Mueller Shares 4 Tips On Handling Pages For Temporarily Out-Of-Stock Items
Ecommerce SEO marketing experts often face problems with out-of-stock items. In an Office-hours hangout, Google’s John Mueller gave four SEO marketing tips when someone asked him about the matter. The person who asked the question wanted to know how to balance SEO concerns with the user experience of individuals who don’t want to view a website with out-of-stock items.
Temporarily Out-Of-Stock Products And Poor User Experience
Many businesses are having difficulties keeping stock levels up because of supply chain bottlenecks. Since displaying a web page of an out-of-stock product to visitors only results in a bad user experience, potential buyers might leave the website and never come back.
Will Removing Out-Of-Stock Pages Hurt SEO?
The question came from an SEO who was afraid that removing the pages of temporarily out-of-stock items would harm their ability to rank once they were restocked.
According to the person, they had a client dealing with a very rare problem that’s relevant to the times. The person said they usually advise keeping the URL live and leaving a note for the user saying when the out-of-stock product would be available again.
However, the business is dealing with excessive supply chain shortages, and the large number of out-of-stock product pages has resulted in poor user experience. As a solution, they were thinking of removing all of the URLs so that consumers would stop complaining about the number of out-of-stock items on the ecommerce site.
This implies, however, that the URLs and SEO will be negatively affected. Because of this, they are now asking how they could balance the user experience with SEO.
Four Ways To Handle Out Of Stock Products Online For SEO
Mueller offered four suggestions for handling the problem of out-of-stock pages in a way that won’t erode user experience. Moreover, these suggestions are all fully SEO-optimised for Google.
1. Leave The Product Pages Up
Mueller advised ecommerce SEO marketing experts to update the structured data according to Schema.org to tell Google that the items are out of stock and notify when they become available. This is useful for situations where a temporarily out-of-stock item is expected to be immediately available again.
Mueller said it could be difficult for Google, especially when the ecommerce site’s product is out of stock or temporarily unavailable. The ideal situation is for Google to keep the URL online; if the URL is indexable, Google can keep the URL in their index with structured data and refresh it regularly if it becomes available.
2. Noindex The Page And Un-Link It
Next, Mueller says the noindex meta tag may be used to instruct search engines not to index product pages. If possible, one can remove all links to the pages and add the noindex meta tag to web pages with out-of-stock content. The next approach is to use the noindex meta tag on any pages without stock material and delete all links to those pages.
If a site owner decides to noindex their pages or remove the internal links to them, Google should be able to try to pick that up as soon as possible. They attempt to understand these state changes by analysing site maps and internal links. So, if the site adds the product back and has internal links again, it helps Google pick up that information.
3. Speed Up The Indexing Of Newly In-Stock Product Pages
Mueller next suggested a method for speeding up the indexing of pages that had been noindexed or deleted from all links. He added that SEOs could improve this process by being more deliberate with their internal linking. So, for example, when things are linked from the homepage, Google believes they’re a little more essential, and so they go off and try them out right away.
If SEOs put those things back in and add a link to their homepage with a note saying “not in stock”, Google will pick that information up and assume it’s an important thing, so they’ll double-check these sites faster and see if they’re now in stock or not.
4. Hedge Your SEO With Google Merchant Center
Mueller then suggested using Google’s Merchant Center to inform Google about in-stock and out-of-stock items. SEOs can even gain free exposure in the following Google Search surfaces:
- Google Images
- Shopping tab
- Google Lens
- Google Maps
- Google Search
These are context-relevant services from Google that users can use with apps that display products (without charge) when the context presents itself.
When it comes to in-stock and out-of-stock items, Mueller recommends combining SEO with Product Search. So, if one submits a Merchant Center feed, Google can also display those items on the product search sidebar or product listing advertisements.
Google doesn’t necessarily have to re-crawl individual pages to recognise them. They can tell from the feed that SEOs submitted to them, and if the availability changes, the search engine company can put it back. Those are the features in a nutshell.
On the one hand, if the SEO wants to remove it without indexing it or removing internal connections, that’s fine as well.
Google Can Handle Out-Of-Stock Products
Mueller also revealed that links from the homepage tell Google that the pages being linked to are essential or have high importance. A back in stock link from the homepage entices Google to prioritise crawling and ranking for those pages, especially if they had been offline for a time.
Improve Product Pages For Your Ecommerce Website!
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