What is Thin Content and How Does it Affect SEO?

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In this digital-charged world, businesses, whether small or large, are striving hard to navigate the tough competition and secure the top spot for themselves. To achieve this feat, they seem to be doing everything. From building a website and utilising their social media channels to engaging in paid marketing campaigns, they are trying their hands at every SEO content marketing strategy that promises a possibility of success. But somehow, they still seem to lag behind. They are unable to derive the desired results, and day by day, they are losing their position in this digital race. Their dream of achieving the top position on SERP remains distant. Do you know why?

In a world where content is king, their content somehow doesn’t meet the desired standards. While their websites are infused with plenty of content, in the form of landing pages, blogs, CTAs, testimonials and visuals, they seem to lag behind on two fronts – relevance and value. And this is what takes us to SEO thin content – content which is there but of no use. Content which merely increases the word count on your website without offering any real value to your website visitors. As a team of marketing specialists, we are well aware of the trap that thin content is. Today, we will take you through this parasite that might be eating into the growth and success of your business. So, let’s get started and learn what thin content exactly is and how it affects SEO.

What is Thin Content?

Falling search rankings and a deteriorating on-site user experience – if you notice these, thin content might be the culprit. Today, everyone talks about the importance of adding content to your website, but no one stresses enough about the importance of adding “valuable content”. The keyword here is “value”, something which thin content never offers. In the words of Google, thin content can be described as “low-quality or shallow pages on your site” pages that are there on your website just for the sake of it without offering any value. For a better insight into the world of SEO thin content, let’s have a look at some characteristics of the same –

  • Content that offers minimal information about the concerned topic.
  • Content that is low in word count.
  • Duplicate content, copy-pasted from the internet or other sources.
  • Automatically generated content.
  • Doorway pages were added for ranking purposes.
  • Pages charged with marketing content but offering little to no information.
  • Product pages with no description.

Do you know that content that falls into these categories is not just low in quality but can also be penalised by Google? Google’s Webmaster Guidelines clearly state that you should “create helpful, reliable, people-first content”. Thin content is in no way reliable, helpful, or people-first and, therefore, incapable of helping you achieve the desired results. So, if you have been incorporating thin content into your website as a part of your SEO content marketing strategy, you are doing more harm than good.

Now that you are clear on what thin content is let’s figure out how it affects SEO.

Ways in which Thin Content Negatively Impacts SEO

Adding content to your website is no easy task, and if done right, it can very well improve your website’s ranking on search engines. Also, when it comes to SEO, your content is the one weapon you should yield well. This is all the more reason why you should stay clear of thin content. For a better understanding, let’s take a closer look at the ways in which thin content can negatively impact SEO.

Low Search Engine Rankings

A website filled with thin content will never be ranked higher on search engines. As we mentioned before, Google expects you to create content that is informative and user-centric. So, if you create content which is of no use to your website visitors, Google might end up penalising your website. Therefore, sending all your efforts to rank higher on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) down the drain.

  • A web page with inadequate content would rarely be able to answer anyone’s query. So, search engines would naturally deem your content irrelevant to the search intent, and this would result in a lower search engine ranking.
  • The search engine determines the ranking of a website based on different quality signals. This includes factors like length and depth of content, user engagement metrics, etc. Thin content would definitely be lacking on these fronts.
  • A website with thin content will definitely have a higher bounce rate (how quickly users leave your website) and shorter dwell time (how much time they spend on your website). These stats are sure to lead to low search engine rankings.

Reduced Visibility

Low search engine ranking extends to reduced visibility. Think for yourself: whenever you initiate a search on Google, do you ever go beyond the 4-5 search results that appear at the top? Do you ever go beyond the first page of SERPs? Rarely so. That naturally means that if your website doesn’t rank higher on search engines, it will bring down your overall visibility and, therefore, your customer impressions and conversion rate. The result is low traffic, fewer customers and a slow business. So, if you are targeting visibility, make sure to get rid of any thin content from your website and create content rich in information and value.

User Experience

The key purpose of your website content is to add some value to your potential customers. And if your content is not serving that purpose, it can never make way for a positive user experience. For example, if a customer visits your website wanting to gather some information about the services or products they offer and all they see are blank pages with just a line or two. Or what they encounter is a web page stuffed with duplicate content or a paragraph filled with just keywords. Would they even consider engaging further with your website or business? No, right. So, thin content can easily eat into your business’s reputation and demotivate your potential customers from investing in your business.

Fall in Crawl Frequency

Search engine crawlers are always on the lookout for web pages offering substantial information, and they do serve several purposes –

  • Discover web pages
  • Index content
  • Provide relevant search results
  • Handle duplicate content
  • Enhance user experience

When a crawler visits your website, they extract all relevant information and index the content, storing it in the search engine’s database. Whenever a search is made on the web, this indexed information is used, and relevant content is displayed. So, if your website lacks valuable or informative content that crawlers can index, your page will be skipped, reducing the crawl frequency and chances of our website being displayed corresponding to a search query. So, thin content is never crawler-friendly.

Search Engine Penalties

You create content for the search engines, and if you end up being penalised for the content you display, that kills the entire purpose. Thin content can be primarily penalised by search engines for two reasons – violation of quality guidelines and manipulation of search engine rankings. There are certain algorithm penalties and manual ones that search engines impose on websites offering substandard or duplicate content. These penalties lead to –

  • Devaluation of rankings
  • Loss of trust and credibility
  • Decreased visibility

So, if you wish to secure your website against these, then it is better that you get rid of any thin content present on your website as a part of your SEO content marketing strategy.

Backlink Quality

When it comes to SEO, backlinks play a crucial role and determine the visibility and credibility of your website and, therefore, your business. The more backlinks there are, the more relevant and credible your website and content will appear to the search engine, thus improving your rankings. For instance, if authoritative and reputable sources refer to your content or visit your website, it will reflect on the credibility of your business. But do you think any authoritative source would do that if your website is filled with thin content? No, right? The moment they notice irrelevant and valueless content on your website, they will leave your website, and that would bring down your credibility.

Also, websites with thin content can potentially gain a lot of traction from spammy websites. This might bring down your ranking even further, as search engines might read this as an effort to manipulate your rankings.


These are a few reasons why you should focus on creating a thin, content-proof website. So, if you are someone who is looking for ways to improve their SEO content marketing strategy, then remember to create valuable content and stay clear of content duplication. Create original, user-centric and relevant content and make sure your business reaches the desired heights. As a team specialising in digital marketing, we are well aware of the challenges that any business faces in this digital landscape. That’s why we come up with foolproof SEO and digital marketing strategies that will work in favour of your business and help you capture the target market. So, if you have been planning to implement a workable and efficient SEO content marketing strategy, get in touch with our experts.

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