A Cre8asite Forums thread asks a fairly basic SEO question that I don't think we've covered here in the almost ten years of covering SEO.
The question is, what do I do with my product pages where those items are sold out or out of stock?
One one hand, I know the item will come back in stock and hiding or deleting the page will hurt the rankings of the page. But on the other hand, customers who want the product now that go to the page and find it to be out of stock will be upset. What do you do?
My advice would be to say it is out of stock, give an estimate in stock (to be shipped date) and let customers buy it with the estimate ship date and/or sign up for an email alert for when the item comes back in stock.
Apple does this with the unlocked iPhone for sale in November, which is still not for sale yet. Many e-commerce sites do this. In fact, many don't even say it is out of stock, they make you buy it and then 2 days later you will get an email that they don't have it in stock. That is even worse.
The bigger question to me is should Google or Bing temporarily penalize (downgrade the ranking) of a product page that says "sold out" or "out of stock"? I personally would if it was my search engine - like a temporary page not available (503) but lesser extent.
What do you think?
Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forums.