Removing one of a kind products which are sold from Shopify & Google search results?

I am dealing with a very frustrating problem that is quite specific to my particular Shopify store.  I sell collectibles, in the vast majority of cases I have one particular product in stock.  Once that product is sold Google continues to send people to my site where they are greeted with a “Sold!” label on the product page.  This approach has some pros and cons that I will list below:

Pros

-Googles links bring a customer to my site that might not have otherwise known about it.

-I installed a notify when in stock app so I can gather customer contact info and let them know if I get the item back in stock.  This is not extremely common but it does occur.

Cons

-Due to the majority of my products being one of a kind, the percentage of visitors that land on a sold product page from Google is extremely high.  I would estimate that greater than 70% of links clicked on Google lead to a sold product page.  It is a constant source of frustration that I’d prefer to be without.  In an ideal world I’d like my visitors to ALL land on product pages that are IN STOCK.

-Customer frustration and a negative first impression.

So that brings me to my question.  Should I change sold products to draft status so they no longer appear on my site?  If I do this will Google drop these links out of their database?  I’ve read this could cause negative SEO consequences so I am uncertain if this is a good path to go down.  Quite frankly seeing my customers landing on sold product pages most of the time is so frustrating I’d like to see these links disappear completely from Google search results, but again I am uncertain how to approach this.

 Thank you! 

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MS-WEB-DESIGNER
Shopify Partner
2807 176 470

Dear @Mugbarista 

As the product is sold out, provide the pre-order facility with a date when the product will be available next.

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The problem is my products more often than not will not be available again.

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KieranR
Shopify Partner
296 24 88

Custom code a One Of A Kind, Out Of Stock "ooak-oos" product template.

Do changes like: 

  • Remove CTA / price display
  • Remove buy-box trust symbols
  • Add copy like: "Hey sorry this was one of a kind, but you might want to check out these other options."
  • Add up product recommendations closer to the top
  • Add category recommendations colser to the top
  • Add an email sign-up saying "sign up for any similar products" that records the product + category against the email sub.

Could use some combo of tags flows, or other automations to flick over to this template once a one of a kind product goes OOS.

Full time Shopify SEO guy, based in NZ. Sometimes freelance outside the 9-5.
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Sharon_B
Pathfinder
92 0 23

Most of the items I sell are one of a kind also, and what I do is this:

When an item sells, I add a SOLD tag so it shows under the Sold Collection. After six months, I edit the listing, taking off all pics but the main one, and remove all of the other tags besides the sold tag (although if it is designer signed I keep that tag so it still shows up under the appropriate collection. This gives good "link juice."

Then, after awhile, I remove it from the site. THIS IS IMPORTANT: You need to put in a redirect on the product when you remove it, or it will generate 404s. So before you delete the product, be sure to copy the link (the one that shows the hyphen between the words). Then delete the product and go to the redirect page (on my theme it is under navigation). And put in a redirect to the category that the product was under. Or at least a redirect to your home page.

(It has to be deleted before you can put in the redirect.)

This will direct those search links to something else appropriate, and Google won't penalize you for having 404s.

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