Of course, this is nothing new. This is something that has been on the minds of content marketers since Google’s 2011 Panda algorithm and subsequent updates. New updates earlier this year further showed how seriously Google is taking this issue.
Panda does its work by scanning a website’s content. If it finds the quality of the content to be of value, the site will be rewarded. On the other hand, if Panda does its checks and finds the content to be lacking in expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness, it will be penalised and demoted in the SERPs.
Yes, quality is subjective. But Google has provided in-depth guidelines for how it determines the value of the content on a site. Google describes highest quality pages as having very high-quality main content, a very positive reputation and very high levels of EAT. Simply put, content must be able to provide answers to those who are searching. If your website is currently home to pages of thin content, you might just be experiencing penalties and demotions.
What is thin content?
Thin content can refer to pages that are too short. But it can also mean pages that are lacking in value. This could mean the writing of the content was rushed, not researched properly or created by an inexperienced junior. There are many websites filled with content rich in grammatical, spelling or factual errors. Those are a surefire way for alarm bells to go off at Google.
Long form content, of at least 2 000 words, generally performs better than shorter pieces. This is because the longer word count allows for more opportunity to expound on a subject and fully explain the topic, providing more valuable content. Other types of pages which Google recognises as thin content includes that of automatically generated content and third party content.
What can you do to fix thin content?
Have a quick look around your site and if you spot any of these types of thin content pages, be sure to systematically go through each to improve them. You could delete these pages, no-index them or add to the content.
If at all possible, it’s the latter you should prioritise. Yes, it’ll be hard work, take plenty of time and, possibly, be fairly expensive. But it’s the one that will be most worthwhile when you see your pages climb up the SERPs.
After all, creating this type of valuable content will help your readers by answering their questions. And it’s this that ensures leads and conversions. Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, says it most effectively: “Every piece of your content should be excellent enough that customers are compelled to share it.”
*This article was previously published on Media Update.