The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a bill introduced by the U.S. House of Representatives intended to allow the Department of Justice to seek court orders against websites accused of copyright infringement, Marketing Land reports.
The possibility of this bill being passed has caused an uprising among webmasters, as many believe the bill would not only violate the First Amendment but also "cripple the internet," according to PC World.
To protest, many sites have considered "going black" this week, "in an effort to show their visitors what could happen if the SOPA bill was passed," notes Search Engine Land.
But how would doing so affect your website's local SEO standing? Protesting for a cause you believe in is respectable, but what happens if shutting your site down ends up damaging your placement in Google's search results?
The Google Plus blog points out a way to avoid harmful SEO implications - by using a 503 HTTP status code. This tells search engines that the move is temporary, and thus won't drop your site or allow crawlers to think your site is no longer up.
Input a 503 header into your content management system's HTML code and safely continue your protest!