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Thin content refers to content with little or no value to a website visitor, including redirect pages, doorway pages, or general poor-quality, unhelpful articles or content. If you have thin content from your earlier days in online content marketing, you might think it’s fine just to move on and not do anything with it. In reality, however, keeping your thin content as is could be hurting your SEO rankings. Take a look at how thin content works against a business and what you can do about it.
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Many businesses once thrived on erroneous content that was thin on value and stuffed from top to bottom with keywords, but Google’s crawler bots have gotten far more intelligent and savvy since the turn of the 2010s. In addition, content that duplicates assets, repeats information, poorly paraphrases the same ideas, and engages in similar lazy attempts to rank keywords is all considered thin content now.
Even if you only did this a little in the past and are making substantial content now, you are better off improving your trust factor by re-purposing, updating, or resolving your thin content. Ever since the Google Panda algorithm update in 2011, exploitative, thin-content SEO strategies alert Google to trust and value the domain that owns them less than sites with only substantial content, even those with fewer keywords or daily visits.
Remember, Google is in the business of providing the best, most relevant results for any search page. If a page of yours isn’t qualified as one of the best results but looks like it’s lazily trying to be, your domain, in general, could be punished.
For content to be considered thin, it should meet the following requirements — all of which should be avoided:
If a page fulfills several of these traits or strongly epitomizes one, you have thin content. Still, do you necessarily have to fix all of these things to remove the thin-content stamp from your website? In reality, there is a much simpler choice: noindexing your thin-content pages.
Noindexing is simply the process of marking certain web pages on your domain so that Google doesn’t count them as part of your site and stops them from being found in search result pages. This sort of thing is typically done on pages only meant to be visited for a very specific reason, such as thank-you pages for customers who subscribe or buy a product, but noindexing also works well to hide thin-content pages from Google.
Even if you noindex a thin-content page, it will still be visible through direct visit by link-clicking or URL entry, but the vast majority of potential traffic to the pages, including trackable and measurable visits, will stop. This is the best choice for content that is unsalvageable, and it’s not as extreme as outright deleting the pages.
However, you shouldn’t immediately use this method on a page before considering its potential for improvement. If a page is out-of-date and low on word count, update it with new, relevant information and insights. Be sure to mark your updated parts, as that helps show visitors that you care about keeping all of your content worthwhile.
Sometimes, thin content still has the potential to be valuable with a little extra work, or it’s already supporting your business with a profile of backlinks directing visitors to it. In such a case, you’re better off making this page more impressive and valuable and only temporarily hiding it from your site’s index, if at all. Here are several ways to approach and resolve thin-content problems:
Thin content was a gold mine in the early days of Google search and SEO, and you can’t blame businesses for doing something that worked to get their message out there. However, it’s time to move on and put aside your thin content, whether through upgrading it, finding uses for it that raise its value, or by hiding it from index bots. When Google sees that you care enough to do this, they will know your website is one of the most trustworthy ones in your niche and bump up your search rankings accordingly.