I have friends who shutdown their ecommerce website every Friday afternoon to Saturday night for religious reasons. As orthodox jews they are forbidden to transact any business on the Sabbath. They don’t just disable the ecommerce piece on the shopping cart. The entire website shuts down. Similar to a butcher who hangs a sign on his store, “Out to Lunch”. I know of one other ecommerce site that does this also.
So, these guys asked me if shutting down their site hurts their SEO efforts. Like, if the Google spider comes to the site, and it is shutdown, does it hurt them. Answer; yes.
So, my thought is to use Cloaking during the period of shutdown. Anotherwords, if a human being comes to the site, they see the “Out to Lunch” sign. If a spider comes to the site, it can crawl the entire site. The site will be open to the spider, but not to humans. However, as we all know, cloaking is risky business.
This type of cloaking seems like it should be permitted because it is not being done to fool Google. It’s not spamming the engines. But, before employing this SEO strategy, I think we need to get the approval ( or disapproval) of Google.
I wonder if Matt has ever had to deal with this situation?