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Thin content pages

Thin content pages refer to those with a small amount of text, typically less that 150-250 words. Search engines tend to view these pages as useless as they are unlikely to provide the user with a full or in-depth answer to their query.

This product page offers little value to the user; it doesn’t include many of the features that we would normally see in a product page, such as a “buy button” or a description of the product, and it only shows one image. Because of this, the user is not only unable to make a purchase, but the search engines will also look unfavorably upon it, as the page offers no query intent satisfaction to the user. 

How do thin content pages affect rankings?

Traditional SEO practices (Google included) warn that creating pages without text are a huge hinderance to a site’s ability to rank highly in the SERPs, as it makes it more difficult for the search engines to figure out what the purpose of the page is, and therefore whether it is a page that will satisfy the user’s query.

Not only this, but pages with no text are considered blank pages by the search engines and are therefore not even indexed. If you have multiple pages like this on your website then it will likely have a negative effect on your position in the SERPs.

Even if the page has a small amount of text, but at the same time offers no value to the user, it will also likely not be indexed and therefore will not appear in the SERPs.

The best criteria for determining whether your page will be viewed as thin content (and therefore of little value to the user) is the following:

  • Will a visitor benefit if they land directly on the page?
  • Will they understand the purpose of the site?
  • Will they want to stay on the page for more than 30 seconds?
  • Will the page interest them enough that they will want to stay on the site and navigate to other pages?

What to do if you have thin content pages on your website?

If you find a large number of thin content pages on your website that do not offer any useful information or value to the user, then you have three options moving forward:

  1. Remove these pages from your site. For example, if you have images on your site that when clicked on open in a new page, this is not useful and therefore will be viewed as a thin content page. Therefore, these would be ideal pages to remove from your site.
  2. You can also edit and add to the content on the pages and fill them with valuable and helpful content where possible.
  3. You can also manually block these pages from being indexed.

To note:

  • Manually blocking indexing of certain pages is the riskiest option because search engines will still record users bouncing back from those pages to the search engines and therefore this will still have a negative impact on the site’s position in the SERPs.
  • In some cases, users noted that blocking certain pages being indexed actually harmed their place in the rankings, and it was only once they stopped blocking the indexing of these pages that they saw a recovery.

How to detect thin content pages on your site?

You can find the report for thin content pages in the “SEO audit” -> “Thin content pages” section of your Labrika dashboard (located in the left-hand menu).

This report will provide the following information:

  1. A list of the pages that don’t contain enough text.
  2. The number of words on each of those pages.
  3. Title of the page.

You can then view each link within this report and receive idea’s for adding content to fill out such pages. Doing so will help ensure that these pages are filled with useful content or are simply removed if it isn’t possible to add any content to them. Making sure to add content or to noindex these pages as soon as possible, ensures that you will avoid any possible thin content penalties from the search engines.

How to fix the issue?

Thin content refers to pages with under 150 words. Typically, these are seen as high-risk pages to have on a site, as they are unlikely to provide much use to the user and therefore be demoted by the search engines.

If Labrika identifies thin content pages on your site, you can:

  1. Remove the page altogether. For example, if you have an image that opens on a separate page, this is not useful to the user, can be seen as thin content by search engines, and should therefore be removed.
  2. Rewrite content. If the page has some traffic, or you believe you can add more value, then add to the content to make a more thought out, helpful page. Use headings and subheadings, and make sure the page intent matches the keywords you're ranking for.
  3. Collate content. If you have several thinner content pages that discuss the same subject, use the same keywords, then collate the content together into one larger, more informative page. Normally we recommend moving the content to the highest performing page.
  5. Redirect pages to better-performing ones if they already have some minor link juice.