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  1. #1
    The Thin White Duke PreacherMan's Avatar
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    April 22nd, 2005
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    Removing product pages from Google
    Guys, I'd like to get your opinion on how I am removing old products that are no longer in stock from my datafeed store. At present I have a reasonable number of product pages indexed by Google. Every week or two I run a few scripts on my server to update the store with updated datafeeds from the merchant. Because some products will be out of stock I must reflect this in my store so I serve up custom 404 page (with 404 HTTP header sent) for products not in stock. This should work as Google should remove indexed 404 pages periodically and should index any new product pages found. The store is very spiderable and I am also serving out XML Sitemaps.

    How does this sound? Efficient, not so efficient? I would love to get your opinion and also some thoughts on how you guys handle products that go out of stock. Cheers.
    Keep on learning, keep on earning. :fan:

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Normally, I would say to do a 301 permanent redirect to another similar product if the out of stock one is gone forever. If it's expected to return, a 302 temporary redirect could be a good choice until stock levels return.

    HOWEVER, it seems Google is having issues with 301 and 302s right now. So I'm not really certain which is best. If the page is ranked well, and gets lots of views, I would redirect to a "I'm sorry, that item is currently out of stock. Here are other similar items you might be interested in..." type page.

    Theoretically, 404s should work well at making the page disappear, but I'm finding they can take a very long time to go away, and Googlebot will still come back years later looking for them. I can verify that for certain. Why this happens, I have no idea.

    Andy

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I have a pretty nice solution for this. What I do is flag the product as out of stock in my database and remove it from the categories, cross sells, price matches and search results. When a visitor visits the URL for an item that's out of stock, I indicate that it's out of stock on the "Buy It Now" button. They can still click the button and visit the merchant site, but they've been informed that it's out of stock. I list some cross sells, top related products and a few other related links to try to salvage the sale.

    Since the page has no incoming links, Google will eventually remove it due to a lack of links.

    Now this is only considering the product has no price matches. If it's a price matched product I simply remove it from the price comparison listing and the page stays active for the merchants that do have it in stock.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I do a temporary redirect to the subcategory that the product was in.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
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  5. #5
    The Thin White Duke PreacherMan's Avatar
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    April 22nd, 2005
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    Lots of great ideas guys.

    I do find that Google takes a particularily long amount of time to remove 404 pages from their index but I do not see any way of expediting this. As regards 302 redirects I reckon you should use 301 wherever possible because Google hates 302.

    Scott, you have some great tips there. But do you find that it takes quite a long time for pages to be de-indexed due to lack of link popularity rather than 404 HTTP header responses? How do the de-index times compare?
    Keep on learning, keep on earning. :fan:

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PreacherMan
    Scott, you have some great tips there. But do you find that it takes quite a long time for pages to be de-indexed due to lack of link popularity rather than 404 HTTP header responses? How do the de-index times compare?
    To be honest, I'm not sure how long it takes for the page to disappear, but Google seems to like my fresher pages and updates them pretty regularly.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

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