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How can out-of-stock products impact search visibility?

Empty shelves

How can out-of-stock products impact search visibility?

Have you ever wondered whether having out-of-stock products on your ecommerce website will affect your visibility in Google? Well, Google has now confirmed how this will impact your performance in search.

In a recent Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout, John Mueller confirmed that Google may reduce the visibility of a product in

its search results if it is out of stock on your website. This question was asked by a member of the public who has an ecommerce store.

Out-of-stock products classed as soft 404s

Mueller confirmed that out-of-stock products are normally treated as soft 404s and the URL would be dropped from search results. When Google Search Console flags a soft 404, it’s usually in the case of out-of-stock products. You can find out more about 404 errors here.

Sometimes, out-of-stock products may not be treated as soft 404s, although this is normally when a product page also has information about the products that is still useful to the searcher.

Mueller continued to confirm that if a product is out of stock, this will not affect the performance of your website, but it could result in fewer people clicking through to your website from search results.

The reason for Google removing out-of-stock products is that Google does not want users to have a bad user experience from websites they click through to from the search results. Sending visitors to a product that is out of stock obvious has no value for a searcher who is looking to buy the specific product.

At Engage Web, we provide search engine optimisation (SEO) to a wide range of ecommerce businesses who want to increase sales through their website. To find out more about our SEO services, why not get in touch with our team today?

Jonathon Roberts

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