Just as most content websites are saying the same thing in hundreds or thousands of different ways, most eCommerce businesses are selling the same products as their competitors. The obvious exception would be sites that only sell their own brand.
If you’re in the highly competitive widget accessories industry and you’re competing with twenty other websites who also sell widget accessories, chances are you share many of the same widget accessory vendors. Everyone knows when a vendor is about to release a new product, but most eCommerce businesses don’t actually put the product on their website until they have it in stock, or at least until drop shipping or pre-sales are available.
However, just as search engines will factor in the first page to be indexed when they weigh which duplicate content version to show, I’ve found in my experience that search engines may also weigh in the original cache date when deciding which product page to show.
The Moral of The Story
Without making this post any longer and more complicated than it needs to be, what I’m trying to say is that you should put up a product page AS SOON AS you know about an exciting new product coming down the pipeline. All it takes is an extra line of called-out text (red, for instance) in the copy explaining that this product is not yet in stock, but will be available for pre-order on such-n-such date. Now you’re first to market… at least in the sense that being first to market means being the first to get indexed.
Not only will Google find your page first, but you’ll also have a URL to which you can begin obtaining links. Contact all of the widget accessory fan-blogs out there and share the page with them. Tell them that because you read their blog and know they’re one of the leaders when it comes to widget accessory info (flattery works well in such cases) you wanted them to be among the first to know about this new product coming down the line. Make sure the page is in your sitemap feed, and maybe even write your own blog about how this product is exciting and coming soon – in part so you can link to that product page and get it indexed ASAP.
One last thing: As an eCommerce SEO, you’ll want to make sure merchandising and product development (or whoever is in charge of this sort of thing at your business) puts you on the email list so you know about new products as far ahead of time as possible.