We have earlier discussed what makes a low-quality website with “thin content”.
We have also learned that typically, high-quality sites have a lot of useful and unique content in them, each page having more than a thousand words in it. There is this belief among webmasters, bloggers and website owners is that a website with short posts with low word count will get marked as “Thin content”.
This is absolutely not true and completely a myth. A page with low word count does not mean it is “Thin” in nature.
If you have a blog with posts that only has a hundred or two hundred words, that does not automatically mean it is “Thin” in nature. There are lots of blogs with low word count and Google understands that sometimes, it is not meant to add more words to a page just for the sake of it. For example, if you have a blog which deals with pictures (photoblog), sometimes you only post pictures in your blog post and don’t have any text at all (although it is advised to have some text in the page because search engines cannot read images).
Another good example is Youtube videos. Youtube videos do not have a lot of text in the page in which the videos are contained, however, the do rank pretty high on Google for key search terms. If pages with low word count were to be thought as “Thin” in nature, then Youtube video pages will never rank on Google search, isn’t it?
If you are able to convey the information in a lesser number of words, why create boilerplate content which does not add value to the page, just for the sake of it?
Web users have very less attention spans and nobody wants to waste their time looking for information by reading a long page which could have been better conveyed in one or two sentences.
What is Thin Content With Little Or No Added Value?
So what kind of content is actually thin content? In the following video, Google employee Matt Cutts walks us through some examples to understand what is thin content with little or no added value. In the examples, he never stated that blog posts with low word count are automatically labeled as “Thin content with little or no added value”
The classical example of a page with thin content is a “Doorway page“. A Doorway page is a page or a bunch of pages within the same website which contains the same content with slight variations in keywords, all trying to rank for the same search phrases or keywords. Pages with thin content are typically the same thing optimized for particular keywords or phrases, each page offering no definite value to the user in terms of content and ideas.
The next type of thin content is generally – “Thin affiliates“. You have a website and you are promoting an affiliate product through the website – you refer a product to your website visitors and readers and they usually buy it from another website. Now affiliate links and content with affiliate links are not thin content by default but when you are just creating a page or blog post on your website with the only goal of putting in the affiliate link and not going the extra mile to create great content, that is when the post becomes a “Thin affiliate”.
In general, a typical thin affiliate page contains only links from the affiliate site, no original content, insight, information or other resources which passes some sort of value to readers. It looks like the page has been created in hurry, without any care. This generally gets classified into a “Cookie cutter” sites and is often seen among a whole bunch of other spam sites on the same server, wherein the owner of all these websites is trying to create as many spam sites as possible without delivering any value at all.
Thin affiliates are a really common thing since Affiliate feeds are easy to grab, you can drive traffic to your website through social media or even consider “Buying the traffic” through advertising programs and try to earn money through Affiliate Sales. This is not a good experience as per Google since the person who is buying the product is not getting any sort of value from your website before making the purchase.
Another good example of low-quality thin content is “Article banks”. Bloggers and website owners who do not have the time and energy to create resourceful and unique content for their sites often turn to article banks and directories, purchase articles with 500 or 800 words and publishes them on the website. These articles, although have a good number of words in them are not necessarily valuable and are marked as “Thin content” by Google.
This also includes blogs and sites that syndicate content from multiple RSS feeds, write re-hashed content, practice link blogging. Typically, you would see a blog posting 50 posts a day, all through an RSS feed wherein there is no original content written by the author of the website, they are linking to other sites with just an excerpt copied from the original source. Not only this type of content is considered “thin”, it is also considered plagiarized or duplicate content and is a clear indication of spam.
But it is possible that you write original content on your website which contains less number of words. It is possible that a blog post has only 150 words in it but if those 150 words have real absolute value in them, there is no reason why that content does not deserve to rank in Google.
Great content has a common attribute – It is Typically Long
It is a common observation that often times, great content is typically longer in nature. Someone who has lots of information about a subject, knows it well, has done original research on the topic, has been working on it for years, will not write a 150 word blog post. They will generally go the extra mile, make sure all the information is documented step by step and they will provide as much resource on the topic as possible. This is because they know the subject well and can provide original insight about the topic.
Spammers on the other hand are pretty savvy. They are here to make money and they will do whatever it takes to get rich quick, without creating enough value or without having to go through the effort or hard work. And that negligence will show in their work. So typically, it has been observed that blog posts, articles, landing pages or any other type of page which has more words in it tend to have more value in store. That does not necessarily mean that each and every page which has 2000 words in it is valuable and each and every page which has only 150 words in it is not valueable. There are exceptions to all of this and Google is well aware of these exceptions. They don’t make judgements based solely on the word count but if you ask me, it is advised to have as much textual content on a page as possible because it is this textual content which helps search engines understand what your page is all about. It also passes lot of information to the user which they might be looking for.
If possible, don’t create pages with only 150 words in it just because you want to create a page or write a blog post. That said, it does not necessarily mean that all pages with low word count will get classified as “Low Quality Thin content”.