Old Product Pages - How Your Online Store Should Handle Them

product pages seo

Each merchant has experienced the situation when certain products are no longer available for some reason. All products have been sold out, there are problems with manufacturers or suppliers and the products can’t be delivered, the merchant changes the priorities in the product range and prefers to sell other products, and there are many other reasons that cause this problem.

After all, if there are too many product cards in the online store that are not available, this will have a bad effect on its profitability, as well as on the search engine ranking. Often, an owner of an online store addresses their problem to the webmaster who supports his site. But it is important to understand that a developer can do anything with your web resource, but at the same time, it’s up to you to decide how to deal with pages of products that are not available.

In this article, we will discuss several approaches to solving the problem with cards of goods that are not available. The question is how to deal with this situation.

Product Pages for Unavailable Goods. What to Do With the Old Product Pages

In case certain products are going to be sold in the future you need to keep their pages in the index of search engines and continue to work with the users who visit these pages. Here are a few tips on how you can do just that:

  • make a clear message that the product is not available;
  • if you know when the products are going to be available, inform them about this as clearly as possible;
  • try to receive visitors’ contact information – email or phone, to have a possibility to inform them when the products are in stock;
  • display related products with similar features, prices, and show the same type of products by other brands.

All products which are not available should be shown on the relevant search pages in such a way:

  • Should be placed at the end of the list (with a clear message that the product is no longer available);
  • It is possible to hide such pages of products from the navigation and not to show them in the search results (in this case there are risks that such pages can be dropped out of the index).

The main purpose of such actions is to keep these product pages in the search engines index and when the products are back in stock you can inform users that they are able to make an order.

Product is not Available and Will Never Be in the Product Range

Sometimes there is a situation that outdated products are still in stock. In this case, if the product line is unavailable but previous versions of the product are available, you need to leave everything as it is. It is possible to organize a special marketing campaign to sell these outdated products quickly.

The visible number of products also plays a role, especially when it comes to clothes, jewelry, accessories and other products that are perceived primarily visually.

Product Pages SEO: How to Handle Out of Stock Product Pages

Redirect to the parent category. The main task is to help the customer find needed products and, if other related products which satisfy the same needs are available in the online store, the user can be directed to the parent category.

Leave product pages available. Old pages have a lot of useful information. Reviews and comments can be valuable for visitors of an online store for many reasons. They can evaluate the manufacturer or brand. To compare the product features, it is also useful to see the previous models’ characteristics. So, old product pages can help to sell and it may be better to keep them active.

In this case, the store owner is guided by the fact that the visitor came through the link, and if the product position is removed from the site, the link will disappear and the potential opportunity to get a buyer will be lost. After all, a visitor, after opening a product card, which is not available, may also take a walk in other categories.

Imagine that people who had been looking for something on your website, finally found what they wanted, followed the link and after some thoughts and doubts they click "Buy". Now they get a message that the product is out of stock. In most cases, after this message, a potential customer will click the cross, which will help them to leave the unreliable site.

modify product pages magento

In some cases, it is better to remove these pages of products. If you have nothing to offer your clients or you stopped selling a certain product category - you can completely delete these product pages using the 410 status code.

The 4xx server response indicates that the server can’t process the request. 410 errors aren’t absolutely the same as 404 errors which identify that the page is “not found.” 410 status codes are more informative and used to “tell” search engine robots that this link has to be deleted from the index. In other words, 410 status codes mean that the page was removed forever and it will never be restored.

It is important for the design of 404 pages to be the same as that of the entire site so that users do not feel that they have got to another web resource. This creates the integrity of the virtual space in which the visitor is given the opportunity to stay while working with the site.

The correct 404 page should contain a link to the main page and a menu so that the visitor can easily return to the website.

A funny design of 404 page is one of the best ways to get the user to view the situation with humor and convince them not to leave. And you can use not only humorous text for page 404 but also pictures of relevant content.

remove product pages magento

According to statistics, if you use only text for page 404 (without images), the number of defaults from it to the site increases almost 2-3 times. Imagine how many clients you lose when you are too lazy to arrange a 404 page properly and do not let the visitor take any action other than closing the browser tab.

Also, beautiful pages 404 errors smooth out the negative emotions that occur in such situations, which will allow a little bit to improve behavioral factors.
Be creative! You can combine the above recommendations and use funny pictures of 404 pages, suggest using a link to the main page, searching the web resource, or go on to browse the most popular articles. Learn to create interesting 404 pages not to lose a big amount of orders and potential clients.

Do not forget to explain to visitors why they see your beautiful 404 error page. After all, not everyone knows what a 404 error is and how to behave when it is detected. But it does not go into technical details. Let everything be short, clear and tasteful.

Unusual beautiful 404 error pages are not necessary, but they can change the attitude of visitors to your website for better. And this can sometimes help them to make the right decision about the purchase or order services from your online store.

Make a 301 redirect to the pages with new models. It is a popular method in e-commerce because in this way you save all previous SEO results and do not lose the traffic. But this method is not the best one.

Imagine your potential client is looking for a specific product. Most likely, they entered the corresponding request in a search engine and they were given a bunch of online stores, including your website. Customers open several links in parallel, studies the information on them, and on the tab of your site he sees not a product card, which is not available, but just the main page, on which there will most likely be interesting product lines, but not at all those ones for which he came.

Already at this stage, you will lose to competitors whose product cards have opened. Most often, users do not understand why they see the main page of the online store but not the product card that they need. Naturally, most potential customers in such a situation will close your website and leave to explore other options.

Change the content of the old URLs. Technical characteristics, manufacturing data or model numbers are not so essential for some products and you can use old pages for new product lines. If the page has high authority, it will work for new items.

What to Do With the Old Product Pages: Best Practices

We have the best answer to the question. Take maximum care of the client.

  • First of all, notify the visitor that the product is not available. For example, if such a product will never be available (limited collection, not produced, out of fashion, etc.), the phrase "out of stock" is appropriate. At the same time, it is important for a client to notice this mention at once when they open the product page, which is not available.
  • If there is an opportunity to re-order the goods, but it will take time, you can use the phrases “Goods are available on pre-order”, “Deliver within 3 days”, etc. In this case, you give the choice to the customer, and if they agree to wait, you get a loyal customer.
  • Even if you have made a choice in favor of placing the inscription “Not available” on the item card and have removed the order button, do not be too categorical. Leave the opportunity for the visitor to contact you. Perhaps clients will have some questions, so keep the feedback button in a visible for the visitor place.
  • An additional concern for the buyer is to notify the appearance of the goods in your store.
  • In addition, you can keep the attention of the buyer by offering a selection of similar products on the characteristics. The smarter the selection of similar products to the missing copies will be, the more chances that the visitor will become a real buyer.

Finally, we will give you one more useful advice: if you do not know what to do with goods that are not available, try to consider all possible options for dialogue with the visitor, as if the situation occurred in a real store. It is possible that, depending on the specifics and range of your online store, this approach will help to come up with additional solutions to the problem with the pages of products that are not available at the moment. The more alternative options you apply to your site, the less dissatisfied visitors will spoil your reputation and conversion rates.

In conclusion, there are several recommendations:

  • Firstly, if the page generates the traffic and you're not sure that this product is no longer available, the best way is to leave this page with the response code 200. Try to optimize the content of the page, keep the users and propose them relevant and similar products.
  • Secondly, if you are sure that this product will not be available, the best way is to do the 301 redirect to the relevant positions.
  • If the old page can’t be used and the item it represents will definitely not be available, then give the 410 server response code.
  • Try to make all the pages with errors as much attractive as it possible, add a note of humor and creativity.
  • Think of different ways of convincing people not to leave your resource but try to help them in making a decision and choice.

We hope that our tips are useful for you and help to keep your customers and increase sales. Try to control all your assortment, amount of goods and the quality of services you suggest, as this factor will always influence your business and income.