What happens when you have an out of stock product? What do you do to help SEO and users? Do you 404 the page, redirect it, create a placeholder page or have a scary monster pop out of the monitor and yell at the user? Google answers this question in the video below, and surprisingly, no scary monsters are mentioned. Instead, Google gives us three options.
The options for handling out of stock products for SEO are…
- Small websites can show related products on a product page that is out of stock
- A medium site needs to 404 the page that is out of stock or if it is temporarily out of stock, communicate when it comes back
- Huge sites should use a meta unavailable_after tag to automate this process when you know the product will go out of stock, such as craigslist.
Google is spot on with their recommendation here. Generally, I learn towards option 2. But if you have far too many pages, option 3 makes sense.