What is thin content and how to avoid it so that Google does not penalize you

What is thin content and how to avoid it so that Google does not penalize you

“Whenever we publish we write more than 300 words so that it is positioned in Google”.

We hear this phrase often among our clients.

They have read that if a content is shorter than that, Google considers it  thin content  and does not index it.

And of course, when we tell them that this is a myth, they are stunned. 😉

The  thin content  is a real problem of SEO, but it has little or nothing to do with the number of words that have a text. 

To resolve this question once and for all, in this post we will explain:

  • What is thin content and what types are there.
  • How does content affect  SEO?
  • Tools to detect it and how to correct it on your website. 

Time to break some SEO myths.

Article contents index: 

  • What is thin content (really) and what does it mean for your company
    • 👉 What are the consequences of thin content
  • ✅ What types of thin content exist
  • ✅ How to detect and fix thin content on your page
    • 👉 1. Tools to detect thin content
    • 👉 2. How to avoid (or solve) thin content on your website 
      • ➡️ A. Post original content
      • ➡️ B. Search intent before quantity
      • ➡️ C. Don’t copy, get inspired
      • ➡️ D. Optimize your crawl budget by blocking some pages
  • ✅ Give your users quality content and keep Google happy

What is thin content (really) and what does it mean for your company

As always, we start with the description. 

Thin content  is low-quality content, or “poor content,” that offers no value to users. 

Or put another way, a content that does not respond to the  user’s search intention . 

And from here, in part, the myth of the 300 words is born. 

Because for example, for a search such as “How to improve the conversion rate of my  calls to action “, it is clear that the user expects to find a long article that deals with the subject in depth.

Therefore, a very short post will not be able to rank for this  keyword .

Instead, see what happens if we simply search for “What is a  call to action “.

Related – What is Content Marketing – With these tips you get it right

What are the consequences of  thin content

Further down in this post we will see some examples of what Google really considers  thin content . 

But before that, we want you to be very clear about this.

The biggest problem with having low-quality content on your website is that it makes you lose SEO positioning. 

And it can be quite serious.

To begin with, when the Google algorithm analyzes your website and detects a large percentage of poor content, it applies an SEO penalty . 

But in addition, the  thin content  also has other unpleasant consequences:

  • Reduce conversion (because the user does not find anything on your website that motivates them to purchase your product or service). 
  • Lower the dwell time and increase the bounce rate.
  • You convey a negative brand image. 
  • You consume crawl budget  (the time that the Google robot takes to analyze your website, as we explained in this article about what SEO is . The more junk content, the less useful indexed pages). 
  • It worsens the user experience

As you can see, in addition to Google’s own penalty, many of these negative effects also indirectly affect your SEO positioning. 

It is the whiting that bites its tail.

What types of  thin content  exist

Within the Google algorithm, the one in charge of analyzing the content of your website is Google Panda.

This part of the algorithm will penalize you if it detects any of the following types of  thin content  on your website:

  • Duplicate content:  whether that duplicate content is within your same site, or if it belongs to different websites. The latter case would be that of e-commerce that copies the files of its products from the provider’s website.
  • Automatically generated content:  also called “ spinning texts  ”. It is a black hat SEO technique in which texts created with an automatic tool are used to position a website, something that Google does not see favorably. 
  • Doorways or doorways: these are pages that use a disguised 301 redirect to take a user to a different page without their consent, usually for spamming purposes. 
  • Pages with excess advertising:  either because the page is saturated with banners, or because it is a text with affiliate links that do not offer any real value to the user. 

If you use black hat SEO techniques  , you may suffer a manual penalty from Google (which implies a very serious loss of SEO positioning and even the complete de-indexing of your website ).

Related – What to look for in keywords – Tips and tricks for beginners

How to detect and fix thin content on your page

We are going to divide this section into two parts:

  1. How to detect pages with thin content on your website.
  2. Good practices for not generating low-quality content (and how to fix it if you have it).

We start with the first point. 

 1. Tools to detect  thin content

If you notice that your website loses positioning from one day to the next, or you cannot position yourself by many content you publish, you may have a thin content problem   and you do not know it. 

In that case you can use the following tools: 

  • Google Search Console:  allows you to check if the titles and meta descriptions of your website are duplicates. 
  • CopyScape:  to find out if the same text from one page of your website appears on another. The only limitation of this tool is that, in its free version, you have to check the URLs one by one. 
  • Payment tools:  to check if there is thin content on your website, in most cases you will have to resort to payment tools such as Sistrix or Semrush, or Safecont. 

As you can see, a thin content problem can force you to spend money to avoid losing customers. 

So better if we stop it from the roots. 😉

👉 2. How to avoid (or solve)  thin content  on your website 

These are some guidelines that you should take into account when creating your content and that will avoid receiving a penalty for  thin content (and they will also serve as a guide to solve it if you already have this problem).

➡️ A. Post original content

In other words, everything you publish on your website must be content that you have created and that cannot be found on another page.

This includes:

  • The text of the different sections of your page ( the homepage, the services page, etc.).
  • The product files in the event that you run e-commerce.
  • The contents of the blog. 

And this is not just a matter of SEO.

Is that if your business says exactly the same as everyone else, why would a client choose you? 😉

➡️ B. Search intent before quantity

We have said it before in this post, but it is such an important concept that we want to emphasize it.

The best way to avoid a penalty for  thin content  is to offer the user valuable information. 

That means taking into account the search intent for a specific keyword, but also:

  • Avoid the straw:  if you can answer a query in 100 words, better than to write 1,200 and that half are filler.
  • Take into account the type of keyword:  do not try to rank a transactional keyword with a post, or an informative one with your sales page. We will talk more about the types of keywords here. 
  • Do not saturate your website with advertising:  at the beginning, you may get away with it and get some income from clicks on banners or affiliate links, but in the long run, an excess of advertising content will cost you. 

A low dwell time and a high bounce rate are the main sign that the content of a page is not useful to the user. 

➡️ C. Don’t copy, get inspired

Your competitor’s blogs can be a good source of ideas when you don’t know what to write about. 

But beware, it’s not about making a Frankenstein post by taking a paragraph from here and another from there (something that, unfortunately, we see a lot).

What you have to do is take these articles as a reference to write your own, contributing your personal vision. 

This is what is called “content curation”, and it is a practice that will allow you to find topics for your editorial calendar without falling into penalties. 

➡️ D. Optimize your crawl budge t by blocking some pages

A minor trick, but you know that in SEO everything adds up. 😉

If you block the access of the Google robot to the parts of your website that you are not interested in positioning (such as the legal pages), you will make sure you do not waste the  crawl budget .

This is usually done from the robots.txt file or by specifying the “noindex” directive, but it is a delicate process. If you are not sure how to do it, it is best to leave it to your web designer or SEO expert. 

Related – What to look for in keywords – Tips and tricks for beginners

Give your users quality content and keep Google happy

In the 12 years that we have been with the agency, we have created content strategies for many websites.

And thanks to that experience we have a good perspective of what Google considers quality content. 

If you also need help with this and want to be sure that Google will not penalize you, you can contact us and tell us about your case .

We will make sure that your page befriends the big G and brings you new clients constantly. 😉

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