To ensure that the content you provide your audiences is helpful and valuable, and to avoid Google penalties, you should avoid publishing pages with thin content.
Any content that does not give value to the searcher might be considered thin, both literally and symbolically. Conversely, thin content indicates that there isn’t enough text on your website to satisfy the searcher. On the other hand, it indicates that your pages lack enough good content to fulfill the expectations of the searcher.
Google wants us to show our most valuable material to customers, and if our content lacks substance or depth, it can significantly harm our rankings.
Fix and remove this thin content from your website to prevent damage and provide readers with better information.
We will discuss what is thin content. And how to fix it?
What is Thin Content?
In the world of Search Engine Optimization, “thin content” refers to web pages with insufficient, uninformative, or low-quality information that gives little to no value to readers.
In other words, they do not respond to search intent or help users in completing a task. This type of content can harm your website’s rating in search engines like Google.
Google wants to give the most useful information to customers depending on their search query. Therefore you must do everything possible to ensure that your content is educational accurate and trustworthy. Not only does thin content affect user experience, but it can also harm your SEO in various ways:
- Reduce Crawl Budget: Google crawls web pages to understand the context and content. This is referred to as the “Crawl Budget,” and you should delete thin content to ensure that Google crawls the most valuable information on your site.
- Increased Bounce Rate: If your content does not meet the needs of your readers, they will leave your site and look for a better option. This User Metric indicates to Google that a page is of low quality, and if you don’t address the Bounce Rate issue fast.
- Keyword Cannibalization: While having multiple pieces of content rank for the same word isn’t always a bad thing, having thin content that doesn’t deliver value can confuse Google and damage your rankings. Remove thin content to maintain the best information on your site, which you want Google to index and rank.
Why does Google dislike thin content?
Google aims to make it as easy as possible for people to find the answer to their search goals. When users type a question into the search box, Google sends them to the Google SERPs, which display the most promising information based on the user’s search intent. Users will therefore believe that this content helped them in achieving their objectives, and Google will have fulfilled its purpose.
Thin content leads a user to enter their search query, select one of the top results, and get directed to a page with low-quality information.
Users will feel misled and will have to search again as a result of this. To put it succinctly, Google wants to spare people the trouble of having to resume their searches.
Types of Thin Content
To avoid producing thin material, you must first understand what defines thin content. Typically, thin content is commonly defined as one of the following:
a. Website Content that Lacks Depth or Usefulness
Simply having a lot of stuff on a page does not make it good. Similarly, just because a page contains much content does not mean that it is deserving of a high ranking. Quality content that deserves to be ranked also answers all inquiries and addresses any issues that the user may have. Pages aren’t thin when they offer comprehensive content that meets (and potentially surpasses) the user’s needs.
b. Duplicate or Repetitive Website Content
Duplicate or repetitive content is an important indicator of low-quality content, sometimes known as “thin content.” The website content on a single page may be redundant, or the content on multiple pages of your site may be redundant.
To reduce duplicate content during the creation process, try to focus on long-tail keywords.
When multiple of your pages have the same or highly comparable stuff, both Google and end users get confused as to which page is the source of information.
c. Pages with Syndicated or Scraped Content
When it comes to SEO, outright stealing content is a big no-no. This is because scraped and syndicated content does not provide users with greater value than the source. As a result, Google sees no point in displaying such pages to the user. In addition, stealing content from other websites could harm your reputation and prevent you from developing collaborations with content creators. As a result, this might be terrible for the long-term success of your website.
d. Doorway or Low-quality Affiliate Pages
Websites that use doorway pages and low-quality affiliate pages effectively try to hide or manipulate the user. They hide, disguise, or divert website content to rank higher on Google. All of this is done to make the user believe they have landed on a “good enough” search result. Websites that merely show limited material to search engines or openly redirect the user to another page to collect an affiliate commission are examples of this. Google disapproves of such activities because they are misleading and malicious in purpose.
As Google’s algorithms are considerably more advanced, these “scam pages” aren’t what they used to be. They are also less common, however, some examples can still be found. For example, in 2020 and 2021, Google battled several fake Danish websites that quickly rose to prominence and tried to exploit a Bitcoin scam.
e. Thin Content on Category Tag and Author pages
Some of the most common examples of thin content are category, tag, or author pages. That’s because if your website has been up for a while, you’re bound to have leftovers from previous attempts. Websites with active blogs that accept guest blogging on a large scale, for example, often have very short author pages. Or perhaps you’ve developed an abundance of distinct blog tag pages, making your website structure an issue for search engines to solve.
Similarly, as any eCommerce company experiences changes in inventory, it frequently leaves the website with dozens (if not hundreds) of empty categories or product pages.
To deal with pages like this, it’s always a good idea to go over your website’s pages regularly. Running a website scan (or looking at the “Coverage” tab in “Google Search Engine“) will assist you in identifying thin pages that can become challenging over time. You can then resuscitate the pages, remove and redirect them, or just no-index them.
f. Overwhelming Pages with Many Ads or Popups
Google often considers pages with shallow content that are largely loaded with advertisements and popups to be thin content. The content is not satisfying to the end user, and the intrusive advertisements and popups make things worse. Google can also be blocked via popups in some cases, depending on the technology employed. When this happens, the popup becomes the main content of the page, which might harm the page’s rankings.
g. Automatically Generated Content
This type of content, on the other hand, provides a bad reading experience for any of your users and may have several repetitions and syntax issues.
How to Identify Thin Content?
Identifying thin content manually is possible, but it takes quite a bit of time and work to manage such a project. As a result, there are faster ways to evaluate thin content using a variety of techniques.
Let’s take a look at the steps you may take to identify it.
1. Identify Thin Content
To begin, use thin content checkers to crawl through your website to identify where thin content exists. Google Search Console is one of the best tools for identifying thin content. This is because it provides good, intuitive data, but it also shows you exactly how Google sees your website.
Blog content that do not receive any search traffic, even though they should, are excellent indicators of thin content. That is, you should look for posts and pages that have already had enough time to rank correctly. If you encounter any sites that are expected to rank but aren’t, it could indicate weak material.
Other tools to identify thin content are:
- Screaming Frog
2. Look for URLs
Duplicate content is a big cause of thin content penalties, so keep an eye out for it. Examining your URLs for similar pages will assist you in identifying pages that are too similar to one another.
After you’ve gathered your URLs, look for similar keywords or article titles that could indicate duplicate content.
3. Set up your Primary Keywords in a Rank Tracker Tool
When you have numerous blogs targeting the same keywords, it can result in duplicate content or keyword. Cannibalization, which occurs when your pages compete with each other to rank for specific keywords.
Setting up a rank tracker can instantly alert you to problems with your content. With such alerts, you may rapidly notice if a page declines in rankings or is fully deindexed.
4. Find Duplicating Titles and Meta Descriptions
Another thing that could harm your SEO is having duplicate meta descriptions. Just as each blog title and description must be unique, so must your meta titles and descriptions.
You may easily verify whether any of your page title tags or meta descriptions are duplicates by using a website crawler tool like Screaming Frog. Original page names and meta descriptions are important because they can confuse Google and your readers.
5. Use a Website Crawler to find Duplicate Content
The final and most important step in finding thin and duplicate content is to crawl your website with a program that compares the content itself. Again, powerful website crawler tools such as Screaming Frog provide many options for debugging issues with your website.
If you feel that several of your pages have thin content, there are simpler tools you may use. In these situations, you can test and confirm your theory with a plagiarism checker. Free tools like DupliChecker and Siteliner might assist you in completing this task swiftly.
How to Fix Thin Content?
Fixing thin content means offering value and relevance for users and search engines. The most important aspect of identifying thin content is taking action to address and fix any thin content issues you may have.
There are a few techniques you can take to handle thin content fears and resolve them in a good way that helps enhance your status in the Google search algorithm.
- Improve the Content: The first option is to enrich the content with additional content to flesh out your message and rich media. You can use rich media, such as videos and photos, to enrich the basic content of a page.
- Make sure that the media you use supports your message and improves the user experience. Improve the depth and detail of existing content. Conduct additional research and include fresh data, statistics, examples, case studies, or expert opinions.
- Consolidate Content: If a piece of content cannot be upgraded but gets some search traffic, you can 301 redirect it to another piece of content. Make sure to fold that thin content into a relevant piece of content to preserve the SEO value.
- Remove Content: If you are unable to improve the piece and are unable to identify a related piece of material 301 redirect and fold into another piece of content.
- Rewrite it: Rewriting thin content is another option. Change your approach to the term or choose a new keyword to be the focal point of your blog. Rewrite the article to make it more beneficial to readers.
There is a method to finding thin content, and an art to deciding what to do with it. You must read every piece of information before deciding whether to update, consolidate, or remove it from your site based on your users’ search intent.
Apart from this, here are a few of the most common technical difficulties that can indicate thin content to search engines, as well as how to fix them.
- www vs. non-www URLs: There should be just one preferred URL, which appears obvious to SEO experts but is sometimes neglected. Have the unwanted version 301 redirect to the preferred canonical version at all times.
- HTTP vs. HTTPS: Follow the same procedure as previously, but also ensure that all internal HTTP links are forwarded to the HTTPS version.
- Thin Category Pages: Some product-based businesses have hundreds of category pages, while others may only have a few things, which may look to search engines as thin content. You can either chop or no index the category.
- Print Pages: If the website offers print-friendly pages, the development of print-friendly URLs may result in duplicate information. Make sure to use robots.txt or a robot’s meta tag to prevent the print URLs.
- Comment Pagination: There are 1.83 billion websites online, according to Website Hosting Rating. Yes, you read that right: billion. WordPress is the industry leader in content management systems (CMS), accounting for 60.4 percent of the market. The biggest issue with WordPress is that it supports comment pagination. The solution is simple: turn it off. Never enable comment pagination on WordPress or any other CMS, and always use a canonical tag that points to article’s URL.
- Mobile Website: Though this is largely a thing of the past, some websites use subdomains for mobile visitors which can lead to an attack of duplicate content issues. If this is the case, make sure the correct canonical tags that point back to the desktop version are in place.
When making an assessment, make sure that you set sufficient time to examine the content both broadly and in-depth for each piece.
Nowadays, most websites don’t have to worry about thin content. This is because SEOs, content writers, and modern marketers all recognize an increasing demand for high-quality content.
With an abundance of reputable websites competing in search, Google has promoted SEO strategies that ultimately benefit the end-user. As a result, if you’re following the most recent SEO best practices, you’ll likely make such an error.
Thin content provides little value to your audiences and harms your standing with search engines like Google. Once you’ve found your thin content, you can begin correcting it by having short or incomplete content on your site in the first place.
Creating content can be difficult, and focusing on a single term might lead to thin content issues.