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.

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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

Will Hitchmough

Founder

Our founder, Will Hitchmough, worked at a number of high profile Sheffield Digital Agencies before founding Wildcat Digital in 2018. He brings an extensive knowledge of all things related to SEO, PPC and Paid Social, as well as an expert knowledge of digital strategy.

Digital Marketing can be a minefield for many businesses, with many agencies ready to take your money without knowing how to deliver results. I founded Wildcat Digital to deliver digital success to businesses with smaller budgets in a transparent way.

Chloe Robinson

Content Strategist Team Lead

With a degree in Marketing and a background in more traditional, offline marketing, Chloe joined Wildcat in 2021 after deciding to move into the digital marketing industry. She joined us as a Content Specialist and quickly moved up the ranks, becoming a Content Strategist and later an SEO Team Leader.

Outside of work, Chloe is an avid creative. If she’s not knitting, you’ll likely find her behind a sewing machine or in the kitchen trying (and often failing!) to make sourdough.

Paul Pennington

SEO Account Director

Paul has a strong background in SEO, having previously founded and ran a successful eCommerce business, as well as running a personal blog that achieves an average of 17K users per month. Paul’s knowledge of SEO is extensive, with a strong emphasis on client handling and technical SEO.

Outside of work, Paul enjoys spending time with his family and staying active with weight lifting and combat sports.

Nadea van der Merwe

Head of Operations

Nadea joined Wildcat in 2021 and has since overhauled the way we work. She has a background in various administrative, operations and HR roles, which gave her the experience and skills needed to lead and organise a growing business. 

Outside of work, Nadea loves anything that keeps her active, but she especially enjoys hiking, camping and mountain biking.

Molly Sturgeon

SEO Account Manager

With a background in sales, Molly is a natural Account Manager, brilliantly handling any issues that come her way. Having joined us as a Digital Marketing Executive, and working part-time through her final year of University, Molly is a shining example of how hard work pays off. She is now an SEO Account Manager with a particular interest in Content and Client Management. 

In her spare time, Molly loves to get out in nature, hiking and exploring the Peak District. She also loves cooking and likes to unwind with a bit of yoga.

Libby Oldale

Senior PPC Account Manager

Libby joined Wildcat in 2021 as our first PPC hire. With a degree in Digital Media Production, a Master’s in Digital Media Management and previous experience in Social Media Management, Libby hit the ground running and has since climbed the ranks to Senior PPC Account Manager and has a particular interest in the eCommerce sector.

Outside of work, Libby likes gaming, and cooking and likes to keep active by lifting weights.

Jasmine Savery

SEO Team Leader

Jasmine joined Wildcat in 2022 with a strong background in SEO and Account Management. At the time, she was finishing up a Level 4 Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and has since worked her way up to SEO Team Leader. Jasmine excels at content writing and promotion, and particularly enjoys finding creative ways to join the dots on multi-channel campaigns.

In her spare time, Jasmine volunteers at a charity, helping combat loneliness & social isolation experienced by older neighbours. Outside of Wildcat, she owns a catering company, Savery Grazing, creating delicious grazing tables & platters for a range of events. She also loves skiing and exploring the Peak District.

Braden Godley

Senior PPC Executive

Prior to joining Wildcat, Braden founded and ran his own Social Media Management agency where he gained valuable skills in growing brands’ online presence, which has since proven invaluable in his role at Wildcat. 

Outside of work, Braden is a big football fan, regularly travelling to Pride Park to support Derby County. He also enjoys watching and playing snooker, hiking in the Peak District, and attending air and car shows.

Jon Herdman

SEO Executive

After spending ten years managing businesses, restaurants, cafes and event spaces across Sheffield, Jon decided to change careers and joined Wildcat as an SEO Executive in 2022. He especially enjoys the client management side of the job, helping them to understand digital marketing and ways in which they can build their business’s presence online. 

Outside of work, Jon likes to keep fit with running, badminton and football, and also loves music. 

Rachel Davies

SEO Executive

Rachel joined us as a graduate, having recently graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in English Literature. Since joining, Rachel has proven herself to be a Content Queen, and particularly enjoys getting stuck into projects that allow her to explore her creative side. 

Outside of work, Rachel enjoys a wide range of hobbies, including rugby, singing, reading, and spending time with her family and three labradors.

Carl Atterbury

PPC Team Leader

Carl joined Wildcat in 2023 with a wealth of experience in PPC. He has experience working with a wide range of clients, industries and budgets, from small local businesses all the way to international e-commerce businesses. Carl has a particular interest in strategic planning and forecasting. He is passionate about data analysis and creating sustainable long-term cross-channel strategies.

In his spare time, Carl enjoys keeping fit by lifting weights, bouldering and running. He’s also a keen musician, having played the double bass and bass guitar for 20 years.

Dariusz Baczyk

Team Lead & Technical SEO Account Manager

With a degree in Computer Science and SEO experience dating back to 2017, Dariusz has a wide range of SEO skills and knowledge. His specialist knowledge of Technical SEO has firmly landed him the title of Wildcat’s Technical Wizard, and he has recently taken on the responsibility of Team Leader for the Panthers Team.

In his spare time, Dariusz loves hiking, experimenting and trying new coffees and loves learning new things. He is currently learning more about CRO and AI and how this could benefit our clients.

Jamie Stowe

SEO Account Manager

With a degree in Film and TV production, and a varied career history, Jamie made the move to marketing with a Masters degree in Digital Media Management. He has since worked in SEO at Agencies across Sheffield, before joining Wildcat and working his way up to SEO Account Manager. Jamie has a particular interest in backlinks and Digital PR and has recently gained a client a valuable backlink from Forbes!

In his spare time, Jamie is an avid foodie and loves trying new restaurants and cuisines. He also loves to travel and spent a year travelling to Australia after university.

Andy Blanchard

SEO Executive

Andy joined Wildcat in 2023 after starting his digital marketing career in-house for a local Sheffield company. Since joining, he has developed a strong interest in Technical SEO and has strong skills in Account Management. 

Outside of work, Andy loves music and plays in a couple of bands. He also enjoys rock climbing, cycling, photography and good food.

Siena Russell

Client Success Coordinator

Siena joined us in 2023 with a background in sales and digital marketing. She leads on client relationships across the company, ensuring that our customers are happy throughout their journey with us, from their initial consultation through to onboarding and beyond. 

Outside of work, Siena enjoys travelling and getting stuck into the local culture. She likes to make the most of her experiences and particularly enjoys watching sunrises and sunsets from beautiful locations around the world.

Thea Chapman

Senior SEO Executive

Thea has a wealth of experience in SEO, having previously worked for other Digital Marketing Agencies in Sheffield. She has a particular interest and skills in Technical SEO, but is more than willing to get stuck in and give anything a go. 

Outside of work, Thea spends most of her time with her children, but also loves reading, photography and gardening. 

Tom Brookes

PPC Executive

Before joining Wildcat, Tom worked across different industries, building skills in sales and customer service. He later developed a passion for digital marketing whilst working on personal marketing projects and freelance ventures, and gained numerous certifications in PPC and Social Media. 

Outside of work, Tom enjoys staying active by going to the gym and hiking. He also loves travelling and motorbiking.

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