What is Thin Content? Why it Hurts SEO (and How to Fix it)

How to Recognize and Correct Thin Content

Before you can address specific content concerns, you must first assess the magnitude of the problem and develop an action plan. When I analyse content, I like to categorise urls as improve, consolidate, eliminate, or leave. These categories are far more useful than binary yes or no labels

What exactly is thin content?

Content that is thin


Thin content is described broadly as website content that offers very little value to users.

The following are some examples of thin content pages:

  • Copy that lacks depth or utility

  • Duplicate or repetitive material

  • Content scraped or syndicated

  • Pages with few categories, tags, or authors

  • Affiliate pages or doorway pages

Does this sound familiar? Let's take a closer look at those cases.

Important Points

  • Google wants to provide the highest valuable information to viewers, therefore it assesses content across your entire site.

  • Thin content is perceived as unimportant and degrades your SEO performance.

  • The removal of thin content from a website might improve SEO rankings. Eliminating 85 percent of one site's URLs, for example, increased organic sessions by 425 percent in 8 months.

  • Pages that are too thin can be corrected by eliminating, upgrading, or consolidating them.

Google search was in its infancy in the early 2000s. Thin material was the norm before Panda algorithm improvements and quality rater requirements. With worthless keyword-stuffed pages, low-quality websites could quickly surge to the top of search result pages back then.

Google, fortunately for users, took action.

The Google Panda algorithm, and later Phantom, were developed to penalize low-quality content in search engines. As a result, many sites lost a significant amount of traffic, and SEOs were terrified of the next Panda upgrade for years. However, it is vital to understand that Google's algorithm does not target specific pages. Rather, it assesses material throughout your entire domain.

Why should you be concerned?

Because Google wants to provide excellent content to its users. To get awarded by the Google gods, you must publish helpful, relevant, original material that meets the needs of your users. If your content strategy promoted quantity above quality, you'll need to do a lot more than just repair a few pages.

Learn more about conducting a content audit or contact our team of corporate SEO professionals for assistance.

Inadequate depth or utility

Is the majority of your material keyword-focused? Do the sites and posts completely cover the topic and satisfy the search intent of the term? If you just scratch the surface of an essential subject, especially if it could affect a reader's health or money, search engines may interpret your material as thin. (If you're in charge of SEO for financial services firms, you should read this.)

While you don't have to produce a 4,000-word piece about everything, make sure your viewers don't have to go back to the search engine results page (SERP) for more information.

Problems with duplicate content

The word duplicate content is frequently used in the context of identical pages, however most examples are a little more complicated.

Let's take a look at duplicate pages through the thin content SEO perspective.

If you have dozens of entries on your site that all target the same keyword, those pages are most likely quite identical. While they are not exact duplicates, search engines are intelligent enough to recognise that they are similar.

Make sure that each page focuses on a different set of keywords.

Inundated with advertisements

Let's face it: your text should make you money. However, if your pages have more advertisements and CTAs than useful information, you may be subject to Google's thin content penalty. This is especially true if advertisements appear above the fold, cover content, or require user action to dismiss.

Interstitials should be kept to a minimum and should be secondary to your content.

Category pages are sparse

Do you have a lot of author pages with only one article? Perhaps you've amassed years of blog tags that you've only used a few times, or perhaps your site contains hundreds of empty ecommerce product pages. If urls have little to no quality material, they are considered thin content.

Examine your ecommerce category pages on a regular basis. It is preferable to have a few high-level categories with substance rather than hundreds of rarely used tags.

If you are unable to remove old author pages, you should at the very least noindex them.

Pages with a doorway

Doorway pages are low-quality websites or pages that are created expressly to rank for keywords. What makes them so bad? Because they frequently lead consumers to less valuable content or affiliate sites. In some circumstances, users may be sent to the same site by multiple web pages.

The bottom line is that valueless pages provide a poor user experience. But how much harm can thin content truly cause?

Answer: Quite a bit.

How a lack of content harms your SEO

When you grasp what SEO is and why Google favours specific ranking variables, you'll realise how damaging thin content can be to your organic traffic goals.

You will not receive backlinks

Backlinks may not be as effective as they once were, but they remain one of the top three ranking signals. And if you want to earn them, you must provide a cause for people to link to you.

Consider this: you created engaging meta tags, including a clever title and attractive meta description. Someone sees it in the SERPs and thinks to themselves, "Wow, that's just what I need for my article!" As a result, they click and discover nothing of value.

That user may never return to your site, and they will almost certainly not link to it.

cannibalization is a keyword

There's a prevalent SEO myth that if you produce a lot of content that all targets the same keyword, you'll rank higher in search results pages. In fact, the inverse is true. If you rehash the same topic over and over, you will erode trust, confuse Google, and lose traffic.

Bounce rate has increased

Although a high bounce rate will not harm your SEO, it is important to mention because it will reduce conversions and lose you money. One method for lowering bounce rates is to create more valuable content.

Thin content is a negative thing. That's right. But what are you going to do about it?

Should you get rid of thin content?

SEOs are continually asking Google if it is acceptable to remove low-quality content. Rather of removing information, Google normally reacts with a tip to improve it. However, because this is considerably easier said than done, most brands choose to do nothing.

Even if your site does not receive a Google thin content penalty, poor text can harm your domain's health as well as traffic and conversions. To be honest, making these modifications will not be easy. But it is completely worthwhile.

Look at this traffic graph for one of our clients in a highly competitive market. We got rid of 85 percent of the website's URLs (yeah, you read it correctly) and started working on the rest.

Can you guess what happened?

In just eight months, organic sessions climbed by 425 percent. No, it wasn't because they added a lot of new content. During that time, they only published five new posts.

Isn't it impressive? Stay with me, and I'll share the Enterprise SEO approach that underpins those outcomes.

How to Recognize and Correct Thin Content

Before you can address specific content concerns, you must first assess the magnitude of the problem and develop an action plan. When I analyse content, I like to categorise urls as improve, consolidate, eliminate, or leave. These categories are far more useful than binary yes or no labels.

The first step is to use a programme like DeepCrawl or Screaming Frog to perform a comprehensive site crawl.

Import SEO analytics like as impressions, organic sessions, bounce rate, word count, and conversions from Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Then, in Google Sheets, import the data and add columns for target term and action.

It is crucial to identify the target keyword because it will serve as the foundation for how you will analyse the majority of your material. After all, how can you cover a topic completely if you're unaware of what others are saying about it?

Here's a simple content analysis tool I created:


If you can't figure out which keyword to target based on the page title or content, you can use Search Console to locate the ideal one. Enter a URL and then select the queries tab. Then, display data for impressions and position. Sort by impressions, from best to worst. As your goal keyword, select the most relevant term with the greatest impressions. Take care of your position, though, because impressions drop significantly if you aren't on page one.

Let's go find some thin content and repair it! While analysing your statistics, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you have several postings that target the same keyword?

  2. Are some of your posts off-brand or focusing on irrelevant keywords?

  3. Is there any content with an extremely low word count?

  4. Is it true that certain posts receive little to no traffic or impressions?

  5. Is it true that certain category pages have little to no content?

If you responded yes to any of those questions, you might be dealing with stale content. But don't pull out the chainsaws just yet. It is critical to take your time and prune intelligently and carefully so that you do not cause more harm than benefit.

Following that, I'll go over each of the four actions to assist you in properly categorising your content and resolving specific concerns.

Remove any content that you are unable to repair

You may recall that we removed 85 percent of the urls from a client's website and observed considerable improvement over time. So, what precisely did we remove?

  • Posts that targeted irrelevant or off-brand keywords

  • Content that lacked a target keyword and was unfocused on conversions

  • Posts that are no longer relevant, such as trend stories and old corporate news

  • Off-topic and underutilised categories, tags, or author pages with only a few posts


Don't just give your developer a list of URLs to remove. You'll also need to send him with 301 redirects for those urls, especially if the page has any backlinks. Because redirection can cause issues if done incorrectly, it's critical to consult with an experienced SEO firm before making major modifications.

Enhance valuable stuff

It's usually preferable to salvage content rather than send it to Davy Jones' Locker, especially if it corresponds to a specific stage of your consumers' journey. You can also employ topic clusters to rank for long-tail keywords and demonstrate to Google that you are a subject matter expert.

Here's a list of the most actionable things you can do to boost your website's SEO and remedy thin content:

  • Find a relevant term to help refocus the post.

  • Satisfy the term's search intent

  • Cover the subject as thoroughly as possible.

  • Include pertinent statistics or links to supporting content.

  • Remove any advertising or CTAs that aren't absolutely necessary.

  • Repair any broken links.

  • Optimize the URL, heading tags, and page title to include your keyword.

  • Include visual content like video, photos, or interactive tools.

Do you want to create a brilliant blog strategy that attracts tonnes of organic traffic? Check out the following articles:

  • How to Create Captivating Content that is Engaging

  • 29 Incredible Content Ideas to Increase Traffic and Leads

Remove duplicate content.

You may have discovered multiple useful pages that aren't technically identical content, but they all handle the same issue in part. Similar material cannibalises your keywords and keeps you from ranking high in Google search results.

Consolidation is the solution.

Assume I produced a series of posts about thin content for Terakeet:

  • What exactly is Thin Content?

  • 4 Illustrations of Thin Content

  • Why is Thin Content Bad for SEO?

  • How to Restore Weak Content

Those should definitely be combined into an one thorough post, therefore I'd have to do it this way.

Because the search intent for thin content is definitional, I would strengthen that post before merging the other three fragmented posts into a single solid piece of content. Consolidation, as you might expect, combines the first two actions: remove and improve. As a result, you must carry out those procedures for anything designated as consolidate in your analysis.

What comes next?

You might be wondering what to do next once you've improved, consolidated, or deleted low-quality information.

HINT: Revisit your content marketing strategy.

If you keep doing things the same way, you'll finish up exactly where you started. So, before you start creating new high-quality content, understand how to conduct keyword research and plan out your newSEO strategy.

If you plan ahead of time, you'll be able to create a plethora of unique material that both your readers and Google will appreciate!