In the new world of Google there have been some changes to the sort of content which can help a website and one of the things which has been a result of this is an increase of the use of the term “thin content”. So, I thought I’d cover this term as part of my SEO Speak series for the blog to help you understand what this is about when you hear people mentioning it.
The term “thin content” became more heavily used following the launch of Panda last year.
So, what is “thin content” and what does it mean for your website?
Well in the context of the internet and how this is seen by Google thin content is the below:
- Content which is short
- Content designed to create rankings for a keyword and continent which offers no value to a user
- Low Quality Content
What constitutes too short? Well it really depends on what the page is trying to do and what competitiveness levels your keywords have.
Core pages which are aimed at delivering users useful information such as user guides, white papers and should be at least 300 words long, however the more competitive your industry or complicated your services the more you will need to say here! If your keywords have a lot of competing pages or are single phrase terms then it might be best to say more. However as you want to be offering value for users (see below) you need to make sure you don’t say too much as pages which are thousands of words long are a turn off for visitors and search engines know that.
News content which is aimed at updating your visitors about latest developments doesn’t need to be quite as long as it’s more about the latest development in your industry so around 250 words works for this.
Designed for Search Engines/no value for users
Having content which has been designed for search engines and not for users is the next no-no we’re looking at.
If you have a page dedicated to a specific keyword on your site, then you need to consider what this page is actually doing for your visitors. Does the page help them make a decision about a product (for example as a buying guide) or does it help with the use of a production (for example a how to guide) if so then this content is for the visitor primarily. However, if your content is a short piece just outlining a keyword and don’t offer the kind of kelp people might expect to find on your site then it might be thin content. This kind of vague content won’t offer any help to visitors coming to your site as it doesn’t help them learn about a topic, make a decision about buying or become better at doing something.
Yes, do consider having a page for each of your keywords, but these pages should be focussed on your business and your visitors needs. Remember, you want the rankings for your keywords because you are relevant to them and sell products or services related to each term, so it shouldn’t be difficult to create a useful page for each term you are targeting anyway.
As mentioned above there are some great types of value content for customers which won’t fall foul of this including:
- Product descriptions
- Buyers Guides
- White Papers
- Blogs and news items
- How to Guides
- User generated content – such as reviews, testimonials
Quality in this instance relates to a number of things including poor grammar and spelling. Making sure that your content is not littered with spelling mistakes doesn’t just help with Google though it makes your site look better. The odd one or two is fine but make sure you check the spelling of new pages before they go up to ensure that this doesn’t become a standard feature of your site.
This also relates to the value of the content again and the concept of vague content not offering anything of value to the customer.
If you are concerned about any of these things and/or you’ve already seen an impact from one of the recent algorithm updates from Google, then it’s a good idea to look into performing a content audit on your website. Dave wrote a nice guide to content audits in January which you might find useful for this. If you find content which could be causing you issues you can remove it (making sure you redirect to a still live page) or rewrite it so that it offers values to visitors on your site.