Google Says Stock Or Inventory Levels Should Not Impact Rankings

Google’s John Mueller was asked if stock levels can impact the ranking of products on an e-commerce site. John implied that the answer is no, he said “that seems unrelated, at least for normal search. It might impact product search but he is not sure if it will or won’t – but normal web search, it should not impact.

Here is where this was said on Twitter:

John added it doesn’t make sense to do this:

What concerns me is that the product is listed as out of stock for “about 3 weeks,” the SEO said. Now the product dropped from the number one position to the number nine position.

I am thinking, maybe Google is picking up on the out of stock as maybe an error page and treating it as a soft 404 but in that case, the page would not be listed at all? We do also know that Google, via structured data or other means, can show inventory levels in the snippet in some cases. Again, John is saying out of stock products should not see a drop in rankings? We know Google may soft 404 out of stock products over time.

I did ask about the soft 404 for that URL but he does not know:

What do you think?

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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