SEO - Removing Old Product From Search Results

Chelsea_Place
New Member
2 0 0

Our site has a lot of product turn over and our internal policy is to unpublish product that is "obsolete" (sold out and not returning) however we never delete these products from the backend. This causes us issues with SEO as we have many broken links in our sitemaps as well as many 404 errors from Google until it is removed from their index. (It does not seem that Shopify removes unpublished product from the sitemap once its been published)  What I wanted to do was to modify the robots.txt but that is not an option on Shopify.  I see that it is also possible to block bots with meta tags, since our products run off templates I though I could write and if statement using product.tags to solve my problem.  We tag ever obsolete product "OBSOLETE" on the product page in the back end.  I am curious if anyone else has this issue and is solving it in this manner, or solving it in another way.  If I do go off the product.tag would I need to publish those tags for robots to crawl or are they already published by the robots.txt in Shopify.  

here is what I was thinking of implementing (I want feedback before doing so)

{% if product.tags contains 'obsolete' %} <meta name="robots" content="noindex"> {% endif %}

Also if I add this to the head of the overall website will it affect other pages or only pages with products.

Any suggestions would be wonderful.  

PS.  It would be really nice if Shopify would have a way to archive old products so that they can still be available on the backend without interferring with the frontend of SEO.

 

 

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Jason
Shopify Expert
10188 137 1918

If you unpublished a product from the store it will be removed from the sitemap. There's no need to add the meta tag since the product itself won't be accessible - it will 404.

Do you have an example where this is not the case?
Are you creating a redirect for that product so you can at least push traffic elsewhere?

Not convinced that unpublishing the product is the best SEO strategy if they are ranking well.

It would be really nice if Shopify would have a way to archive old products so that they can still be available on the backend without interferring with the frontend of SEO.

That's what unpublishing is for.

I jump on these forums to help and share some insights. Not looking to be hired, and not looking for work.

Don't hand out staff invites or give admin password to forum members unless absolutely needed. In most cases the help you need can be handled without that.


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Like what Jason said, you just take the product off the "Online Store" channel and you've unpublished it. If the product is performing well in organic search, it can be beneficial to leave it is.

If you need to immediately remove a page from search results, you can submit a remove url request in Google Search Console.

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Chelsea_Place
New Member
2 0 0

Thanks! 

After further investigating the URLs that are giving the issue are not old product - it just happened that the one I tested was weird, however these errors are presenting with "hidden products" on our site that the company that developed the site said would not show up in search, but they are and they are returning a 404.  Looks like I need to get with them to resolve this.  

Thanks for your assistance!

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