October 20, 2022

What is Thin Content and Does it Hurt SEO?

At Wildcat Digital, we know how confusing it can be to keep coming across vague terms that seem pretty important to the success of your campaign. “Thin Content” or “no content” might be something that you have come across on an SEO site audit, but you’re unsure what it means. But, in this blog we hope to clear things up a little bit by explaining the concept of Thin Content, how it fits into a content audit, and how it can impact SEO.

So, what is Thin Content and can it hurt SEO? Thin content is website content that either lacks in quantity and/or quality. This can have a negative impact on SEO with Google devaluing an offender’s website resulting in losses to rankings, traffic and sales. 

Read on to learn more about Thin Content and how it can impact your website’s SEO.

Jump To:

What is Thin Content for SEO?

“Thin/No Content” is digital marketing speak for content that is either little in quantity and/or little in value. This means that the content lacks quality and doesn’t necessarily resolve the reader’s problem, meet their intent, or encourage them to convert. 

Thin Content may include:

There is very little point in having Thin Content. At best, readers leave with the intention of seeking the next best alternative. At worst, the Thin Content results in a hit to your overall authority and site quality leading to a waste of Google’s crawl budget, a drop in search rankings and a decrease in website traffic. 

Conducting a content audit is the best way to identify Thin Content and determine an appropriate course of action to remedy the problem. You can learn more about content audits in our recent blog

Does Thin Content Hurt SEO?

Thin Content can indeed hurt SEO. The worst offenders, however, tend to be websites with pages created to target specific keywords, but with very little, or irrelevant content. Likewise, websites containing scraped or auto-generated content will also likely be devalued. As a rule of thumb, if a page contains duplicate content or doesn’t offer substantial value to users, it can have a negative impact on SEO.

That being said, it’s not the end of the world. You can fix Thin Content and resubmit pages to Google for reconsideration. It will take time and effort, but it is possible to regain rankings and Domain Authority that dropped as a result of Thin Content. 

Thin Content Factors to Check in a Content Audit

Whilst you can reverse the effects of Thin Content penalties, it’s best to, where possible, avoid it in the first place or fix it as soon as you identify it. A content audit is great for identifying such problems. Here’s what to check for in relation to Thin/No Content:

Key Pages Have a Substantial Amount of Content

One of the best ways to show Google that your pages are useful and worth ranking is to write more content. Pages with very little, or irrelevant content offer no value to users, therefore Google won’t prioritise them in the rankings, especially against pages that offer better content. What’s more, with more content comes more opportunity to showcase E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness), which is one of Google’s quality standards. You’ll also need to consider YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) factors here. 

We’ve recently written a couple of detailed blogs about E-A-T and YMYL. Check them out today to learn more about these SEO factors.

Content is Relevant to the Page Title

It’s not enough, however, to simply write hundreds of words. Your content must be relevant to the title of the page and offer value to the reader. Don’t be tempted to go off-topic to meet a certain word count. 

Further to this, the most relevant, important information should always be placed towards the top of the page. This is for two reasons:

This doesn’t mean that content further down the page can be less relevant. Subsequent subheadings should still support the title query. If ever in doubt, put yourself in your customers’ shoes – what do they want to know?

Hidden Content, Cloaking or Doorway Pages

Hidden content, or cloaking, is text or links within your content that is used to manipulate or deceive Google search rankings. This is often text or links hidden within the page’s code that users cannot see, but has the potential to influence rankings. Alternatively, it could be that text is hidden behind images, the font is set to size 0, or hiding links on a solitary character. 

This is considered black-hat SEO and, if noticed by Google, will result in harsh penalties that impact Domain Authority and search rankings.

Doorway content is also considered black-hat SEO. Google defines it as:

Crawl Budget

Whilst not something you necessarily need to check for, crawl budget is an important consideration in relation to thin content. Crawl budget is the number of pages that Google will crawl on your website on a given day – the amount they crawl will usually depend on the age, popularity and domain authority of your website. 

It has a finite amount of time it spends crawling your site, therefore it’s important that you make the most of it and provide enough good quality content. If you have a new website, Google won’t be crawling your website that often so make sure you give it the good stuff!

Other Factors to Include in an SEO Content Audit

There’s more to a content audit than Thin Content. Other areas that you need to think about include:

More information can be found about each of these topics on our blog, What to Include in a Content Audit in 2023. In the coming months, we’ll also be publishing a series of articles that go into more detail about each of these topics, so be sure to keep a lookout for those!

Content Audits at Wildcat Digital

At Wildcat Digital, we understand that Content SEO can be a lot of work and that not everyone has the time to be checking for and fixing Thin Content issues. If you would prefer to enlist specialist help and support, Wildcat Digital’s SEO team is here to help you to punch above your weight online. Learn more about our SEO services online today, or get in touch with us to arrange a free consultation.

Post by

Chloe Robinson

Content Strategist & Team Leader

More blogs.

View all