5 TYPES OF THIN CONTENT AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT EACH OF THEM

One recommendation made after the recent Google Panda update was that people address the issue of ‘thin’ content on their websites. This is great advice, but what exactly is thin content? How do you identify it, and what can you do if you find it on your site?

Thin content can take many forms, so here are five major types that I have identified:

  1. Low editorial quality
  2. Lacking in expertise
  3. Offering little value to the reader
  4. Too short
  5. Unjustifiably long

1. LOW EDITORIAL QUALITY

This is an obvious one and easy to address. If your site is plagued by spelling and grammatical errors, simply hire a copy editor to go over it. If your content is particularly poor, it may actually be easier to have someone completely rewrite it.

2. LACKING IN EXPERTISE

Could anyone have written your content or did it require specialist knowledge. Why should Google present your page as an authoritative resource?

One characteristic common to all the content farms adversely affected by the Panda update is that their writers weren’t experts. We can be quite certain of this because experts don’t write articles for £1 or whatever the site in question was willing to pay (if anything).

This led to a situation where writers were covering many different topics, many of which they didn’t know much about. Articles produced in this way feature the right vocabulary, but lack meaningful information.

Even a basic overview of something carries more weight when the information comes from an authoritative source.

3. OFFERING LITTLE OF VALUE TO THE READER

Content that lacks expertise might offer little of value to the reader, but I’ve included this separately because pages can fall down in other ways.

Ask yourself: does my page serve a purpose?

If the only reason for your page’s existence is as a search engine gateway to your site, then it shouldn’t be there.

One example of a page offering little of value to the reader would be where you have many different pages on your site all about the same service, but targeting different locations. Every site is different and this approach can be justified, but if you have hundreds of pages differing only very slightly, this is thin content. In this instance, consider consolidating multiple locations into one page.

4. TOO SHORT

If there are only a few sentences on your page, it will offer little to the user. However, that isn’t to say that adding more words is the only solution.

Does it actually make sense to add more content from a user’s point of view? If not, it may be that this page shouldn’t really exist. Again, consider combining it with another related page to create something that is of greater use to people.

5. UNJUSTIFIABLY LONG

Many think that a greater word count equals a stronger page, but this isn’t the case. How many words does your page warrant?

If you are rewriting the same thing, over and over again, rehashing the same information in a quest to up your word count, you are creating thin content.

What does the user of a particular page need to know? Provide them with that information in as few words as possible and you avoid pointlessly padding your content.

This content is not one particular thing. Judge every page on its own merits and then act accordingly to improve the overall quality of your web content.

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