Treat out-of-stock pages that are being redirected to the homepage as soft 404s, as the value of links may not be retained due to dissimilarity.
When dealing with out-of-stock products, brands should work with the developers to create built-in rules to manage website traffic and guide users to relevant pages. To keep the page's link value, use 301 redirects to direct users to new product pages for permanently out-of-stock products.
Delete an irrelevant page with a 404 or 401 status code, then crawl the site to delete any remaining irrelevant internal links that were overlooked during the automated removal. Use the site audit tool to find broken internal links.
Companies can also leave the out-of-stock pages live as they may offer useful resources and links that boost the site's SEO and drives search traffic. Offer lottery tickets to customers who want to buy products that are temporarily out of supply. While marketers can mark non-available products as "noindex," this can negatively impact page ranking.
[6 minute read]