How do you handle an out-of-stock product for SEO?

When shopping online, nothing is more disappointing than finding the perfect product, only to discover that it is out of stock. This experience is not only frustrating for customers, but can also have significant implications for a website’s search engine optimization.

Effectively managing out-of-stock products is crucial to maintaining a positive user experience and supporting a site’s SEO performance. This article dives deep into best practices and strategies to minimize the minimize the impact of non-stock products on SEO .

Understanding the impact of non-stock products on SEO

When a product is out of stock, it can lead to an immediate decrease in user satisfaction. Visitors who follow a dead link or reach a product page that says the item is not available are likely to leave the site in frustration.

This increases the bounce rate, which sends a negative signal to search engines. Search engines strive to provide users with relevant results and a positive experience; a high exit rate can lead to a lower ranking in search results.

The importance of maintaining page authority

Page authority is an essential factor in SEO, indicating how relevant and valuable a page is to specific searches.(1) Removing or de-indexing non-stock product pages can be detrimental to the accumulated authority of these pages, especially if they have accumulated high-quality backlinks.

Maintaining these pages even when products are temporarily unavailable helps maintain authority and supports overall SEO efforts. In the following sections, we will explore different approaches and techniques to minimize the negative impact of non-stock products on user experience and SEO, while protecting and maintaining page authority.

Strategies to retain SEO for non-on-stock products

Navigating the complex world of SEO with out-of-stock products requires a thoughtful approach. Below, we explore how different situations – temporarily versus permanently out of stock – require unique strategies to optimize SEO performance.

Temporarily versus permanently out of stock

When products are temporarily out of stock, the goal is to keep the page alive and usable for both the user and search engines. It is crucial to keep these pages active and avoid losing valuable search engine rankings.

On the other hand, with products that will be permanently out of stock, a different strategy is needed. This situation often requires more definitive measures, such as redirecting visitors, to preserve user experience and SEO value.

Using 301 redirects for permanently non-stocked products

For products that are permanently discontinued, using 301 redirects is an effective way to maintain SEO value. A 301 redirect directs users and search engines to a related page, such as a similar product or the category page. This not only helps maintain the page authority that has been built, but also provides a better user experience by directing visitors to relevant content.

Maintaining product pages for temporarily out-of-stock products

For products that are expected to come back in stock, maintaining the product page is essential. These pages should be updated with information about the non-stock status and, if possible, an estimated date when the product will be available again. Maintaining these pages not only helps maintain SEO value but also supports communication with potential customers about product availability.

Optimizing product pages that are out of stock

Optimizing out-of-stock product pages is critical to maintaining good SEO rankings and providing a valuable user experience. Here are some key strategies.

Show out of stock status

It is important to update the page’s meta tags and content to clearly indicate that the product is currently out of stock. This helps manage customer expectations and improves the user experience, while also providing clear communication to search engines about the status of the page.

Offering alternative products or related products

Presenting alternative or related products on non-stock pages can encourage visitors to store further, increasing the likelihood of conversion. This not only helps maintain user engagement but also supports cross-selling efforts.

In doing so, this component also helps lower the bounce of the

Enabling notifications for when products come back in stock

Providing an option for visitors to turn on notifications for when products come back in stock is an effective way to maintain customer interest and encourage future sales. This provides a direct line of communication with interested customers and promotes customer loyalty.

By implementing these strategies, companies can minimize the impact of non-stock products on their SEO while ensuring a positive experience for their customers.

Communicating with customers about non-stock status

In an online shopping environment, effective communication plays a crucial role, especially when it comes to product availability. This section emphasizes the importance of transparency and using digital marketing tools to keep customers informed.

The Importance of Transparency About Product Availability

Transparency about product availability is essential to building trust and maintaining customer satisfaction. Clearly communicating inventory status on product pages helps manage customer expectations and prevents frustration. By being proactive in these communications, companies can show that they value their customers’ experience and time.

Using email marketing and social media to keep customers informed

Email marketing and social media are powerful tools for communicating directly with customers about non-stock statuses and future availability. Giving customers the option to sign up for stock notifications via e-mail keeps them engaged and allows them to act quickly once their desired product is available again.

Social media platforms provide an additional channel to share updates and engage customers, increasing product visibility and creating a sense of community.

Managing inventory is the basis

A data-driven approach to inventory management can help companies better manage their inventory levels and optimize their SEO strategies. This section dives into methods for analyzing customer behavior and inventory trends and how to apply these insights.

Analyzing customer behavior and inventory trends

Using analytics to analyze customer behavior and inventory trends provides valuable insights that can help predict future inventory needs. By understanding which products sell out quickly or which are frequently sought after, companies can adjust their purchasing strategies to meet demand. Analysis of customer behavior can also reveal indicators for optimizing product placements on the Web site, increasing the visibility of high-demand products.

Adapting SEO strategies based on analysis results

Based on the insights gained from the analysis of customer behavior and inventory trends, SEO strategies can be adjusted accordingly. This could mean shifting focus to high-demand product pages, improving content for products about to come back in stock, or adjusting meta tags and descriptions to better reflect current stock status. By aligning SEO strategies with inventory dynamics and customer interest, companies can optimize their online visibility and improve the customer experience.


Effectively managing non-stocked products is essential to maintaining SEO and providing a positive customer experience. By maintaining transparency, using product pages smartly, and harnessing the power of email marketing and social media, companies can minimize the impact of unavailable products.

In addition, analyzing customer behavior and inventory trends provides valuable insights for fine-tuning SEO strategies. In summary, a proactive approach and smart use of available tools and techniques enable companies to successfully navigate the challenges of inventory management while improving their online visibility and customer relationships.

Go, S. (2023, Dec. 29). Page Authority: What It Means in SEO and How to Improve Your Score. Semrush Blog.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
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I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 26 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 26 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.