Out Of Stock Products May Impact Search Visibility


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Out Of Stock Products May Impact Search Visibility

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A product page may get less visibility in Google Search if the item is out of stock.

Google may reduce the visibility of a product page if the item for sale is listed as out of stock on the retailer’s website.

This is stated by Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller during a recent Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout.

A question is submitted by an ecommerce store owner asking if search rankings for transactional keywords could be negatively impacted if the products sell out.

In theory, Google could reduce visibility for product pages with out of stock items.

However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Read his full response in the section below.

Google Treats Out Of Stock Products As Soft 404s

We cannot rule out the possibility of out of stock products seeing reduced visibility in search results. There are multiple things that come into play when it comes to products themselves in that they can be shown as a normal search result.

And when it comes to the normal search results, it can happen that when something is out of stock, it’s more like a soft 404 error, where that URL will be dropped from the search results as well.

Theoretically, it could affect the visibility in search if something goes out of stock.

Google Will Still Show Product Page If It’s Relevant

Whether Google treats the product page as having a soft 404 error depends on how much value it offers beyond the product itself.

If the page doubles as a resource for information about the product — information that can still be useful if the product is out of stock — then it’s likely to remain visible in search results.

If you have a lot of information about that product anyway on your product pages, then that page can still be quite relevant for people who are searching for a specific product. So it’s not necessarily that something goes out of stock, and that page disappears from search.

However, the rest of a site’s rankings would not be impacted by a product going out of stock. So even if we were to drop that one specific product because we think it’s more like a soft 404 page, then people searching for other products on the site, we would still show those normally. It’s not that there would be any kind of negative effect that swaps over into the other parts of the site.