What is Thin Content?

Thin content is webpages that provide no useful value. Pages that contains words that effectively say nothing, that do not in any way add to the conversation.

Google desires pages with thin content not appear in the Search Engine Result Pages, for obvious reasons.

The Google algorithm update named Panda is specifically focused on filter out thin content.

Does Short Equate to Thin?

Some people believe that short posts are by definition thin content.

In this post I present evidence to counter that claim.

Evidence: Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines

Google hires human raters to help them develop their algorithm better. To train and prepare these human raters, they are given guidelines (which they are tested on).

Google periodically publishes a summary of those guidelines for the benefit of those of us who want to know what Google looks for in web pages.

A copy of the most recent summary (and yes it is almost two years old) is available below:

Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines

No where in that document did I find a single reference to the length of the post being significant.

What is most significant (in my mind) is this instruction to the human raters….

Utility is the most important aspect of search engine quality, and is therefore the most important thing for you to think about when evaluating pages.

They then provide the rating options for Utility, which are:

  • Vital: A special rating category, elsewhere defined in many words, but summarized as “Most Vital pages are very helpful. However, please note that this is not a requirement for a rating of Vital. Some Vital pages are “official”, but not very helpful.
  • Useful: A page that is very useful for most users.
  • Relevant: A page that is helpful for many or some users.
  • Slightly Relevant: A page that is not very helpful for most users, but is somewhat related to the query. Some or few users would find this page helpful.
  • Off-Topic or Useless: A page that is helpful for very few or no users.
  • Unratable: A page that cannot be evaluated (page doesn’t load, etc).

Evidence: Bill Belew’s MBA Class Experiment

I’m very well acquainted with this experiment as I assisted Bill with this class.

My summary of this will be very short, as Bill’s full post is fairly short, but contains great graphics from Google Analytics and makes the point very well.

My short summary is very frequent shorter posts attracts more relevant visitors to your website that less frequent longer posts.

This is not theory. I helped Bill with this experiment and we simply know.

Bill’s full post below…

Content Marketing Strategy: Long or Short-form Regular Posts?

I’m Thinking It’s Settled

Short does not mean thin! They’re different. And short posts that are useful which are published at frequent intervals attract your audience MUCH faster than longer posts published at less frequent intervals.

SEO Needs Link Building

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