Thin Content – What it is and How to Fix it

Before we address how thin content is affect your SEO and Google rankings we need to define “thin” in terms of SEO and content. When content is described as thin, it has little to no value. It’s unoriginal, repetitive, hollow, shallow or verbose and does not serve the user. You may or not have come across the term “thin content” before, nonetheless the reason you are here is to understand the concept, how to avoid it and finally fix it if you have fallen prey to the trap of low value content.

What is Thin Content? – Types of Thin content

To define thin in terms of content we need to look at the different types of there are. Once we look at the types, we can start to form an idea of what low quality no value pages look like. Inversely, we get to form an idea of what a high value, healthy weight content should be.

  • Auto generated content where machine learning is used to just string together content on a subject from other sites
  • Doorway pages – these are pages created with minimal content of no value in order to “push” or herd users to the real page you want them to visit
  • Door way pages – disguising domain names by changing only a small detail or key word such as city or region to direct traffic to the main page. E.g. /
  • Pages that use URLs that match search results rather than a clear subject.
  • Duplicate content- duplicating within your own site
  • Spammy page with too much ads


Panda– Google’s Thin Content Checker

To know how to avoid content that does not serve users, we have to understand how Google brands your content “thin”. Because Google can’t manually inspect the trillions of pages on the internet, they use algorithms to inspect your content value. Google Panda is the algorithm that is used to weed out sites with little value content. Google thin content penalty applies to low quality content of no value that lacks depth.

Below are examples of content issue that will get your site penalised:

  • Content that does not satisfy the user – If your content does not directly answer a query or need it is most likely going to be viewed as low quality.
  • A site that is deemed untrustworthy and has no authority
  • Content farming or duplicating pages that have keywords stuffed in them as a way of trying to quickly gain rankings.
  • Too many ads on a page also is viewed as low quality content
  • Click bait content that leads users on with the promise of one thing only to surprise them with ads.
  • Google also uses Bounce Rate to determine if your site is thin. The higher your bounce rate is then Google will factor that in deciding if your content is thin
  • Badly written content can also lead Google to believe your content is thin. How? Badly written content means it’s not easily readable and therefore not user friendly. When content is not easily readable; users leave which increases bounce rate.


7 Ways to Avoid Thin Content

It’s easy to hear “Thin content” and assume it’s about quantity, which is not correct. According to the previously mentioned factors we can see what Google penalties list mainly punishes sites which do not satisfy the Offer quality content that is aimed at fully satisfying the user. Right at the core of it, the key is to, always think user first. Below are 7 steps to follow to avoid thin content.

  1. What is my page’s purpose and reason for existing?
  2. Who is looking for this information (the user)?
  3. Do thorough research on what your intended user is looking for?
  4. Once your research is complete, write for the user. Structure your content to fully satisfy the user.
  5. Write well. Do not write to manipulate search engines, as tempting as that maybe, stuffing keywords into your content in an effort to rank quickly can have the opposite effect.
  6. Check that your content is not duplicated using tools such as Copyscape
  7. Use SEO tools to check if your content is well written, the keyword to content ratio, readability etc (e.g. Yoast, Ryte , SEO Powersuite)

How to Fix Thin Content

The best way to lend ‘weight’ and authority to your site is improve your content. By “weight” we are not referring to page weight. The weight needed to combat thin content would be meaningful, quality content that is aimed at satisfying the user’s needs. What if I you have already written a page that is not doing well on search engines like Google because of low value content? Is there a way to fix it or do you have to start again? The good news, you can fix thin content using 3 steps- Re-think, Augment and Re-write.

  1. Re-think- Re-look at the page’s subject and who it is meant for. If your page is still focusing on the write subject and user continue to the second step. If you have completely missed the object of your page and/ or who your user is skip to step 3.
  2. Augment- So you have the right subject and user in mind but your content is paltry? Augment what you already have, research and expand on the subject. Fill up and fatten your content with relevant, focused quality content.
  3. Re-write – Sometimes you just have to start again. Research the subject, research what your users are looking for in relation to that subject and write around that.