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What to do with old product pages?

     
10:44 am on May 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What is the best practice when it comes to old and discontinued product pages? noindex, follow? 301 redirect to a similar product? Put an advisory on the page that it has been discontinued with a link to a current similar product?
2:55 pm on May 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have never done eCom, strictly info sites, however I do know what I like from a searchers perspective.

That last is my preference: advisory on the page that it has been discontinued with a link to a current similar product.

I don't know what your product pages look like or what info is on page or linked to but often a person with an older product or thinking of buying an older product is looking for info about it. Yes, it means that they are not buying. However, it never hurts to be known - by visitors and SES - as a repository of information about the products you carry and carried.

It may open up affiliate parts/repair opportunities. It may, as well, convince the visitor to buy new from you.

My 2-cents.
8:30 am on May 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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DISCONTINUED!
For similar products see below.


Archived information BLAH BLAH BLAH.

RELATED PRODUCTS

I like these kind of pages ... but I'd rather not see them in the first place. Too many webmasters (ecommerce primarily) hang on to outdated inventory pages too long, spoiling the serps and irritating me.
8:35 am on May 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yes, you have an interested customer, hang on to them.

Also, check your logs to see if you can determine where they came from (referrer) get that backlink updated.
8:41 am on May 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The other version I've seen, which works quite well, is

New product page with text aside

"replaces productxyz by widgetmaker, now discontinued"
or
"similar to (same as above)"

But ONLY if the original page no longer exists (410)
12:44 pm on May 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Also, check your logs to see if you can determine where they came from (referrer) get that backlink updated.


You can be more proactive than that. Google Search Console has extensive lists of backlinks to your pages, so you don't have to wait for clicks on old links to show up in your logs to identify what needs updating.