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  • Deleted product page?

    I have been playing around with my store for a couple months now but have yet to go live. I've had to delete and add new products a few times and I noticed that when I delete products, they tend to still appear in search engines and when I click on them they display a "product not found page".

    Can anybody tell me how long those pages appear in search engines for after being deleted? Are they there forever? If so, is there anyway to delete them so they are not indexed by Google?

    Furthermore, is there anyway to edit the "product not found" page so I can have it display a different message to visitors?

    Thanks in advance for your input!

    -John

  • #2
    The second part first.
    see post below.

    Now the hard part,
    Once search engines index a page, it is really out of your hand to a great extent. You can create 301 re-directs before you delete a product to send people to another product. If you have Webmaster tools enabled in Google / Bing, you will see these pages listed as errors under the diagnostics section. If you create a 301, you can check the box next to them and mark the page as Fixed. Otherwise, search engines will drop pages that return a 404 after a short while.
    That is how I understand it, and I am open to corrections because I would also like to learn more about this subject.
    Last edited by elightbox; 04-11-2012, 12:32 PM.

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    • #3
      Actually the product not found is in Settings > Design > System Messages , message # 89 . You can use html in the message to format your message.

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      • #4
        Thank you so much for your input!

        So what you are saying is eventually the "product not found" pages will be removed from Google?

        Unfortunately creating redirects is not really an option for me since I have over 400,000 products uploaded :/

        Thanks again!

        -John

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        • #5
          Yes - as some point they will...but keep in mind if they do - you could be missing out on traffic. Let's say for some reason for one of those products you were ranked on the first page of google for 15 different keywords. If you 'allow' those to be bad links, you are missing out on traffic. If you do 301's on the pages, it would allow you to funnel that traffic to a spot of your website that could potentially convert that traffic to a buying customer. If you don't do the work with 301's, you are essentially throwing away that potential traffic.

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          • #6
            If 301's aren't an option, which the op says they aren't, you should consider a custom 404 page. Place some static links back to popular categories and keep your fingers crossed that some of the traffic may make it back to your actual site instead of a dead page. Bounce rates will no doubt be high, though.

            If you get 1 out of every 10 or 20 visitors that hit your custom 404 page and link back to your site, its still a better chance to convert than losing them all to a dead 404.

            Make it compelling, interesting, and (there's no other way to say it) don't let it look like a 404 page.

            But really, your best bet is to 301 anything you can.. set a threshold of what is an acceptable amount of traffic for you to take the time and create a 301, hunt down the products that are giving you that amount of traffic and redirect those where you want them to go. Then you can let the rest fall back to your custom 404.

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