What exactly is Thin Content?
Learn about Google's Thin Content Penalty and SEO.
It is widely accepted in the worlds of digital marketing and internet commerce that content is king. Most businesses understand that content is one of the most effective methods to generate attention, attract customers, and even improve search engine performance.
But, if the content is king, then thin content is the proverbial assassin.
What is thin content? What exactly is the relationship between thin content and SEO?
It’s difficult to define what constitutes good content. And many marketers are dissatisfied with delayed or disappointing returns after weeks of producing and developing new content. Worse, if they are subjected to a thin content penalty.
On-page material with little or no value to the visitor is referred to as thin content. This includes automatically generated material, useless affiliate content, content stolen from other sites, and stuff on gateway pages. Simply said, stuff that isn’t beneficial. We’ll go over all of this in greater detail later, but this is the information Google provides users in Search Console.
Content has become such an important aspect of marketing that it serves as the cornerstone for virtually every major marketing plan.
Content marketing has matured into a full-fledged realm of work and is even acknowledged as its approach. Today, more than 65% of marketers claim that content enhances engagement and generates at least 69% more leads for their businesses. According to Demand Metric, content-based inbound marketing gets at least 2.5 times more leads than outbound techniques while costing 61% less.
Furthermore, content serves as the foundation for every other popular marketing approach, including SEO, paid advertising, social media, and others.
It is for this reason that simply having content is no longer sufficient. That’s why tailoring content to the demands of your customers is critical for being competitive and sustaining keyword ranks. Hence, you need to learn how to prevent thin content in SEO.
What is Thin Content?
According to Google, Thin content is “low-quality or shallow pages on your site,” or material that adds little or no value to the user experience. Google also advises that if pages don’t “offer users with significantly original or useful material,” they may be punished, especially if they violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Remember that “content” encompasses more than just text; it also includes photos, headers, videos, multi-media, interactive graphics, navigation tools, and other elements.
Here are a few more instances of improper practices that may result in a penalty for your SEO:
- Content that has been created automatically. For example, text that is incomprehensible to readers or text that has been pieced together from various sources.
- Affiliate pages that aren’t very high in quality. This refers to material from a single brand (or connected brands) being duplicated on several websites or domains.
- Other people’s content. Scraped content, for example, or low-quality or irrelevant guest blog entries.
- Pages that lead to other pages. Pages that don’t accurately display the main content and instead direct readers to another page to get what they’re looking for.
Content that has been created automatically
According to Google, this material has “been created programmatically,”. Google may take action on anything that is designed to influence search rankings rather than aid users.”
This refers to writing that is either unintelligible to humans or created by technology only to generate content. It can also refer to text that has been stitched together from numerous sources, such as text created from Markov chains, text generated via synonymizing, scraped text from Atom/RSS feeds, or text formed from Markov chains.
Simply quoting or citing sources isn’t an issue here. However, information that is stolen or replicated under dubious circumstances will result in a thin content SEO penalty for your website.
“Purely scraped content, even from high-quality sources, may not give any added value to your users in the absence of any beneficial services or content supplied by your site; it may even constitute copyright infringement in some situations,” according to Google. They suggest that spending the effort to generate unique content that distinguishes your site is a smart practice.
This can also contain the following:
- Sites or pages that replicate and republish content from other sites without adding anything unique or offering value for visitors.
- Sites or pages that duplicate content from other sites and try to modify it slightly to pass it off as unique.
- Sites that republish material feeds from other sites without adding value to the users’ experience.
- Sites or pages dedicated to embedding material (such as images, video, audio files, and so on) without contributing or proving the benefit of doing so.
Attempting to short-cut your way to ranks by using any or all of these methods may result in a manual action penalty for thin content SEO.
Google considers affiliate material to be of low quality since it adds no more value to your site than it would to any other site.
According to Google, a visitor may wonder, “If I land on this page, what is the extra value of that vs landing on someone else’s affiliate website?” Or even a direct hit on the merchant?”
This is why affiliate material may be harmful to online shops and vendors that do not take the time to provide their users with higher-quality information.
Why should anyone care about your site if it lacks original content? Thin content in SEO is defined as when a site’s text, information, or visual aspects are irrelevant to the visitor’s goal or do not offer them what they need.
Why did Google zone in on thin content?
To understand thin content and why Google has placed so much emphasis on it, we must return to the search engine’s now-famous Panda algorithm upgrade in 2011. The major purpose of this modification was to prevent low-quality content websites from ranking well in search results.
This modification had a detrimental impact on many sites as well as pages with low-quality and shallow material, and it has influenced content marketing and SEO ever since.
The Panda component of the algorithm detects duplicate, plagiarized, or thin material, as well as user-created spam and keyword stuffing.
Later on, Google added the Fred update to their list of algorithm upgrades and modifications. This was targeted at low-quality content.
Many algorithm improvements have focused on content in some manner, but these two updates are the most significant in terms of focusing on low-quality content. Fred is focused on penalizing spammy and ad-centred content, such as blogs with low-quality entries and/or sites created just to earn cash from adverts. Even while Fred was mainly concerned with spammy, unfriendly ad activities, it was an extension of Google’s objective to prevent thin content and thin-content SEO methods from filling up its search results.
If your advertisements are more prominent than your content, your website may be in danger!
Best methods for avoiding a Google thin content penalty
The beautiful thing about content and SEO is that although removing bad material might minimize manual action penalties, going the additional mile and developing amazing content can put you ahead of the game.
The recommended practices in this area are derived from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Before we move on to the repair guide, the following are the Webmaster Guidelines for Site Content:
- Create a helpful, information-rich website, and produce pages that summarize your topic simply and accurately.
- Consider the words that visitors might use to reach your pages and ensure that your site contains such words.
- Make the most important material on your website displayed by default. Google can scan HTML material hidden behind navigational elements like tabs or expanding sections, but we feel that this content is less accessible to consumers and that you should keep your most critical information available in the default page view.
- Make a fair effort to guarantee that the advertisement links on your sites do not have an impact on search engine results.
- When displaying significant names, material, or links, try to utilize words rather than graphics. If you must use pictures for textual material, provide a few words of descriptive text in the alt property.
You should also ensure that your material adheres to Google’s “fundamental guidelines” for content quality. The key to avoiding SEO thin content is to ensure that your material is meant for people rather than your SEO success.
Your content must first focus on providing clients with what they require, and then your organic rankings can follow.
This kind of assessment may appear hazy and difficult to quantify. However, Google provides some pointers on what to consider when analyzing your content:
- Create pages that are intended solely for users, and not search engines.
- Don’t mislead your customers.
- Avoid deceptive tactics used to boost search engine ranks. A decent rule of thumb is to consider if you’d feel comfortable describing what you’ve done on a competitor’s website or to a Google employee. Another good test is to ask yourself – “Would I do this if there were no search engines?” Would the other person understand what I’m trying to say clearly
- Consider what makes your website distinct, valuable, or interesting. Make your website stand out from the crowd in your industry.
So even if you’ve followed the guidelines as given above, and you’re still smacked thin content penalty, then the following guide should be your first step in repairing your website’s status:
If you’ve received a Google thin content penalty, you should evaluate the sites or material specified in your Google Search Console account’s “Manual Actions” report. (If you don’t already have an account, you should create one.) Google’s Search Console is mostly used for monitoring and improving the performance of your business.
In fact, without Search Console, you won’t be able to tell whether you’ve been punished with a Google thin content penalty. You may locate it in the “Manual Actions” report on the left side navigation menu, or Search Console will send an email to the email address linked with your account.
You should go through your site’s content and make sure it complies with Google’s standards and Webmaster Guidelines.
It is recommended to eliminate content that has been duplicated, scraped, or produced. In reality, because updating material takes time, if you’ve received a Google thin content penalty, you should delete the content first and then replace it as quickly as possible with unique content. Regardless of the circumstance, replacing SEO thin material with unique content is always preferred. It’s possible that simply adding to it won’t be enough!
Perhaps your material is too keyword-heavy and incoherent to be fixed with a few more lines. Perhaps you stole the text from another page and it seems too close to the original, even if it’s been fattened up. Rewriting material is sometimes the best answer for whatever reason. This allows you to include keywords more naturally in your material; you can also regulate the flow of your sentences, providing an ideal reading experience.
It’s vital to understand that in SEO, “thin content” does not imply “insufficient content.” Text length and/or word count are not ranking criteria for Google. When Google penalizes you for having thin material, it is typically because the content does not match the aforementioned characteristics, not because it is too short.
Remove the Content
This eliminates the issue of spammy or fake content. However, a lack of content will harm your website in the long term. It may be a good idea to eliminate material if you are certain that it is negatively impacting user experience – but replacing it with a huge volume of well-written content should be a priority.
Request a Review — After you’ve removed, changed, or added to your thin material, you should submit a reconsideration request to Google. This informs Google that you’ve taken measures to address your thin content issue; Google reviewers may then revisit your website and, hopefully, eliminate the penalty.
Once the penalty is erased, your website can return to the top of Google’s search results. And now that its substance has been upgraded, it should continue to rise!
Introducing “EAT” and “needs met” concepts
Google has offered two extremely crucial new concepts in recent years that should be the starting point for developing content: EAT and “needs met.”
When it comes to addressing thin material on your site or just optimizing your existing content, it’s critical to understand these fundamentals.
We’ve previously discussed “what is thin content?” However, it is important to note that thin content does not relate to the number of words or the length of your material. Text length and word count are not used as ranking signals by Google or Bing. There is no universal definition of too little or too much material; the appropriate quantity will be determined by what is best for the site user.
Google’s updated core algorithm shook altered ranks for many websites in 2019 – with a greater emphasis on content and honesty on transactional sites. Around the same time, they added the notion of EAT, coupled with the concept of “needs met,” in their search quality criteria.
EAT is an acronym that stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, and it represents three key attributes that readers should be able to locate in your material. Whatever you put on your website, you want to make sure it is professionally presented and written, authoritative on its subject matter and trustworthy in the information it provides. This is what EAT stands for.
“Needs met” is exactly what it sounds like – will visitors find their “needs fulfilled” on your page? Consider if a reasonable person can find what they’re looking for on your website.
EAT is not limited to academic subjects or innovative research. Your material should ooze EAT to prevent SEO thin content. Writing EAT material for Google entails creating content for a wide range of topics, including fashion websites, blogs, funny sites, eCommerce sites, YMYL sites, and others.
When utilizing EAT to handle your thin content SEO, keep the following in mind:
- Providing potential clients with a high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
- Include a descriptive or informative title and a pleasing amount of high-quality primary material. Don’t exaggerate, or use clickbait methods to misguide your audience.
- Provide website information and/or information about who is accountable for the website to visitors. If the website is primarily for shopping or financial activities, it should provide helpful customer service information. People want to know who you are so they can be sure your company is real! Make sure your information pages — such as contact pages, about pages, FAQ pages, and others – are clear and informative; this will boost your SEO.
- Have a positive website reputation for a website that is in charge of the page’s core content.
What exactly is thin content in terms of EAT?
These are the primary guiding factors that Google has given in its search quality criteria for establishing EAT. You should consider whether your content ticks these boxes and, if not, strive to optimize it. You should also consider if it meets the demands of your visitors.
Visitors to your site want to know that what they see on your site is of high quality – if you consider yourself a professional in your field, you’ll want to demonstrate this by exhibiting as many EAT/needs satisfied as possible.
Is EAT a ranking criterion? No, not exactly. According to Google, no EAT statistic is employed as a search ranking indication. However, the search engine’s algorithms do take into account a variety of additional characteristics that correspond to what humans may refer to as EAT.
According to Google, they’ve tried to make this blend correspond with what human people would think is amazing content as measured by EAT criteria. Hence, it’s important to evaluate your material in terms of EAT criteria that may assist in conceptually aligning it with the many signals that our automated algorithms employ to rank content.
Make sure you have high-quality content if you want to increase your search engine results. One of the most essential things you can do for SEO is to create good content. Furthermore, if your site is hampered by SEO thin content, or if you’ve been punished with a Google thin content penalty, then following Google’s guidance will be important for developing your business.
Find Out More About Thin Content & SEO
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