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Suspending online ordering without disrupting SEO

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(This became a long post, so I highlighted questions in bold.)

Like any small shop, there will be times that I'll need to suspend ordering. There is an old thread that is locked on this topic. I've also looked at the SS help page, which had a chart about the SEO visibility (https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/360022365512). It seems the various options - making it private again, adding passwords, etc. - all have a negative SEO impact in that those pages become no longer visible to SEO. Am I interpreting that correctly?

  • Does that mean that the site 'loses ranking' (at whatever rate that occurs) during the time it's not visible?

Ideal solution - able to prevent orders without restructuring the site.

  • It would be ideal for users to be able to browse (so they can be thinking about what they want to buy) but not be able to Add to Cart. I.e., the button is either disabled with a custom message above it, or clicking the button results in a custom message that the shop isn't taking orders for x days and doesn't add the item to the cart.
  • Is there an elegant solution for this?

Poor solution - try to catch the user's attention with loud banners, to inform them of delays, but don't prevent ordering

  • There doesn't seem to be a way to customize the checkout page with text, e.g., to add a loud banner stating delays in fulfilling orders.
  • There is no easy way to add a loud banner on all product pages at once, stating delays.
  • I could move the Store to Not Linked, but some products are featured or linked in other parts of the site, so that's not a good option because they can still go directly to products and order.
  • Since galleries are structurally different from Stores, I doubt there's an easy way to move products from a store to a gallery without losing a bunch of info that would have to be re-entered when they're moved back to the store, right?
  • Adding a text block above the shop header doesn't help, in that there are various links published that go directly to specific product pages.
  • Is there a way to implement even this inelegant solution?

302 redirect?

  • I read the help page on this https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/205815308-URL-redirects
  • The scenario I'm thinking of is:
    • Create a temporary page that's labeled Shop at the top, states that it's temporarily closed and when to check back, and has a few pictures on it for interest. But it's just a static page, goes nowhere.
    • Any time I need to suspend, 302 redirect the mydomain.com/shop to mydomain.com/fakeshop
    • When the suspension is over, delete the 302
  • Pros
    • Relatively simple to add and delete a 302
    • Maintains SEO ranking - correct?
  • Cons
    • Would need to update images on the fake shop from time to time/no big deal
    • Customers can't see available products during the suspension
    • Anything else?
  • Questions
    • When I redirect /shop to /fakeshop, are all the products under /shop also inaccessible?
    • If a product highlight is on my home page and a user clicks it, will they still go to the product page and be able to buy even though /shop is redirected? (I'm following the standard URL format, e.g., all products are mydomain.com/shop/p/productname.) If not, where would they go - hopefully not a 404? Would I have to 302 redirect each individual product page?
    • Any suggested time limits on how long a 302 can be in place without a negative impact? I.e., can it be in place for a month?

Other solution

  • Is there another solution I've missed?

Thanks for any and all suggestions and help!

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Does that mean that the site 'loses ranking' (at whatever rate that occurs) during the time it's not visible?

I think that likely. At least for the pages that aren't accessible.

Here is an idea.

Export your products to a CSV. Make a copy of the CSV. Bring the copy into into your spreadsheet. Edit the stock levels to zero. Export as CSV. Import the CSV copy into your site selecting the update stock levels option.

Then when the down time is over, import the original CSV with the original stock levels and you're up and running again.

Setting all the stock levels to zero should mean no purchases are possible. At least for physical products. I've actually not done this on a site so I don't know all the ramifications but seems like a low effort way to stop purchases without or reduces SEO issues.

One thing you'll want to make sure is don't edit your products on the site during the down period as those changes won't magically transfer to the CSV file. If you do need to make changes on the site you could export a second CSV from the site and update the stock level column from the original CSV. Then import that second export file. It's all a bit of a dance and you have to keep a tight grip on what steps you are doing but it will work as SS supports this type of process.

Please see Editing products - Bulk edit products

You mentioned adding a message to each product to indicate that the store is closed. I seem to recall helping a member with that very issue. I think it was just some simple CSS adding text around the add to cart button. But I don't recall when I did that. You could try some searches using my name CSS add to cart, etc. to see if you can find it. I'll take a quick look myself and post back if I find it.

As to your other questions I don't have answers for those at this time.

Let us know how you get on and what method(s) you use.

Find my contributions useful? Please like, upvote, mark my answer as the best ( solution ), and see my profile. Thanks for your support! I am a Squarespace ( and other technological things ) consultant open for new projects.

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