One SEO professional asked John Mueller during a submitted question and answer segment about out of stock products, and how they can impact rankings.
Their question was: “Let’s say my product page is ranking for a transactional keyword. Would this affect its ranking if the product is out-of-stock?”
John answered that it’s possible, for out-of-stock. Let’s simplify this.
He thinks there are multiple things that come into play when it comes to the products themselves.
They can be shown as a normal search result, and they can also be shown as an organic shopping result as well.
If something is out-of-stock, John believes the organic shopping result might not be shown, but he is not 100 percent sure on this.
When it comes to normal search results, it can happen that when Google sees that something is out-of-stock, they will assume it’s more like a soft 404 error where they will drop that URL from the search results as well.
So theoretically, it could affect the visibility in search, if something goes out-of-stock.
But it doesn’t have to be the case. In particular, if you have a lot of information about that product anyway, on these pages, then this page can still be quite relevant for people who are searching for a specific product.
It’s not necessarily that if something goes out-of-stock, then this page disappears from search.
The other thing that is also important to note here is that even if one product goes out-of-stock, the rest of the site’s rankings are not affected by time.
Even if Google were to drop that one specific product, because they think it’s more like a soft 404 page, then for people searching for other products on the site, Google would still show those normally.
This happens at approximately the 37:41 mark in the video.