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The Shutdown Might Impact Your Rankings

Well, the US government could not come to an agreement about the budget. The shutdown really isn’t impacting “regular” people, just those employed by and receiving benefits from the government. Oh, and people going to parks.  That being said, the shutdown is about to impact a BUNCH of website owners.  Here’s why…

Since the shutdown puts non-essential government employees back on their couches, that means all the server and network admins have FLOODED Xbox Live and the Playstation Network.  While those guys are out fighting zombies, pwning n00bs, and leveling up, their servers and networks are unattended and shut down.  What’s that got to do with SEOs?  If your site gets a boost in ranking from .gov links (if you have them, it does) some of those sites are now returning 404s in the absence of the nerds who care for them.

nasa.gov along with many other government sites currently 404s!
nasa.gov along with many other government sites currently 404s!

I thought maybe it wouldn’t impact sites because Google would “fudge” the numbers for a while until the .gov sites came back.  Nope.  During our competitive reviews we check the number of .gov links point to competitors.  About a week ago one of the sites we reviewed had 1,460 links from .gov websites.  Today they have 87.  Eighty Seven.  Did it hurt their ranking?  Well, in the words of Phil Robertson, “He gone.”

1,460 .gov links before the shutdown. 87 after. Ouch.
1,460 .gov links before the shutdown. 87 after. Ouch.

Brace yourselves… if your site depends on .gov links, you could drop like a rock.  It could take a long time to recover your ranking once the .gov sites come back. It could trip a filter for over-acquisition of links in a short period of time.  I assume Google would “fix” that because that would be a monumental FAIL if not.