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Unavailable product pages. How to deal with them?

6 minutes of reading
Unavailable product pages. How to deal with them?
Category SEO

Unavailable product pages are a common problem with e-commerce sites, and if you have ever had to deal with them, then you know how frustrating they can be. From the perspective of SEO, these product pages make it difficult to get your products found in search engines and viewed by your customers. We’ve come up with some strategies that may help you boost your site’s ranking while still dealing with unavailable product pages, if you want your site to rank higher in search engines and get more traffic.


What is an unavailable page?

An unavailable page is one that has been taken down from an e-commerce site, meaning that it can’t be found via a search engine. It’s important to know the difference between available and unavailable pages because unavailable ones cannot be indexed by search engines, which means that people searching will not find them.

The first step to resolving this problem is knowing what pages are unavailable, so you’ll want to check your robots.txt file in your website root directory or .htaccess file in your website’s public directory on the server level. It also helps to keep track of when products are no longer available so you can remove those product URLs from both desktop and mobile site indexes as soon as possible.

What makes a page ‘unavailable’?

There are a number of reasons that might cause a product page to go unavailable. The simplest case is when the manufacturer has simply made too many of that item, and there’s not enough demand to cover the inventory. Another reason is if the product has been discontinued. Finally, it could be because the page was never actually created in the first place.

How does it affect on your e-commerce strategy?

When a product page is unavailable, it causes major issues with your visibility. If people can’t find the product they’re looking for, they will be less likely to make a purchase. This means that the site loses all of the potential revenue and you have to come up with a solution quickly.

If the site isn’t available due to technical difficulties: Contact your webmaster or hosting company and ask them about the outage as soon as possible. They should be able to provide information about when it’ll be fixed, so there’s no need to panic too much.

Does this have an impact on Google ranking?

If the product page is unavailable for an extended period of time, this will not have a negative impact on Google ranking. However, if the product is unavailable and it’s not possible to find any other pages on your website that are talking about this specific product, then you may see your rankings decline due to a lack of content. In order to keep your site from dropping in Google search results, it would be helpful to post articles on other topics or blog posts related to the products and services you offer. Keep in mind that those blog posts should still contain keywords related to what’s discussed in the original post.

Make your page available (again) with SEO strategies

Create a redirect to the new page

Redirecting to unavailable product pages may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a way to help customers find what they’re looking for. The easiest way is to set up a 301 redirect, which means that when someone clicks on the old URL, they are automatically redirected to the new one. In addition to this, Google will be able to see this change and therefore show the new URL in search results.

Put the best offer on page one

Page one is the most important page on your site. It’s where most of your traffic will come from, and it’s what visitors see when they do a search. Putting the best offer on page one will increase conversion rates, which means more revenue from less sales. Your goal with every page should be to get as many people to click through to the next page as possible.

Change your website structure

If you find that your product pages are frequently unavailable, there may be a few underlying reasons why this is happening. If you change your website structure to address these issues, you will be able to increase the availability of your product pages and help customers find what they’re looking for.

Use keywords in titles and meta descriptions

Search engines like Google will not index a webpage that says no products found. If a product page is unavailable because it’s out of stock, you can use the meta description to let people know. This will help keep your site from being penalized and rank higher in search results.

Optimize images and ALT Tags

Optimizing your images and alt tags can help to ensure that you are indexing on Google even if the page is unavailable or has changed. This can be done by adding alternative text to the image as well as to the ALT Tag of the page.

Link to alternative product pages

One way to deal with unavailable product pages is to provide a list of alternative products that customers might like. The links should be placed near the top of the page, and in at least two places near the bottom. That way, if customers don’t find what they are looking for, they can still find something that will work for them.

Create an index file

It is important to create an index file to ensure that search engine crawlers can still see your site. The process is simple and quick. You should already have a robots.txt file in place. If not, you will need to create one. Next, you will want to go into the root directory of your site.

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Have your eyes in the back of you head

Unavailable product pages are frustrating for website owners, customers, and search engines alike. Fortunately, there are a number of simple SEO techniques you can use to mitigate the negative effects of unavailable product pages on your website. Have your eyes in the back of you head. Check every page that doesn’t load fully or otherwise has an error message. If it’s an external link, notify the webmaster immediately so they can make the necessary changes. If it’s one of your own pages, fix it as soon as possible.

Aleksandra Pietrzak
Curator at the National Museum in Poznań, graduate of Art History at the Jagiellonian University and Contemporary Art at the Pedagogical University of Krakow, curator of exhibitions and author of scientific and popular texts. A lover of contemporary art, literature and travel.
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