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How Websites Can Fix Thin Content and Recover Their Rankings

Your site is finally ranking for your target keywords and driving a good deal of traffic to your pages.

But suddenly your traffic takes a complete nosedive and your site is nowhere to be found.

What happened?

If this describes your situation, then you are not alone. Google is constantly releasing new updates to its ranking algorithm to deliver more relevant results. Failing to adhere to the quality guidelines could get your site penalised or worse, completely removed from the search index.

Back in 2011, Google released a major update to its algorithm called Panda. Low quality sites with little content or pages that simply scraped content from other sources were among the many sites that were targeted. Since then Google has implemented Panda directly into the core algorithm.

So you might be asking, what is thin content?

Thin content essentially has the following characteristics:

  • Provides little value
  • Optimised purely for search engines
  • Has irrelevant keywords
  • Written with poor grammar
  • Content that is loaded with links or ads

You might have a website with outstanding content that is linked to from industry authority sites. But all it takes is a few pages of thin contents to result in a ranking penalty. This is why it is incredibly important to conduct a content audit so you can identify instances of low quality content.

To ensure that your site is protected against future algorithm updates, here are some tips to fix thin content and improve your SEO.

1. Remove Pages With Low Quality Content

The most obvious solution is to simply remove thin contents or other pages that provide little value.

Remember, Google strives to deliver the most relevant results for each search query and your site stands no chance of ranking if your content is poorly written. Go through each page of your site and note down pages that provide little value. Then simply log into your content management system and remove those pages. You might be worried about losing your search engine rankings but chances are you might even rank better.

2. Rewrite the Content

Another option is to completely rewrite low quality content.

This doesn’t mean to simply reword it or change it so that it is unique. Rewriting means to take the similar concept and add even more value to it. Take a look at the pages that are currently ranking for the keywords you are targeting. Then aim to make your content even better and more comprehensive. Be sure to include images and links to resources to increase engagement.

One strategy that we strongly recommend is to write first for your target audience. After you are done with your content, you can then optimise for your target keywords.

3. Improve On-Page Factors

Google evaluates hundreds of different factors to determine rankings for each search query. But on page-factors are easily one of the most important. Be sure to optimise all the following for each page:

  • Title tags: Perhaps the most important on-page factor as they are the first thing that visitors see in the search results. Include your target keyword in the title and make your title engaging to increase click-through rates.
  • Meta descriptions: These are short snippets of text that appear in the search results directly under the title. Be sure to include your target keywords here and include a call to action to get more visitors to click through.
  • Headers: Headers are useful as they help break up large blocks of content and help Google better determine what your page is about. Instead of your target keywords, include your secondary keywords here.
  • Body: Be sure to include your target keyword several times throughout the contents as well as any other keywords that are relevant to the topic that you are writing about. Remember not to over-optimise your content as doing so can result in ranking penalties.

Conclusion

Even a few pages of thin content on your website can get your site penalised in the search results. Identify all pages that provide little value and either have them completely removed or rewritten from scratch. Be sure to provide value at every step of the way.