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  • Yet Another Post On Discontinued Items

    I looked through all the threads on on how people are handling discontinued items on their stores and still have some questions that were not addressed.

    Here's the best 3dcart forum thread to get up to speed: http://forums.3dcart.com/forum/shopp...cts-procedures

    And here's the best non-3dcart post (Shout out to DeanP ): http://deanp.net/2013/11/how-to-hand...erce-products/

    So here are the issues I'm still having --

    Even if you make an item non-searchable and not-for-sale, even if you remove all categories for the item, it still shows up if you browse by Manufacturer. I don't want it to.

    I've made a custom template for discontinued items that re-purposes the "Related Items" as "Suggested Replacements" instead. This has been done, primarily, to make sure backlinks to these products still have a valid landing page with all the product information. My question -- and this may be more of a discussion -- is at what point do you mark this page as "noindex?" At a certain point, having an ocean of discontinued or dead items to your comparative tributary of active products is going to reflect negatively on your SERP rankings site-wide. How are you handling when to stop indexing these items?

    Lastly, and I think this might be it's own thread, but these items are still indexed in the sitemap. Last I checked, we still don't have a way to edit the sitemap without supplying our own. I, personally, don't have a problem with discontinued items appearing on my sitemap... but I'd love to be able to downgrade their "priority" to something small (0.2?).
    Webmaster: Texas Media Systems

  • #2
    I hide my discontinued items and they don't show up in my feed, google or anywhere that I'm aware of. Am I missing something I should've been doing and haven't been because my ignorance is bliss?

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    • #3
      Toobusy :: If you are hiding you items they don't show up anywhere -- that's correct. But if there are backlinks to that page (for example, from other sites) then when people go to that product they are getting a soft 404. They're only seeing that the item is no longer there, and Google isn't (for lack of a better word) "penalizing" you the same way it would with a hard 404. However, any link juice that product may have had dies with that product.

      Several of my product pages have too much information that might still be useful to customers, and I don't want loose my 'link juice,' so I want my pages active but inaccessible unless a search engine or a backlink puts them there.
      Webmaster: Texas Media Systems

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      • #4
        TMS Clint , can you show us a link to a product that has info you don't want to lose? Perhaps that info could be stored in a content page, rather than as a product. I would think having an ocean of discontinued or dead items in your store would be a pain to keep up with.

        I don't know if my situation is anything like yours, but I use 1 distributor, who drop ships to my customers. I get a weekly list of discontinued products from them, and I delete them in my store. Actually, they produce an inventory CSV file with on hand quantities, updated every 5 minutes, and if a product isn't on that list, it is discontinued. As an aside, if I could figure a way to get the quantity info in my product pages from that list, I'd be ecstatic. I haven't been able to figure out how to do it, though.

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        • #5
          I have a category called Discontinued. I move all discontinued items to this category (remove all other categories) - set as Non Searchable and also set the Manufacturer to none. The last stops the product showing in the Manufacturer listings. I also remove the Keywords and only use Discontinued (so I can use a smart category). Also means I don't have 404's. It works well.
          Sue
          Fabric Garden
          fabricgarden.com.au

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          • #6
            I must be missing something here, fabricgarden . If your product is discontinued and you don't have it to sell anymore, what does this gain for you? There's got to be something going on here that I'm not getting.

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            • #7
              cwnoah If I hide or delete items - I need to setup 301 redirects. I have also pinned many products to pinterest etc. This way customers finding an old product - don't get broken links and I still rank in those searches. I have used Shopify and when you delete an item IT AUTOMATICALLY creates the 301. This would be so much easier.
              Sue
              Fabric Garden
              fabricgarden.com.au

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              • #8
                cwnoah I'll be compiling a post on why I created a discontinued item template and my process for implementing it, so I'll have a specific example then -- but as to "why" keep the item instead of deleting it: 1) to help the customer find a similar item and 2) to not prematurely lose any "link juice" that the item has brought my site.

                fabricgarden I didn't even think to remove the manufacturer, and good call on the keywords. I'll be removing any keywords that don't directly relate to that specific product (like the mfgid). And now you've made me realize that I can probably remove most of the microdata as well.
                Webmaster: Texas Media Systems

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                • #9
                  My inventory changes frequently, plus products sell out. I have tried several methods of redirects, and have settled on deleting products and setting a 301. It keeps the backend cleaned up. Images are still there for social media. I'm not worried about link juice, since in my case with constantly changing inventory, that is harder to acquire than at the category level.

                  Yes, you can set the manufacturer to none, inventory to zero, not for sale, etc.I do that to set a preview point for coming inventory. One can set up inactive inventory that way; sort of an archive or resources section.

                  As far as downgrading links, you can do that through Google Webmaster Tools.

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                  • #10
                    We have discontinued items on weekly basis. I delete them and make a 301 to the relevant product category.

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                    • #11
                      Hi peterz , I do the same, except for creating a 301 to the category. I may have to start doing that. Have you seen quantifiable results from doing that? Do you create the 301 before deleting the product or after?

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                      • #12
                        Hello Charlie,
                        Do you create the 301 before deleting the product or after: I don't think it matters...I do it at the same time.
                        Have you seen quantifiable results from doing that: If you don't do a re-direct of a deleted page it will result in a 404 error. Too many 404 errors will eventually affect your rankings and crawling of your site. You can check your site in Google/Bing webmaster tool.
                        About 404 errors: I checked your site and you might want to customized your 404 page (http://tinybearwildbirdstore.com/sdsd). It's not a good thing when potential customers see an error page...they usually will click away from your site.

                        Peter

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TMS Clint View Post
                          Toobusy :: If you are hiding you items they don't show up anywhere -- that's correct. But if there are backlinks to that page (for example, from other sites) then when people go to that product they are getting a soft 404. They're only seeing that the item is no longer there, and Google isn't (for lack of a better word) "penalizing" you the same way it would with a hard 404. However, any link juice that product may have had dies with that product.

                          Several of my product pages have too much information that might still be useful to customers, and I don't want loose my 'link juice,' so I want my pages active but inaccessible unless a search engine or a backlink puts them there.
                          Hi TMS Clint,
                          Maybe you can shed some insight. I'm going to be dealing with a some what similar situation. At some point I'll have product records that will only be displayed in there category for a few days ( some times only minutes ) until that single item is sold. Once gone I don't want to tease other customers with clicking the link to find it's out of stock. I could do a 301 redirect but would of course have to delete it the next time I used that record. Or would just hiding the record make it a "soft" 404 and not a big issue in SEO terms?

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                          • #14
                            Just a note on this subject that I wish 3dCart would add as a feature -- my old cart had a product attribute that basically hid the product if it was out of stock. Very useful for one-time type products and cuts down on questions from customers who find an item after it was sold. I would start a User-Voice request on it but not sure if that would get very far.
                            Joe Arbogast
                            http://www.birdsafestore.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Birdsafe View Post
                              Just a note on this subject that I wish 3dCart would add as a feature -- my old cart had a product attribute that basically hid the product if it was out of stock. Very useful for one-time type products and cuts down on questions from customers who find an item after it was sold. I would start a User-Voice request on it but not sure if that would get very far.
                              3dCart has this feature. Look in the General Store Settings.
                              Luxlife

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