Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by KC Koushik on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, August 23, 2018).

Best way to hide specific products from the website

If I need to "hide" some specific products from the website, what would be the best way to do that?

I don`t want to remove or take down the products, because that will create broken links and then those broken links will have to be redirected, which I don`t want.

Actually, we had a quality issue with our base ingredient and we don`t want anyone to order them online. We could possibly discontinue the line but that has not been decided yet.

I know, I can make those products out of stock to stop ordering those products but it does not seem to be the best solution.

Please if you guys share any idea, I would really appreciate it.


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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • KC Koushik: +Lyndon NA Thanks Lyn, but it`s considered a bad idea to cache failures... also it seems Googlebot will pay attention to the header if it`s there, which can keep it from un-indexing the page for a while.So, I think the best way to just mark the product as out of stock.
  • Jim Munro: A 503 says only "come back later" and googlebot respects this. The page returning 503 won`t be de-indexed unless you leave the 503 in place for an extended term.
  • KC Koushik: +Jim Munro I am not really sure about how soon we will want back those products... so I am going to make "out of stock".Thanks Jim.
  • Lyndon NA: +KC Koushik - marking things out of stock is fine ... but G will pick up on it, which I thought you wanted to avoid?As an alternative, you could use the URL Removal Request tool for a short period.Get the pages in question to return a 404, submit the requests ... they will drop from the SERPs (but not the index).Then you can remove the 404 header and alter the content as you see fit.When things are back on track, you can go to the URL Removal Request tool in Search Console and request to remove the removal requests.They should reappear in the index pretty quickly, and your rankings should be equal to what they were (that doesn`t mean they will be in the same position - if competitors have been optimising etc., things will have changed!)
  • KC Koushik: +Lyndon NA Don`t you think these back and forth changes will be a disturbance for the bot?
  • Lyndon NA: The bot doesn`t care :DAll that matters are;1) You disrupt/disappoint users as little as possible on-site.2) You disrupt/disappoint users as little as possible from the SERPs.3) You don`t impact your existing rankings as little as possible.If you do a Google Search, find a relevant listing, click it and land on a page that says "no", you are not happy.In fact, you may decide to quit the site.Ideally, no one should see your bad pages in the SERPs and face disappointment ... thus a variety of ways to get those pages out the SERPs ... without damaging your rankings.Then it`s down to you how to handle the on-site visitors with the least negative impact.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, August 23, 2018).

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