THANKS FOR GETTING IN TOUCH

We aim to respond to all messages within 1 business day. You'll be hearing from us soon!

In the meantime, perhaps you'd like to learn more...

EXCITING!

We'd love to help you get your next digital project off the ground.

HOW CAN WE REACH YOU?

*Required Fields
*
*
*
*

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU BE SMARTER ONLINE

*
CLOSE
 

Is 'Thin Content' Hurting your Website's Performance?

November 15, 2012

'Are you one of the many webmasters whose traffic and search visibility has taken a dramatic dive? Do these dives in visitor traffic correlate with one or more of the Google Panda updates which date back to February 2011? If so, it is possible that the presence of ‘thin’ or ‘shallow’ content is part of your problem. Image of lady pulling at her hair

I recently wrote a post about how to find and manage duplicate content if your website traffic indicated that your site may have been bitten by Google Panda.  While this post will focus on how to find and deal with ‘thin content’ on your site, I strongly recommend finding out if duplicate content could also be an issue. Both are red flags for the Google Panda Algorithm. 

The website content you produce in this new world of Google Search needs to be worthy of earning links, social media mentions/shares, and thus strong search visibility. The world of search has changed dramatically this year and will continue to do so. No longer can webmasters rely on ‘quick wins’ without risking the attention of a Google Algorithm penalty at some point in time.

Image of small hand signWhat are the characteristics of ‘thin content’?
Generally speaking shallow/thin content is short, vague, offers poor value to users, may have been created purely to rank certain keywords, and/or contains poor grammar and spelling. This isn’t the type of content that Google wants its users to find in their top Search Engine results pages. 

How to find ‘thin’ content on your site?

One of the best starting points is to study your Google Analytics data. Once logged in, adjust your date range to show results for the previous year and then sort your content by pageviews. Hone in on those pages that received fewer than 10 pageveiws in the past 12 months. Other important user engagement metrics to look at in relation to these segmented pages include bounce rates and time on site. High bounce rates and short time on site may indicate that users aren’t finding the content valuable. 

You next need to spend time auditing the content on these pages. You should start to get a rough idea of the ratio of poor quality content to quality content present on your site. Determine if the content is not performing well due to the ‘thin’ content characteristics mentioned above. Additionally, check to see if there are any other problems with the content too such as broken links or images not showing as they should etc which lead to a poor user experience. 

Note that some of the content identified in this list may only have a few pageviews but not inherit the ‘thin’ content characteristics noted above and therefore not require adjusting. 

What to do with ‘thin’ content on your site?

A couple of recommended options for you to consider include:

  • Rewrite it. Look at how you can make the content more interesting, engaging and valuable to your visitors. Think about the actions you can take to make the content linkable and sharable with your target market.
  • Where possible, consider consolidating closely related but thin pages into one. Possibly 301 redirect the thin pages to the consolidated page.
  • Remove the content and 301 redirect it to the closest corresponding page on your site or the homepage.
  • No-index the content but keep it published on your site. This will prevent the Search Engines from including the content in their results pages. 

How to avoid thin content? 

There is no magic number as to the correct amount of text that should be present on a page. The amount of content on a page is dependant on the nature of the page and the information you need to provide to make it high quality and deemed valuable to your visitors. 

To avoid being seen as having thin content by Google Panda it is important that you invest in creating high quality and useful content on an on-going basis. Always keep the end user in mind and think value add when creating content. Continually refer back to your Google Analytics user engagement metrics to gauge how well your content is doing. 

Want to know what Google are looking for in terms of a high quality site? Read the following post from Google’s Webmaster Central Blogs about what counts as a high quality site.  Another good read about what makes a quality site is Eric Enge’s interview with Matt Cutts who is the head of the Webspam team at Google. 

If you value your website traffic, invest the time now to rectify the presence of thin content on your website, no matter how long it takes. Keep producing outstanding content on an ongoing basis and wait for the Panda penalty to be lifted.

^ top
Filed under Digital Marketing

Written by

Jess joined Apex in 2005 after graduating from Massey University with a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in Marketing. As an Account Manager at Apex, Jess is responsible for the management of a large number of Search Engine Marketing campaigns. Jess is a Google Adwords Qualified Individual managing numerous campaigns for our clients across a broad range of industries and a...

Related posts

Leave a comment

Fields marked * are required

ARE YOU READY TO BE SMARTER ONLINE TOO?WANT TO GET STARTED?
HERE'S HOW
YES

AWESOME! LET'S GET STARTED

TELL US HOW WE CAN HELP

THANKS FOR GETTING IN TOUCH

We aim to respond to all messages within 1 business day. You'll be hearing from us soon!

In the meantime, perhaps you'd like to learn more...

Our friendly team can be reached Monday - Friday from 8.30am to 5.00pm.
Fill in your details below and we'll get back to you lightning fast.

* *
* *
*
*
*
*Required Fields