Thin Content

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Thin content, according to Google, is “thin content” that does not comply with the Webmaster Guidelines and thus does not add value to visitors.

Definition

Google uses the term “thin content” to describe website content that does not comply with the Webmaster Guidelines and does not offer users any added value in terms of content. The designation first came to light via Quality Rater Guidelines leaked in 2011.

Google states that web page content must meet user expectations. That’s why the search engine downgrades rankings of websites whose content is “too thin”, at the latest since the Panda update – even if only individual pages of a domain are affected, this can have an impact on the entire website.

What is classified as thin content is determined by algorithms and quality raters. If they discover content without added value for users, they notify the website owner via a manual action in Google Search Console.

What is “thin content”?

What constitutes thin content may be a matter of opinion. Google itself, however, sees it this way:

  • Blank pages: Web pages that offer no content beyond the basic HTML framework (such as when image or text files referenced no longer exist) is a classic case of thin content.
  • Automatically generated content: This refers to content that is automatically generated with the help of software. This also includes automatically read RSS feeds or texts that merely paraphrase or synonymise other content.
  • Thin Affiliate Pages: These are web pages that contain only the content of the information provided through the affiliate program and links to corresponding affiliate programs. Also, these websites include little or no unique content such as reviews, tests or other content.
  • Copied content: This is content that has been copied or translated one-to-one from other websites. Not only does Google categorize this content as low quality, it can also infringe on copyrights.
  • Doorway Pages: Bridge pages are classified by Google as thin content because their sole purpose is to direct visitors to another page with products.
  • Too little relevant content: This affects websites that do not offer users any added value, such as pages that are filled exclusively with images but not with text. Irrelevant content also includes pure advertising copy without a message.

Thin Content and SEO

Since the Panda update, thin content has been a relevant topic in search engine optimization. In principle, this is a basic principle of website design. After all, if you don’t provide your site visitors with engaging, value-added content in the long run, you could lose them down the line. So Google acts consistently in the sense of the users when the search engine penalizes pages whose content is only copied(duplicate content) or useless.

For SEOs, this means that the focus should continue to be on creating valuable content than on building link networks. While referrals from other websites can still be among the ranking factors, the content on your website has become a crucial factor for good positions in the SERPs.

Conclusion

Thin content is basically the opposite of unique content. As a webmaster, you should keep in mind that the technical possibilities for detecting “thin content” are constantly improving. So, you should consistently present quality content on your website so that it doesn’t drop in rankings. If you avoid thin content, your web presence will also score well in search results.

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