When we talk about thin content in the context of SEO we are describing web pages that only contain a very minimal amount of useful information, a bit like a takeaway menu that doesn’t display any prices.
Google looks at thin content pages and swiftly disregards them. A bit like how a hungry person might disregard a pizza restaurant website if they don’t display a menu. We should probably stop writing these SEO glossary entries while we’re hungry.
Some examples of thin content that don’t mention pizza
- Very short paragraphs that are stuffed with keywords and don’t make sense to the reader
- Websites that only display content that has been scraped (nicked) from other websites and offers no insight or original comment on the content
- Splurgenantaic parlubarumma fermications of scrobble pops (gibberish spam pages)
So why does thin content exist?
Back in ye olden days of SEO, search engines weren’t clever enough to sort the wheat from the chaff. If a search engine crawler visited a website and found lots of pages, then it might mistakenly believe that the website was a good resource.
In order to try and fool search engines some SEO people would create hundreds, and sometimes thousands of pages. The problem with creating lots of pages is that you have to put something on them. That’s not easy. You try writing 20,000 on any topic at all and the well will soon run dry.
So the Internet became littered with web pages that contained either very little content, or content that was pilfered from other websites.
These days people are more likely to create thin content by accident, rather than to try and fool Google. Sometimes thin content is unavoidable. For example, you might build a fantastic glossary of technical terms that your customers love as a vital resource. But Google may look at those pages, shrug, and move on.
Google doesn’t penalise or punish thin content, it just doesn’t care about it. Like us when we are craving pizza and spot a takeaway, only to find that it is closed. We don’t care about that closed restaurant. We move on.
The opposite of thin content is
thick content good quality, insightful and informative content.
This requirement for rankable pages to be meaty has almost become a meme. Have you ever searched for the answer to a problem only to land on a page that has a thousand-word introduction about the problem before actually delivering the answer in just a handful of words? You have probably found a good example of a website owner trying to avoid thin content.
The importance of understanding Thin Content in SEO
Part of the joy of SEO is that it naturally reflects good business practices and common sense. If you put bad stuff into your SEO you’re going to get bad results out of your SEO.
Build a terrific website that is entertaining, informative and essential to your audience and you’re most of the way towards shooting up the SERPs. Don’t waste time worrying about whether you are creating thin content or not – just do good stuff.
Your target audience is your fellow human being, not the search engine crawlers.
Thin Content – explain it to me like I’m five years old, please!
Thin content pages contain very little of anything. If you can avoid building them do so, but sometimes a simple page is the right resource for your audience, just don’t expect it to rank well.