If you’ve done an SEO audit recently, you might’ve been told your website has lots of pages with thin content.

But what the heck is thin content, and why do you need to fix it?

In this blog post, I’ll help you learn to identify thin content and how to fix it quickly.

What is Thin Content?

Let’s start with the basics: what is thin content?

If you read the whole intro, you’ll already know that thin content is content that has little to no value to the reader.

If you didn’t read the intro, this will be new information to you, and thanks for continuing to read the post!

If you’ve done an SEO audit on your site on your own before, you might’ve used a tool like Screaming Frog that can identify thin content automatically. Screaming Frog’s definition of thin content is content that only has 300 words or less.

But thin content isn’t just about word count.

Here are some other examples of thin content that can damage your SEO:

1. Content That Lacks Depth

This might seem like a pretty general description, but it’s really important to understand what Google considers content without depth.

Content lacking depth is content that doesn’t cover a topic fully.

When a user searches for a particular keyword, they want to learn about every aspect of the keyword in the content they click.

For example, if this article was simply titled “What is Thin Content” and only gave a brief definition of what thin content is, it’s probably not that helpful because you can look at the featured snippet without having to click the article to see a basic answer.

To make content helpful to a user, you need to understand what problem they’re trying to solve by searching their question.

If you’re searching “what is thin content,” you probably think you have some on your site and are stressed about how it’ll affect your SEO.

Therefore, you need to know what to do about it. So, an article just describing thin content isn’t enough.

How to Fix Content Lacking Depth

There are lots of reasons your site might have thin content, including:

  • Using AI-generated articles
  • Giving writers incomplete briefs
  • A content strategy relying on high output–while having limited resources to carry it out

How do you fix these problems?

First, stay away from AI-generated content.

The reason why AI-generated content often ends up being thin content is because AI writing tools can only create content from information that already exists.

AI also can’t add personal experience or expertise to a topic because it’s a robot and hasn’t experienced…well, anything.

When you give briefs to writers, you also have to get specific about what the purpose of the article is. Briefs with just an outline and keywords may not be enough for writers to understand why your user is searching a particular query.

Make sure your briefs are detailed and give a whole picture of your customer and the content’s place in your strategy.

Thin content can also result from an unrealistic content strategy and lack of internal resources. Lots of companies think that they need a high output strategy to get SEO results, but that’s simply not true.

What you need is consistent, high-quality content, so you need to make sure you have enough good writers on your team to give that to you.

2. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is exactly what it sounds like: any pages or posts that have the exact same content.

Why does this matter?

Well, for starters, any duplicate content pages you have will rank way lower in Google search results. Google states that they try hard to rank content with distinct information, so if you have a bunch of pages with the same content, it can hurt your SEO.

Duplicate content is a problem because to Google, it looks like you’re trying to manipulate search engine results by posting the same content across a site or multiple sites.

How to Find Duplicate Content

To find duplicate content, I use Siteliner, which shows you exactly which text shows up multiple times on your pages.

Siteliner can get a little annoying because it doesn’t separate out your header and footer text, so it can look like you have more duplicate content initially than you actually do.

You can see an example of that above, where siteliner identifies my site’s form text as duplicate content.

Usually, if the duplicate content percentage is less than about 12%, it’s probably because Siteliner is including your menus, headers, and footers.

How to Fix Duplicate Content

The best way to fix duplicate content is to make all the content on your pages original. This will have to strongest results for SEO.

However, you can also fix it with a little technical SEO. Some options include:

  • Implementing 301 redirects
  • Blocking duplicate pages from being crawled in your robots.txt file
  • Learn how your CMS displays content (some content management systems show the same content in multiple formats depending on your settings)

If you have a large amount of duplicate content, using one of these strategies may be helpful while you rewrite your content so it’s unique.

3. Poorly Written Content With Lots of Errors

You may not want to hear this, but poorly written content with lots of errors is definitely hurting your site.

If people can’t understand your content due to major grammatical mistakes and your content is littered with typos, they’re probably going to leave your site to find one that provides better content.

And honestly, poorly written and edited content is just a bad experience for the user.

People want to consume content from brands they trust, and it’s hard for most people to trust a brand when it seems like they can’t be bothered to edit and proofread their content.

How to Find Poorly Written Content

Depending on how much content is on your site, there are several ways to check for poorly written content.

For sites with a low page count, try these methods:

  1. Run your pages through Hemingway. Edit accordingly.
  2. Copy and paste pages into Grammarly. Use it to proofread.

If your site has more pages, you can actually use Screaming Frog to crawl the site for spelling and grammar errors.

Make sure you set your crawl settings to search for these errors because it doesn’t do so automatically.

4. How to Fix Poorly Written Content

If you’re writing your content yourself, have someone else proofread and edit. It can be hard to see where our own writing falls short.

If you’re hiring content writers, make sure to hire writers who are native speakers or bilingual in the language you’re writing in.

It’s a common practice in marketing to outsource to certain countries because it’s cheaper, but it’s really obvious when someone is only a conversational or basic speaker your chosen language. It’ll be obvious to your audience, too.

In the long run, investing a little more money into writers who are native speakers or bilingual in your site’s language will help your site succeed.

Also, hire editors. Not every content writer or copywriter has editing skills. Regardless, it’s helpful to have a second set of eyes look at your content to improve its quality.

4. Content Scraped or Copied From Other Sites

Unfortunately, it’s really common for people to copy headings and entire article outlines and just rewrite them to try to get rankings for SEO.

Doing this might give you short-term gains, but it’s likely the owners of the original content will notice and simply make their content better to regain their original ranking.

It’s fine to be inspired by your competitors and research what strategies work, but using the exact same headings as them is still copying.

Scraped content is content that bots gather from other sites. This is straight-up stealing.

People don’t like stealing in real life, and they don’t like it on the internet either. Don’t. Do. It.

How to Find Content Scraped or Copied From Other Sites

Use plagiarism tools to check whether your content has been copied or scraped.

How to Fix Scraped or Copied Content

Make your content original. Every time.

Want to Kill Thin Content On Your Website?

If you’ve discovered thin content on your site and are feeling overwhelmed, it’s probably time to hire outside help.

If you’re a SaaS brand who wants to kill all the thin content on your site, I can help you develop new content that’s Google-friendly and helpful to your users.

Want to get started? Send me an email at hello@melisaacs.com with the subject line “thin content,” and I’ll get back to you ASAP.