Thin Content in SEO: Everything You Need to Know

By:  Dileep Thekkethil

Updated On: February 22, 2023

If you’re a website owner, then it’s very likely that you have come across the SEO term called thin content.

Usually, most SEO experts identify thin content as one of the most common reasons why pages fail to rank on the web. 

Let’s see what exactly is thin content, whether your website has been plagued by this issue and if yes the ways to fix it. 

So, let’s understand what thin content is and its ramifications on SEO.

What is the SEO Thin Content Issue?

Thin content is a type of content that provides little or no value to the reader or user. It is often characterized by low-quality, shallow, or duplicate content.

Thin content can take many forms, such as:

  • Short articles or blog posts that provide little information or depth on a topic are published for the sole purpose of tricking search engines into believing that the content website is a high-authority one.
  • Pages with little or no original content, but rather a collection of unhelpful text which in fact is a tactic used by a few website owners who try to monetize their website by selling backlinks.
  • The length of the content isn’t the only determinant of thin content; there are sites that publish duplicate content that has appeared on a different domain without giving due credit. Such content also comes under the ambit of thin content.
  • A few websites try to rank on Google for a specific set of keywords by sprinkling it across content that adds very less value to the users, such content can also be classified as thin content.

Thin content can hurt the search engine optimization (SEO) of a website. Search engines like Google aim to provide the best possible results to users when they search for something. 

To do this, they use algorithms to analyze and evaluate the quality and relevance of a website’s content. 

Thin content can be seen as low-quality and not very useful to users, which can negatively impact the ranking of a website in search results.

In addition to hurting the ranking of a website, thin content can also lead to a higher bounce rate, as users may leave the website quickly if they do not find the information they are looking for. 

This can also negatively impact the ranking of a website, as search engines may view a high bounce rate as a signal that the website is not providing a good user experience.

To avoid these problems, it is important to focus on creating high-quality, useful content for your website. This can help improve the SEO of your website and provide a better experience for your users.

How Do You Determine Thin Content?

how do you determine thin content

There are several factors that can be used to determine whether the content is thin or not. Some of the most common indicators of thin content include:

  • Lack of depth or detail
    Thin content often lacks depth or detail and may only provide a surface-level overview of a topic without delving into it in any depth. This is mostly because such content is published for purposes other than providing value to the users and the website only focuses on attaining some kind of monetary benefit out of the content.
  • Low word count
    Thin content may have a low word count, as it may not provide much information or may only skim the surface of a topic. An article about a vast topic cannot have a word count that’s fewer than 200 words. This is an easy indication that the content is thin. However, there are topics that don’t require a lot of content, and in such cases, you may have to check if the content actually satisfies the user’s search intent.
  • Lack of originality
    Thin content may be copied or paraphrased from other sources rather than being original and unique. Most of the time, such content is either rephrases or spinner to look original. However, with NLP-based Language Models and the machine learning advancements made by Google, such content can easily come under its radar.
  • Poor quality
    Thin content may be poorly written, with grammar and spelling errors, or may be difficult to understand. That’s because most websites that publish thin content don’t really care about it or they may not have a proficient content team that can identify thin content.
  • Keyword stuffing
    Do you find articles that use too many exact match keywords that don’t make any sense contextually? Then you are looking at a classic example of thin content. Thin content may be packed with keywords or phrases in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings but may not provide much value to the reader.

To determine whether the content is thin or not, it is important to consider these and other factors, as well as the overall quality and usefulness of the content. High-quality content should provide value to the reader, be well-written and well-researched, and provide depth and detail on a topic.

5 Classic Examples of Thin Content

1. A page with only a few sentences of text that do not provide any real value or information to the user. For example:

“Welcome to our website! We are a company that sells widgets. Contact us for more information.”

2. A page with copied or duplicated content from another website or page. For example:

“Our company is the best in the industry. We offer high-quality products at affordable prices. We have a team of experienced professionals who are dedicated to delivering the best service possible. Our customers are always satisfied with the results they get from our products.”

(This content is copied verbatim from another website and does not provide any original or valuable information to the user.)

3. A page with a large amount of text, but the content is poorly written, lacks depth, or is not relevant to the topic. For example:

“Our company offers a wide range of products and services. We have a lot of experience in the industry and are always looking for ways to improve. Our customers are very important to us, and we always strive to provide the best possible service. We offer competitive prices and are always looking for ways to save our customers money.”

(This content is poorly written and does not provide any valuable information about the products or services offered by the company.)

4. A page with a lot of filler text, such as repeated phrases or lists of words, that do not add any value to the content. For example:

“Our company is the best in the industry. We offer high-quality products at affordable prices. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to delivering the best service possible. Our customers are always satisfied with the results they get from our products. We offer a wide range of products and services and are always looking for ways to improve. We are committed to providing the best possible service to our customers and offer competitive prices.”

(This content includes repeated phrases and does not provide any valuable information about the products or services offered by the company. To make this content valuable, the features listed here must be tied to benefits the users will get)

5. A page with spammy or irrelevant links that are not related to the content or purpose of the page. For example:

“Welcome to our website! We offer a wide range of products and services. Click here to learn more about our products. Click here to contact us. Click here to visit our blog. Click here to see our latest promotions. Click here to read customer reviews. Click here to see our FAQ. Click here to see our privacy policy.

(This content includes a large number of spammy or irrelevant links that do not add value to the content or serve the needs of the website’s audience.)

How Do I Fix Thin Content Issues?

how do i fix thin content issues

Thin content is generally considered to be poor quality and may be penalized by search engines as it does not provide a good user experience.

So, it is important to create high-quality, original, and useful content in order to provide value to your users and improve your search engine rankings.

In fact, there are cases where a website owner fails to understand that he/she is inadvertently publishing thin content.

Once such a case is commonly seen among e-commerce websites that use the same cataloged product description that other websites use. This also falls into the ambit of thin content.

To fix thin content, you can try the following:

Identify the thin content on your website:

If a website has too many pages with thin content, Google will slap such sites with a manual penalty.

However, you can identify thin content pages before anything of that sort happens.

Step 1: The most preliminary step is to use tools like Grammarly or Copyscape to check if your website has original content.

Step 2: Once you are sure that the content on your website is original, check the length of the content. 

If you see that your content has very few words when compared to the competitors ranking on the top of Google for similar topics, that means you may be dealing with a thin content issue.

Step 3: If you are certain that the content has enough word count to satisfy the user’s intent, then look for keyword stuffing. Use a tool like SmallSEOTool or CopyWritely to check if you have used too many keywords within the content than what’s generally acceptable.

Step 4: Use Ahrefs or any other content audit tool and make sure that you don’t have similar or duplicate content appearing elsewhere on your website.

Expand or update the content on your website

Now that you have identified thin content on your website, the next step is to update the content with relevant information that really adds value to the user’s search intent.

If you identify thin content pages that are not worth updating, we recommend removing them from your website. 

This is the best way to avoid a thin content penalty from Google. In fact, removing thin content has been proven as an effective strategy for improving the overall search rankings of websites.

But when removing the pages with thin content, make sure you are using the proper canonical tag or 301 to a relevant page within your site. This way, you can avoid losing the benefits of backlinks that you might have earned for the pages removed.

However, if you are going to update the content, make sure to add examples, personal experience and supporting evidence within the content, as this makes the content unique from the rest.

Also, adding internal links to relevant pages within your site will also help in improving the overall quality of the content and also aids in a better user experience.

How to Recover From Thin Content Penalty?

how to recover from thin content penalty

Did your site end up getting a manual action because of thin content? Fret not, this isn’t the end of the road.

Can’t Fix? Delete It

This is an easy method but must be done with caution. If you have identified the pages that are causing you the thin content penalty, delete them.

However, make sure that such pages aren’t really offering any value to the users. If you think they are worth keeping on your site, then continue with the next option.

Make Substantial Changes to the Content

If the content is something that your users may value if tweaked, then do a complete overhaul of it. 

I would like to stress the word complete here because you need to show evidence to Google in a later stage that indicates you have made adequate changes to the content on your website and not just a few titles, meta and other cosmetic changes. 

Try Adding Secondary Content to Add Value

This is something that you can try if you are dealing with a very large website like an e-commerce store.

It’s going to be a daunting task if you decide to write unique content for hundreds or thousands of product pages. In such cases, you can open up doors to your target audience to leave valuable content for each of your products. 

You can add a community managed FAQ section or product review section to each of the products. As more user leave their questions, answers and reviews, the content becomes highly valuable to the audience as each user adds a lot of information that can help in making a purchase decision for others. 

Additionally, this makes your content highly unique from the other sites that have used the same product and description. This is an easy win as there is very little effort that you have to put in to generate content on your website. 

Apply for Reconsideration Request

When you are absolutely sure that the key issues with regard to the thin content penalty have been resolved from your end, head on to Google search console and apply for a reconsideration request. 

Here is how you do a reconsideration request aftertaste fixing thin content SEO issues:

  1. Sign in to Google Search Console with the same Google account you used to register your website.
  2. Select your website from the list of registered sites.
  3. Click on the “Security & Manual Actions” tab in the left-hand menu.
  4. Look for a message about a manual action being taken against your site. If you see one, click on the “Request a Review” button.
  5. Fill out the form provided, explaining what steps you have taken to fix the issue and why you believe the manual action should be removed.
  6. Attach any relevant documentation, such as a list of links that you have removed or a report showing that you have fixed any technical issues on your site.
  7. Click the “Submit Request” button to send your reconsideration request to Google.

If your website has a lot of thin content, it may be difficult for it to rank well in search results. This is because search engines, like Google, value high-quality and informative content that provides value to the user.

If your website is full of low-quality or copied content, it may be seen as a sign of poor quality and may be penalized by search engines. To avoid this, it is important to make sure that your website has high-quality, informative, and relevant content. 

If your website has already been penalized for thin content, you can try to get the penalty removed by filing a reconsideration request through Google Search Console

However, it is important to address any issues with thin content and make sure that your website is providing value to the user before submitting a reconsideration request to increase your chances of success.


Dileep Thekkethil

With over 12 years of expertise, Dileep has carved a name for himself as a trailblazer in the SEO industry. As an acclaimed author and relentless learner, he has transformed countless websites with tailored digital marketing strategies, thanks to his profound insights and innovative approach. Dileep's passion for staying ahead of the curve is evident in his contributions to Stan Ventures and the 100+ publications that feature his groundbreaking articles on SEO and digital marketing. His dedication to knowledge-sharing has earned him widespread recognition as a go-to expert in the field. For cutting-edge SEO solutions or to delve into the mind of a true digital marketing virtuoso, connect with Dileep through the links provided below. @Mail | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook or View all posts by Dileep


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