Thin Content: remove or update?
When addressing thin content, there are three central strategies to consider: noindex, redirect, or update.
In 2011, Google rolled out its Panda algorithm to prevent sub-standard content from securing solid ranking positions in search engine results pages (SERPs). Fundamentally revolutionising both search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimisation (SEO), thin and poor-quality content now devalues web pages and can undermine your entire domain.
Deciding whether to noindex, redirect or update thin content can be a complex process because there are no straightforward answers. Each strategy has its own advantages and even Google engineers disagree on which option will deliver the most positive results.
What is thin content?
– Contains outdated or irrelevant information
– Often contains fewer than 400 words
– Contradicts current best practises and/or is poorly optimised
– Duplicate content
It’s important to note that thin content isn’t always inherently detrimental. You might, for example, have a short blog post that continues to attract traffic and has accrued a significant number of backlinks. Making alterations here might negatively impact your site, so it’s clear that consulting and critically evaluating the data and analytics you have available to you is ultimately key to making the correct decisions.
Consider whether each page on your site:
– Is relevant to your brand, business, or industry
– Plays a significant role in the buying journey of your audience/customers
– Attracts traffic or significant user engagement
– Needs updating to fully comply with new industry developments or regulations
In many cases, thin content just needs a little bit of care and attention to deliver value to your site. Updating content is a relatively simple process that will ensure you maintain the current size and scope of your site, boost your keyword rank, and increase your click-through rate (CTR).
When updating content, you must evaluate how any alterations you make will positively contribute to your site’s SEO strategy. Refreshing headlines, metadata and snippets will help you to boost your CTR and increase your site’s relevance to specific keywords.
Consider inserting fresh multimedia elements into some of your older content. A video or a creative infographic can help to tailor your posts to new audiences, and will be especially engaging if you want to share your content across your social media channels.
Removing or redirecting content
There are a variety of different reasons why you might consider removing content from your website. You might have pages that simply don’t align with your current business practices, such as redundant office or retail outlet locations, or outdated product categories. Your content might also fail to comply with advances in your industry or comprehensively reflect current best practices or trends.
If you don’t want to disrupt your website’s internal navigation structure, consider noindexing irrelevant pages, which will remove them completely from search results. Although throwing in a 404 gateway might be tempting in certain situations, instead look at implementing a 301 redirect to an alternative, relevant page. This will ensure pages retain their equity and your site doesn’t appear incomplete.
Ultimately, it is important to consistently audit the content on your site to ensure it never becomes outdated, irrelevant, or incorrect. This process will also help you to identify new ways to provide additional value to your audience.