To create an optimized web store, you need to have your basics right, which include getting a domain name of your choice, designing a logo, building a website with a theme that matches that logo and most importantly, outlining the number of pages and writing appropriate content.
As famous designer and entrepreneur Jeffrey Zeldman puts it: “As good advertising comes from the product, and good film making begins with a riveting story, good web design starts with content.”
Content is essential to score high search engine rankings. The more unique content you can offer, the more you will be able to satisfy search engines, and the higher they will likely rank your website for keyword mentions. On the other hand, if you thin content, search engines will not be able to understand the focus of your website and will promote other websites that offer more informative and helpful content.
‘Low quality’, ‘shallow’, ‘scraped’ content are some of the terms used to define web pages that offer content of no value. However, sometimes it isn’t so obvious to assess whether you have thin content unless you take a detailed look at the purpose of your content and how is it being understood by your visitors. Thin content is essentially any content on your website that is not adding any value either to you or your user. It acts as a deterrent to goal funnels and providing information, impedes crawl budget, inflates internal link counts, and ultimately causes noise to a search engine. Google has, in fact, come out with the Google Panda update to its algorithm, that penalizes websites that only focus on quantity, rather than quality. This is an eye-opener for existing as well as new businesses to force them to sit up and take notice.
How to Identify Thin Content
There are many ways in which online businesses can avoid having thin content on their website. These steps work well to prevent being penalized by Google and other search engines, while having engaging content for site visitors. To diagnose whether you have thin content or not, you need to look out for the following symptoms.
- Duplicate content
- Index bloats
- Crawling issues
- Redirect loops
- Text/HTML ratio
- “No content pages”
- Limited product descriptions
- Technical issues
- Invalid sitemaps
- No alts/names for images
Tools such as Google Analytics, Screaming Frog and Open Site Explorer can also help identify thin content.
Once you have come across pages with thin content, you need to choose what you wish to do with those pages. You can either choose to discard them altogether or plump up the content in them. The following methods can be used to alter or discard the content.
Avoiding Thin Content
Rewriting is essentially rewording your entire content to make it original, and not run-of-the-mill pages that are on every website. Try and incorporate related terms and not just keywords.
If you can, try and merge several similar products or services into one page with adequate content, instead of having separate pages with thin content.
Adding Interactive Content:
Include content from sources such as government sites, census figures, and even past sales data to help be more original. Also, add features such as embedded Google Maps, quizzes, FAQs and an Add to Favorites button to keep users engaged.
If some content can be useful to a small section of users, yet is still thin, you can have meta robots exclude these pages from the view of search engine crawlers.
Reduce Internal Linking:
Too many internal links drive visitors away. Therefore, review the links that can be cut and reduce them substantially. This will help in these pages coming in the common route of search engine crawling and won’t be a distraction to users as well.
Avoiding thin content can best be achieved by regular scrutiny and assessment of your web pages and keeping a look-out for slow site performance. Detailed product descriptions and regular product data updating will make the content appealing as well as help in boosting your site ranking.