The most popular websites today are the eCommerce websites. People prefer to sell and buy products online than the conventional way. One question that Google has come across many a times is how Google would recommend handling unavailable products and whether the chances of it outnumbering the active products online are more?
It matters a lot on how many products you have at hand and the through – put of the products and how long they are available. Google tries to answer the question with three examples:
You are a handmade furniture manufacturer owning an eCommerce website and you have few pages (1) displaying the crafted furniture you make. In the middle you have many pages of your products (2) and in the end you have CREG lists (3) where you have millions of pages, which in future might get inactive for obvious reasons.
- So, when you do not have much product lines and much pages and a particular listing is expired, instead of showing a HTTP 404: Page Not Found error, you can actually suggest the customer to try other similar products (‘try our mahogany table instead of the oak table which you are interested in’)
- Now, if you have 100s of product pages, then you can use 404 (HTTP 404: Page Not Found). This is viable if you there is no chance of getting the product in stock. You would not want your customers to leave you for landing into out of stock page every time.
- In the CREG list case, Google has a meta tag – ‘unavailable after’ which you can use that basically tells the unavailability of the page after a particular date and time and which Google would not show in the search results thereafter.
What, you have to do is analyze where your website lies and which option is feasible to help you in conversion of more sales.