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Ecommerce SEO, Google answers the out of Stock question

Ecommerce SEO support

One of the questions we get asked by ecommerce sites is “what’s the best way to handle out of stock item in relation to Google?” Many ecommerce sites have in the past use 301 redirects to other products. Google has advised not to do this in the past but now Matt Cutts has addressed this very issue and explains the best way to handle this for the three main different size ecommerce websites.

Firstly, small website with very few pages should advise customers about related/alternative produces.
Secondly, medium sized sites should 404 the page, this way customers will not keep returning to see if the product has come back into stock.
Thirdly, for very large sites, using the meta tag “unavailable_after so that you can automate the process. This really only applies very large site like Craigslist that have items ending all the time.

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