identify and observe the impact of just one of them. A question I find surfacing here and there in forums and blogs is which is the impact of a server crash or down time on visibility.
Over the years (and I’ve been working on these issues since 1998) you get acquainted to the engines and their behavior. I cannot count the times I found myself counseling my Clients because their web site had shifted in positioning – unfortunately I was never able to charge them as a psychologist would … But the calls and frustration deriving from the continuous oscillations in positioning did increase my level of awareness and developed my capability to correlate macroscopic factors that could have an impact on performance.
One issue has been server performance. If a website is off line for some hours for any reason (server, DSL, DNS outage or anything else under the sun that can influence a web site) I have witnessed a slight drop in positioning.
This is something I have observed on a number of occasions and different sites. This topic was also slightly covered at SES Italy this year in a session. It does make sense from the search engine perspective. If I were a search engine I’d favor a web site that loads faster and has the best up time, with all other factors being the same … Spiders are regularly visiting top ranking sites and I believe will take note of technical performance as well.