In my last article, I have thoroughly discussed what is exactly high-quality content and what are the attributes of high-quality content.In this article, I will discuss what is low-quality content and what are the attributes of “Low quality content”. “Low quality” or “Thin content” or “Shallow content” is considered a very bad signal to search engines because post Panda, Penguin and other algorithmic updates it has become increasingly difficult to rank in Google search results with low quality content.
Also, note that if you have low quality content on one part of the website, it could affect the rankings or other pages which may have high-quality content. Hence, it is very important to weed out low quality, thin and shallow content from your sites to ensure that your website’s rankings are not affected by Google’s algorithmic updates.
But before you find low quality content on your website or blog, you have to know what is the definition of low quality content. What type of content is considered “Low quality” in nature and considered a negative SEO signal to search engines.
What is Low Quality Content?
Just like high-quality content, there is no clear and concise definition of “Low quality content”. It greatly depends on the knowledge and experience level of the reader who is reading the content of a page. The same content can be high quality and low quality at the same time, depending on who is reading it.
That said, there are some common attributes or “signals” which are found in websites and blogs which have “Low quality”, “think” and “Shallow” content in it. Please note that these attributes do not define which page is high quality and which page is low quality, rather this page acts as an “Indicator” whether a given page has the probability to fall under “High quality” “Average quality” or “Low quality”.
In general, it has been observed that low quality websites, blogs or pages have these three things in common
- A low quality page generally looks ugly and gives you a feel of “Low trust” right at the beginning. Just by looking in the design, typography and overall look and feel, you start getting uncomfortable.
- Low quality sites are full of advertisements all over the place. This includes Adsense ads, banner ads, affiliate links, text link ads and every other advertisement placed in the above the fold section to encourage clicks and earn money.
- Low quality sites have very little text in the main copy of the page.
- The content is not concise and complete. Just by reading a couple of sentences, you can be sure that the content has either been written by a script, a machine and has not been proofread by a human eye. The content seems to have been auto-generated and not handcrafted.
- The content is full of grammatical and punctuations errors. The content does not “Flow” naturally and has an “artificial feel” in it.
- The content is not “Original” and there is no “Exclusivity” in the content. It is either “re-hashed” or copied from another source.
- The information is outdated and the site has not been updated for a long time. It appears that nobody takes care of the site, the design looks broken and the last update was years ago.
- The content is not complete. It seems like some information is missing from the page and you will have to search again to find another website which has complete information about what you were looking for.
- The page has lots of pop-ups, third-party scripts, banner ads and other obtrusive elements which hinder with the user experience and compel you to click on something before you are able to read anything on the page.
- The page loads very slowly.
- You get this feeling that you have seen similar sites somewhere but can’t recall when and how. It seems like a typical “spin-off” website which has been built overnight and hundreds of pages of content has been spun in no time. It looks very similar to a spam site and not only by the look and feel, the usability of the website also indicates that it is spam.
If a website has most of the pages which satisfy the above criteria, it is a good chance that the website you are reading is a low quality site with low quality content in it. This type of page is also called “Thin content” or “Shallow content” and these are not good for Search engine optimization of your website. It severely harms the search rankings of your website and you should take actions to clean up low quality content on your website to keep your website SEO friendly.
How Low Quality Content Affects the SEO Of Your Website
Low quality content has an adverse effect on the Search engine optimization of your website. Google and other search engines are very strict about content quality and with time, one has to raise the quality bar to stay relevant and “Good” in the eyes of Search engines.
If a website has a lot of low quality content in one section, it will affect the rankings of other “High quality” pages in another section. This is not always the case but the presence of low quality pages on one section of the website can affect the rankings of other high-quality pages on another section of the pages. Also, if you have a bunch of websites which are all low quality in nature, either spam or thin content and there is one website which is very useful and trustworthy, it is a good idea to not host the good website with the bad ones and host it over to another IP address.
A website which continues to publish low quality content for a long period of time will have a tough time cleaning up the mess and creating a good impression. So let’s say you have a website which had low quality content for 5 years and then suddenly, you create 100 high-quality pages. It will take some time for the website to rank for these 100 high-quality pages, even though you remove the low quality pages from your site. This is because of the “Time lag” – Google and other Search engines do not trust your website and only after a considerable amount of watching and observing, the rankings of high-quality pages will come.
Thin Content with Little Or No Value
Here is a very useful video where ex-Google engineer Matt Cutts explains what is Thin content or “shallow content” and what you should do to ensure your site does not have “thin content” or “shallow content” in it
Be Sure to read our SEO Guide which contains useful information about SEO and we have discussed in detail key SEO Concepts with examples.