Thin Content: what it is and why it is an issue

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It is called thin content, and in a sense it is the exact opposite of the quality content representing the goal to achieve for every web page: as Google explains, in fact, the thin content is not unique and relevant, does not offer users a reason to visit the site regularly and, ultimately, the search engine can classify such pages as of little or no added value and is, indeed, low quality.

What is the thin content

Thin content is at the center of many Google documents, demonstrating the attention that the search engine devotes to the creation of pages that are valid and useful for users, since the debut of the Panda algorithm over 10 years ago, with the subsequent identification of the path to build a quality site.

And even today, in particular, the presence of (many) thin content is a possible cause of manual actions towards the site, can lead to the removal from the Search index and the disabling of Google ADS, and in any case can negatively affect the EAT signals of the site and perceived by the search engine.

Which is the thin content

Thin content can therefore become a problem for SEO because it damages the ranking of pages and the entire site, thus influencing the image of the brand in a negative way; In addition, they can also compromise the chances of creating engagement and blocking conversions, not encouraging users to take any profitable action for the project.

There are various types of content that Google considers sparse, and in particular are the doorway pages, low quality affiliate pages or pages with very little or no content (but it is not enough just the word count to ensure quality, as we know); in addition, even pages that are too similar are considered thin, such as those with scraped or duplicated content, or those too dense of keywords (that is, that fall into the error of keyword stuffing).

Why it is an issue to Google (and SEO)

All these contents are united by the same “underlying problem”: they do not meet the criteria required by Google for the relevance of the results to be shown in response to queries.

As we know, Google tries to provide content that match the search intent, that provides useful and valid information, that have a purpose (that is, that allow the user to realize the purpose that he had set when launching his query).

Thin contents have completely opposite characteristics, and above all they do not give any type of added value for the users, that therefore they remain substantially dissatisfied when they end up on pages of this type. And a disgruntled user is a dangerous element for the SEO, which Google transposes and turns into a negative ranking signal.

Examples of thin content

Wanting to try to list in detail the types of thin content (those that are most at risk of being identified as such), we find:

  1. Duplicate content (even those perceived as duplicates due to some technical errors, such as incorrect redirection from HTTP to HTTPS).
  2. Content scraped from another website, such as the classic typically copy/paste from other sites, typically with few rewriting or remodulating, or the incorporation of various types of content not only textual (images, videos, infographics) but they do not add value to the user. The risk of penalization is high if on the site we systematically add content from external sources without a serious manual reworking.
  3. Autmatically generated content. Google systems also recognize the use of automated means to rewrite content – e.g., attempt to take a foreign language news and then simply translate it into English via Google Translate or ot