Properly handling items as they go out of stock is crucial to both usability and SEO. Below I have outlined 3 scenarios that will help you determine the best course of action when an item goes out of stock:

out-of-stock

Scenario 1: The Item Is Out Of Stock Temporarily And Will Be Back Soon:

  1. Provide clear messaging on the product page that the product is “Temporarily Out Of Stock”.
  2. Provide clear messaging if possible about when the product will be back in stock.
  3. If possible, implement a form that a potential buyer can fill out with his email and or contact information and use that to get back in touch as soon as the product returns.
  4. The page should continue to render a 200 (OK) response code as opposed to a 404 (Not Found)

Scenario 2: The Item Is Out Of Stock And Never Coming Back:

  1. 301 (Permanent) redirect the URL to:
  • A Similar Product If One Exists
  • The Parent Category
  • If all else fails, redirect back to the homepage

Scenario 3: You Are Unsure Whether An Item Will Ever Be In Stock Again:

  1. 302 (Temporary) Redirect The Product To The Parent Category
  2. If Product Does Come Back In Stock, Revert The 302 Redirect
  3. This Method Ensures That If The Product Comes Back In Stock, Your Product Page Retains All Authority It Once Had