Long-form content helps you in improving search rankings and reduce bounce rates. But what if it does not provide value and is stuffed with many keywords? Some of the content can indeed become of no value, or in other words, it turns out to be thin content. People don’t want to waste time reading poorly written, low-quality content or content that isn’t interesting or engaging.
In this knowledgebase article, we’ll talk about thin content, its effects on SEO, and how to identify and remove them.
Table of Contents
1 What is Thin Content?
Thin content is nothing but the content on a web page that provides little or no value to the visitor. Although it does not harm your ranking, it tampers your brand value among your audience.
Duplicate content, content scraped from other websites, auto-generated content, low-quality affiliate pages, doorway pages, etc., are considered thin content pages too.
1.1 Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is when content appears on more than one web page. It can have a significant impact on rankings.
For example, if more than one URL has the same content, search engines will be confused to show which URL to list higher in the search results. In such circumstances, search engines would rank both URLs lower and might give preference to other web pages.
1.2 Content Scraped from Other Websites
Content scrapping means copying the content from other websites and pasting it on your own site. This also involves a slight modification, such as rewriting a bit. This will lead to serious plagiarism issues, and search engines might blacklist your website.
1.3 Auto-Generated Content
Auto-generated content is generated programmatically using a computer program or a set of pre-defined templates. They are created with the help of code with the sole purpose of publishing and indexing large amounts of pages in SERPs.
1.4 Low-Quality Affiliate Pages
Low-quality affiliate pages include content from a brand or affiliated brands copied from the merchant site and pasted across multiple pages or domains.
1.5 Doorway Pages
Doorway Pages are not the main content but instead force visitors to take action, such as to click and lead them to another page where they find it useful and the one they have been searching for.
2 How Thin Content Hurts Your SEO
Unfortunately, your rankings will hurt when you provide a sub-standard user experience. The presence of thin content diverts visitors’ attention to another resource to meet their search needs. This will ultimately result in loss of present traffic.
2.1 Lowers Domain Authority
Domain authority (DA) is a numerical score used to rank websites in search engines. It is based on the number of relevant and quality links pointing to a website. Thin content can hinder your search ranking by lowering your domain authority. Why should someone refer you or link to your site if you cannot provide valuable content?
2.2 High Bounce Rate
Although a high bounce rate does not hurt your SEO ranking factor, it will still hurt your conversion rate. If the visitor or reader finds your content useless, they won’t even stay for a minute and might go with your competitor. As a result, your competitors will overtake your ranking position.
2.3 Manual Actions Penalty
According to the Guidelines of Google, there will be a manual penalty action against thin content articles or useless articles that provide zero value to the users. This will result in a loss of ranking and the removal of your web page or entire website from search results.
3 How To Detect Thin Content Issues?
Finding thin content is a tedious and time-consuming process, and the best way to audit content is to use an available tool on the market. Different tools available on the market can help you identify thin content on your website.
3.1 Google Webmaster Tools
Analyzing the traffic for a particular web page or blog post on Google webmaster tools is one of the best ways to identify the thin content. If your blog or any other web content is not driving traffic even after taking enough time to rank, it is considered thin content or low-quality content.
Another way to detect thin/ useless content is via the Manual Actions Penalty by Google. To find this penalty log on to Google Search Console. Then, navigate to the left side of the GSC dashboard and scroll down until you find Security & Manual Actions, then select Manual actions.
This penalty is applied manually by Google. As a result, this penalty will reduce your site’s ranking and remove the website entirely from the SERPs. If you want the search engines to reconsider this, you might have to delete or rewrite the offending content and provide original content that adds value to users.
3.2 Rank Math Analytics
Rank Math’s Analytics feature takes all the required data from your search console, Google Analytics, and fetches you meaningful graphs and insights.
It is very easy to find out thin content from Rank Math’s Analytics feature. First, turn on the Analytics module from Rank Math’s dashboard.
Then, you have to do is connect Rank Math with your GSC and Google Analytics under Rank Math > General Settings > Analytics.
Once you’ve configured your website’s GSC and Analytics property under Rank Math’s Analytics, you can access the Analytics module under the Rank Math menu from your WordPress admin area.
From the RM Analytics, click the SEO Performance tab as shown below.
The SEO performance tab gives you a quick update on your search traffic, search impressions, the number of ranking keywords, total search clicks generated, CTR, and the average position of your site on search results.
When you scroll down, you will find the “Content” section under the “SEO Performance” Tab in Rank Math’s Analytics. You can find the pages that are not generating any impressions or search traffic from here.
We recommend you review these pages and see whether the content is relevant or long enough to fulfill the visitors’ needs. If the content is irrelevant, duplicate, or orphan page, then it is considered thin content. And you might either need to delete it or add relevant quality content.
3.3 Auditing by SEO Tools
You can use SEO tools like Ahrefs to detect duplicate content, duplicate titles, or duplicate descriptions that lead to thin content. For that, you can go to Ahrefs > Site Audit > All issues and find the Duplicate content issues among the crawled results.
4 How to Fix Thin Content?
Removing the thin content from your website is the only solution? And the answer is No.
You can remove, redirect or improve the thin content articles and how you decide to remove, redirect or improve thin content articles. Let’s understand.
4.1 Remove the Content
Remove the thin content from your website with no SEO value and backlinks pointing toward it. Outdated content, as opposed to the present goals of your site and the content that targets irrelevant keywords, should be removed from your website.
Make sure to use 301 redirects on your pages that are outdated but have some SEO value and backlinks.
4.3 Improve the Content
Have you ever thought about content that needs some refreshment with some new facts and research and makes it better for your users? Now it’s time to improve the content with new research and add more quality information. This is a great option to improve the thin content with more valuable information.
5 How to Track Your Content Audit Process?
Doing content audits regularly is a good practice; most site owners fail to follow it. To make it easy, this section elaborates on the metrics that help you to track your content audit process.
5.1 Organic Traffic
Your website’s new or updated content is the gold mine to receive organic traffic from search engines.
And tracking organic traffic metrics will evaluate how your content performs on search engines and what efforts require to improve the existing content.
Everybody loves to have lots of backlinks pointing toward their content but not every backlink has an equal value. Some are from high-authoritative websites, and others are from spam websites and sponsored links.
It is important to keep an eye on your backlink metric that helps in preventing your brand value from spam links.
5.3 Bounce Rate
The main goal of your content is to inform your users while educating or entertaining them. And the bounce rate can evaluate your content success.
A high bounce rate metric is a sign of bad content that makes your reader leave your website. However, check your content and improve its quality with fresh and helpful data.
5.4 Social Shares
Social media is another metric that evaluates what content people like most and share with their communities. When was the last time you analyzed your social shares?
Let’s begin now by analyzing your social media’s popular posts that skyrocket your reach to new users.
5.5 Unique and Returning Visitors
Unique and returning visitors are both essential for your success online. Returning visitors is a great way to show new visitors your brand’s credibility.
Unique content helps you to increase your reach to new visitors. Keep an eye on both metrics to analyze your content success.
6 Final Thoughts – Content Audit
We believe that finding thin content is not a difficult task, but at the same time, you’ll have to apply your consciousness. Back in the old days, you could rank for any irrelevant content with spammy links, with keyword stuffing. But after launching the Panda update, Google has become so strict that only content that provides high value gets a chance to rank on SERPs. It also removes all low-ranking content from the search results. So the best option is to do a regular content audit and optimize your web content.
And that’s it! We hope this article helped you to understand thin content, how to detect and remove it, etc. If you still have questions about using Rank Math’s Analytics feature, feel free to reach our support team; we’re always here to help.