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The Googlebot Timeout is 3 Minutes

SEO and Digital Marketing Best Practices

Googlebot stops crawling pages that take 3 minutes or longer to load.

We ran an experiment with a set of pages with specific load times. Our initial set varied from 1-100 seconds, but we quickly found that Google was happy to index all of them.

We then increased this up to 200 seconds.

The last page to be indexed in Google took 179 seconds to load, so we’d assume the actual limit is rounded up to 180 seconds, exactly 3 minutes.

googlebot-timeout-179

googlebot-timeout-180

Fetch as Google has a different timeout. We tested pages using 0.1 increments, and found pages up to 8.9 seconds were successfully crawled. So the timeout limit appears to be just 9 seconds.

fetch-as-googlebot-timeout

As far as we know, the load time doesn’t affect rankings directly.

Reported by Barry Schwartz, John Mueller recently recommended a load time of 2-3 seconds, however it appears that Google is happy to rank pages which take 60x longer.

john-mueller-load-time-recommendation

This might seem a little high given their obsession with fast loading pages for mobile, the primary reason they give for pushing AMPHTML.

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Alec Bertram

Alec is the former Head of Product at Lumar. He has over 10 years' of experience in SEO.

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