Should I archive or delete Shopify products
When an item is discontinued on our Shopify website, is it better to delete it or archive it?
I advocate for neither.
Deleting your discontinued products is the same thing as archiving in Google's eyes. Either way, the page is removed from showing up in Google and customers cannot access the product.
Products with quality content, reviews, and established SEO can be unarchived. This allows you to support your current SEO efforts with proven content.
This is especially the case if you're replacing an old product with a newer model.
Remember that having a discontinued product on Shopify is free. It's not like you're charged per product. So you might as well continue to benefit from the SEO you already earned on that page and make money from discontinued products.
Don't just unarchive the product and think you're good.
When a product page sits there with no links to/from, Google considers this an orphaned page. Orphaned pages are a signal to Google that the page is not important. You'll often see orphaned pages show up in technical SEO audits because Google doesn't like orphaned pages.
My recommendation is to keep the product active, mark it as out-of-stock, and link to a comparable product or collection rather than deleting or archiving it. Linking Llama allows you to also bulk import links to alternative products, speeding up this process immensely.
If you don't care about the SEO benefits, then the decision to delete or archive is completely up to you and how you manage your website.