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An e-commerce is like a real shop: it lives, its okay, its coming. There are flagship products, blockbusters, which go like hotcakes, stockouts, items that are only sold in winter or summer…

This must be taken into account in your SEO strategy. We cannot just let these pages rot online, generate bounce rates, damage your reputation.

Whatever the pages of your product catalog, you need an optimization plan for the search engines. And so, for unavailable products, you also need an SEO strategy. But which?

There are two situations that are treated differently: firstly, your store is out of stock of certain products. On the other hand, you have decided to completely abandon some items. What SEO strategy to adopt to avoid losing traffic in these two situations?

  1. out of stock, unavailable products? Create smart pages

What is a smart product page? It is a page that communicates with the customer, which overcomes the disintermediation of the web media. No cashier, no department manager on a website. It’s the product page that has to do the job.

If an article is temporarily unavailable, especially, do not delete the page of this article. It’s not; it’s never the right option.

The product page of the non-stock item must clearly indicate that the product is out of stock. Better: it must provide all the relevant information that can serve the visitor to prevent it is quickly size your shop.

out of stock

The goal is to make sure he’s waiting for the product to be replenished or to order an alternative product at home. Some content ideas to help him wait:

  • Indicate the next scheduled re-entry date of this article. The visitor can then decide whether to wait until that date or whether to find an alternative.
  • Propose a pre-order option. You know the article is coming soon? Let the customer pre-order it. He will also have the satisfaction of being among the first served.
  • Give the opportunity to receive a re-entry alert. Do not know when the item will be available again? Suggest that your visitors receive a notification by e-mail when the product is back in stock.
  • Suggest similar products. This is commonplace on e-commerce sites, and that’s common sense. Each product sheet presents, under the description and the testimonials, in general, other articles of the same range or alternatives. Better than losing visitors for the competition.

Several SEO strategies for unavailable products?

If the item is permanently removed from the sale, you have several options to manage its product page.

  • The 404 error is a natural way to remove pages from the search engine index. The overall ranking of the site will not be affected. Make sure to remove 404 pages from your site’s XML sitemap.
  • Return a page 404. This will send a strong signal to the search engines that the page needs to be removed from the index. This approach is appropriate for pages that do not have a lot of back links and do not serve as a point of entry to the site. However, if the page ranks well for some queries, consider other options.
  • Create a 301 redirect to a similar article or a relevant product category. Redirection will help you save link juice. Be careful, 301 redirects can increase loading time and disrupt the visitor.

Keep the product page, but indicate that the item is no longer available and offer an alternative. In this way, you keep the link juice and page rank. We do not recommend this option if your inventory changes often. You will not want to end up with thousands of ghost product pages, do you?!

  1. Seasonal products and traffic: an anticipated SEO strategy

Do you plan to launch new products? Prepare your site in advance so that your pages are well ranked when the products go on sale. Steps:

  • Create the pages for new products. With good url’s.
  • Then write relevant, engaging content with good product descriptions and service content.
  • Finally, offer visitors to receive an e-mail alert when products are available for sale. They will be notified when the products arrive.

For seasonal traffic, such as summer sales, you can keep an annual category in your online store, such as / holidays-2017. Once the season is over, you can make a 301 redirect from the old page to a new page / vacation-2018, when the time comes. Thus, you keep the back links, and at the same time the page will appear to be updated