Do your old product pages return 404 errors now? Do other websites ever link to your product pages? Many e-commerce retailers will remove their old product pages and when they do this they lose all of the ranking benefits that come from those incoming links.
Google will not be giving you any SEO benefit as a result of incoming links that point to 404 error pages. If you add a 301 redirect to those URLs you can now reap the benefits of having that incoming link again.
One of the easiest things that you can do to increase your rankings is add these redirects. This is almost just as good as acquiring new links to your website.
What to avoidToo many 301 redirects is bad, so adding 301 redirects for every product that disappears is not usually the best practice. Letting old product pages turn into 404 error pages is usually considered acceptable in the SEO world.
One of the first things that we do when we evaluate the SEO of an e-commerce website is to look at the category structure and look for opportunities to expand existing inventory into new categories. This will sometimes allow a website to target new keyword niches with a limited amount of work and site integration.
This strategy is not limited to e-commerce websites. Category and navigation structure are central to the SEO of any website.
What to avoidDon’t go too granular with your structure. Going overboard can be inconvenient for website users and turn into a spammy tactic.
Look at your existing keyword rankings. Right now you should be looking for keywords that have reasonable volume, where you are ranking in the top two pages but you have room to improve.
Look at some of the keyword variations for similar situations. This can be a scenario where a handful of small tweaks can earn you instant increases in traffic. This is why looking at existing keyword rankings is a primary step in our SEO audit process.
What to avoidMake sure you don’t take away from more important keywords while making tweaks to go after low hanging fruit.