How to deal with products that are not in stock for SEO in e-commerce


As an online store, you want to sell as many units of your products as possible. But any online store will eventually reach a point where products run out of stock. Then comes the big question: how do you properly handle these out-of-stock products for SEO e-commerce in your WooCommerce or Shopify store? As with many things when it comes to SEO: it depends.

How does Google handle products that aren’t in stock?

Google can handle products that are not in stock in online stores. Whether Google will continue to show your products in search results when they are out of stock is another matter. Sometimes Google prefers stores that have the product in stock because it offers potential customers the best experience – they’re not looking for stores without stock, right?

Of course, here’s another, depending. If you have a high quality product page with relevant content for search engines, your product pages may / will still rank according to query and competition.

Google could treat product pages with products that are not in stock as 404 soft, which could omit them from search results. Here’s how John Mueller of Google set:

And when it comes to normal search results, we may, when we see that something is not in stock, assume that it is more like a soft 404 error, where we will omit this URL from the search results as well.

Of course, if products that are not in stock are considered soft 404, they do not harm the ranking of your entire store, but only the products themselves.

Out of stock products: depending

What to do with products that are not in stock at your WooCommerce or Shopify store depends on many things. It depends, for example, on whether you need to do something about product pages for things that aren’t in stock in your online store. Does the product return to stock quickly? Or is it sold out forever? Is it not known when or if he will return?

With current inventory problems around the world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get products and keep them in stock. Hopefully, the situation will improve soon, but it could get worse. Do you need to have all these products on your list when you are unsure when you receive a new shipment?

In addition, online stores are available in all shapes and sizes with intricacies and intricacies. There is no single solution to help all stores improve their own SEO for e-commerce oz Shopify SEO.

SEO for e-commerce and an international SEO expert Aleyda Solis has produced an invaluable flow chart to help facilitate the right decision.

Manage your user experience on product pages

When people want to buy your product, yours product pages are the main way of communicating about the said product. Whether your product is in stock, overdue or unavailable, you should always manage user expectations. If you can get them ready to buy by making the process as quick and painless as possible, great. However, if your products – temporarily – are not available, you should still try to keep a visitor. Turn them into returning customers.

You can manage expectations by showing when an out-of-stock product will return to stock. Offer ways to keep a potential customer in the loop with write to me when the product is back in stock function. Or create a wish list feature in your online store where customers can store their favorite product and notify about availability – or sales offers. In addition, you can add a list of products that others find interesting if you might buy another product.

Reducing product inventory can also encourage people to buy it now rather than later. The urgency is real! But keep it accurate and don’t make up for the lack of supplies – people will see it.

Dutch online food retailer Albert Heijn is informing customers about the shortage of sunflower oil

Influence internal search and category lists

You can also influence your internal search engine and filter options to prevent them from giving out-of-stock products as an option to purchase for customers. It is better to have these products at the bottom of the results page than at the top. You can also visually design or display products that are not in stock on category or list pages. For example, you can shade the image gray or place a banner on it. So it is immediately clear that you usually offer the product in your store, but right now.

It is also worth mentioning that these categories, labels and the like may need some love and attention if most or all of the products are permanently out of stock. At some point, it might be worth merging, redirecting, and deleting at the category level.

What happens next to the product?

Most of the decisions you make about how to handle product statuses can be answered by thinking about what’s going on next to the product. Is it out of stock forever? Will he be back? Not sure when? Is the content of your product important, even if it seems that the product will not return soon? Answering these will help you take the right action for SEO e-commerce and Shopify SEO.

The product is sold out, but will return in a new version

Once the product is sold out, with no return option, you need to check to see if there is a proper replacement. Perhaps the manufacturer has launched a slightly updated version of the product with a new barcode. This will of course live on a unique URL, which means you need to fix all the old links to the previous version of the product and delete them from the XML Sitemap. By redirecting 301, you can send new visitors from the old product page. Also, don’t forget to delete products from the product source so as not to confuse Google Shopping and the like.

The product is currently unavailable and will be returned

A temporarily inaccessible product should live as it was, only you should manage the user experience. You want to keep them in your store and buy your product.

Of course, it’s hard to compete with stores that have products in stock, but still. If there is a large shortage of inventory as we are experiencing now, you want to tell your customer when they can expect this. Offer a way to update them! Or show other products that other people have bought after searching for that particular product.

Clicking on the darkened size for that particular shoe opens this mode, which requires customers to keep up to date

Product not available, but will be returned (seasonal and commercial products)

There is a version of the previous theme, especially for seasonal products and products you offer as part of a special campaign. Here again, everything is for user experience management. If you offer the same products later in the year, continue with the site and provide customers with a good experience “soon”. Don’t advertise the site on your site yet and remove internal links to it, but go ahead and hope that customers will come back in the future and buy your seasonal stuff.

The product is sold out and never returned

If an out-of-stock product is sold out and never returned, you need to see how much value the product page itself has. Sometimes product pages also rank according to certain terms around the product, and you want to keep those rankings. It can also happen that a product page has a lot of valuable links pointing to it. You can check all this with your chosen SEO tool.

If your site has a lot of value, use the number 301 to redirect it to the page with the most relevant product category. Here, you also need to inform the customer that the particular product they are looking for no longer exists. If the site has no SEO value, you can delete it and set it to serve 410. Remember to clear the internal links pointing to this product, update the sitemap, and fix the product source.

Structured product information is essential

We have mentioned this countless times, a Structured scheme data is essential today. For e-commerce sites, this may be even more important than this. With the product scheme, you can communicate directly with search engines to describe your products in detail – including various availability statuses.

Structured data helps you manage your product posts in search results

When managing inventory availability, it is essential that you update structured data. Use different product scheme options to keep Google and other search engines informed of product status. There are several options for description availability yours product by adding ItemAvailability. You can use the following values ​​to describe the status of your products:

  • BackOrder: Tells search engines that you have a product lagging behind the manufacturer.
  • Discontinued: Tells search engines that the product has been removed.
  • InStock: This tells search engines that you have the product in stock.
  • InStoreOnly: Tells search engines that you are only offering the product for sale in a store.
  • LimitedAvailability: Tells search engines that you have a limited number of products available.
  • OnlineOnly: Informs search engines that the product is only available online, not in the store.
  • OutOfStock: Tells search engines that the product is currently out of stock.
  • PreOrder: Informs search engines that this product is now available for pre-order.
  • PreSale: This tells search engines that this product is available in a special pre-sale that takes place before the product goes on sale to a wider audience.
  • SoldOut: Tells search engines that the product is sold out.

Our e-commerce SEO solutions for WooCommerce in Shopify take care of the most important for you. Whenever you set the product to be out of stock, it is added OutOfStock value for your product scheme. If a product is behind schedule, we will notify search engines that the product is still available PreOrder. Our Schema solution is scalable, so if you want to customize your preferences, you can easily use our Schema API to extend it to your needs.

What to do with products that are not in stock for SEO

In this post, we’ve explained a little more about how to work with products that aren’t in stock to make sure it won’t hurt your SEO. However, there are many options you can use, depending on your specific situation, your goals, and how your product pages are currently ranked. Of course, it also depends on the products themselves. This is annoying, but in this case, no solution answers all the questions!


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