• http://www.mikefeiman.com/ Michael Feiman

    There are all sorts of things wrong with this take. First, manufacturers rarely, if ever give accurate “back in stock” dates which is why even massive sites like Amazon simply state “more on the way” when a product goes out of stock. Putting a date on an out of stock page is just going to make the seller look bad when the supplier fails to fulfill on time. Anyone with ecommerce and/or purchasing experience knows exactly how much value a “back in stock” date from a manufacturer carries.

    Second, when you take an order for an out of stock item, you’re throwing an authorization on the card which will typically last for 30 days (as you don’t really want to settle a transaction for a product that you currently don’t have available to ship). After that, the authorization drops off and you’ll have to go through the process again (which is something that most customers won’t understand).

    Finally, if Google is really this concerned about customers being frustrated when they get to an out of stock page, why don’t they just scrape the stock status on ecommerce site pages? And then there’s the problem with pure dropshippers who don’t have access to real time inventory feeds, as they don’t carry their own stock. There’s no way for them to accurately display stock status, especially if they’re using dozens of different suppliers for dropshipping.

    Just my $0.02.

  • http://www.websitespot.com/ David Lalumendre

    He mentions 404 but I was under the impression if you know it’s going to be gone for good, a 410 would be best served. Any feedback?

  • http://pageonepower.com/ Nicholas Chimonas

    I’m a bit surprised Matt didn’t suggest the more viable and simple solution, which preserves user experience in a much better way. When a product goes out of stock, offer up an email form for the potential customer to fill, with something along the lines of “Want us to email you when we restock? Enter your email here, we won’t spam you, etc.”. That way broken promises can be avoided entirely..

  • mac11331

    This seems like a lazy way out and not at all in line with the best user experience for a customer.
    I would think giving an overview of the product being out of stock (for sm/med businesses) and a link to related products would be the best experience, and pretty easy to set up. Most sites know when things are going out of stock.

  • JonoAlderson

    Yup, if a page is permanently dead, it’s a 410 job.
    If it’s ambiguous when it’ll be available again, add a layer/lightbox with an email capture and related products.

  • noname

    410 is “gone” for good but your product could be coming back when you have stock available again. i guess 404 would be more correct since the status is not permanent.

  • http://plus.google.com/+LarryEngel?rel=author LarryEngel

    Yes, David. 404 is for “This Page is Missing.” 410 is for “This Page Has Been Permanently Removed.”

    Matt mentions 404 due to the fact that the product may come back in stock. You would only use a 410 when a page has gone away forever.

    In most cases, you’d likely want to do a 301 Redirect instead, to steer that page traffic, and “link juice” to a new “related” page.

  • CedarRapids

    A large percentage of our products are dropshipped. I totally understand where you are coming from there.

  • http://www.appliedseo.com JohnCarcutt

    A 302 redirect would be more appropriate here if you know the product is going to come back in stock at some point.

  • Ashutosh R

    Bit meaningful video. It can give some light to eCommerce sites that are missing few points…

  • jamesb

    Totally man.

  • http://www.cartuse-shop.ro FreeWorld

    there is not so easy to have a 404 page in front of the client instead of displaying a message saying “available in 2 days” or “in stock at supplier”, especially if you’re not a supplier, but just an agregator e-store… for matt it’s easy to loose some clients, for us is damn not! We need every one of’ em

  • http://www.SEOinhouse.com Jessica Bowman

    Seems to me that Google is trying to get you to tell them if you *should* show up as a viable buy-option for their customers right now, not whether or not you carry the product. If you follow this advice, you’ll only show up and be considered by buyers when you have stock. Good for Google I guess, but really not great for all users. Example: overstock.com is often out of stock on things, but I fill out the “notify me when back in stock” and I get notified often within a week – so it’s PERFECT! I actually do not mind seeing their out of stock page because my buying cycle isn’t instantaneous.