Google's given us another little peek into what they want to see from ecommerce sites. Here's what Google's Matt Cutts had to say about dealing with out-of-stock products.
Recently, the head of Google's Webspam team, Matt Cutts, was asked:
"How would Google recommend handling eCommerce products that are no longer available?"
And in a nutshell, he answered: It depends on the size of your business and the kind of products you sell.
For smaller businesses with handmade, one-of-a-kind products, he suggested creating a 404 page for out-of-stock products that shows the customer related products they may be interested in.
For the average ecommerce site, Cutts recommended the same solution, plus giving your customers the option of receiving an email when the product is back in stock. (In your Volusion store, you can do this by enabling in-stock requests. You also have the option of automatically hiding products when they're out of stock.)
To get all of the details and Cutts' reasoning behind them, check out his full video response.