Thin content refers to a site that contains pages of content that do not bring value to the reader. Such pages are often duplicates of other pages on the site or provider very little information. This concept came about in February 2011 when Google rolled out Panda, an update to their search algorithm. Sites that were “hit by Panda” went plummeting into the depths of Google pages that many never returned. Some businesses ceased to exist not just in Google but overall and others had to purchase new domain names and build their content from scratch.
An expensive lesson to learn…
Today we write for USERS, not SEARCH ENGINES!
How Can You Determine If Your Content Is Valuable to Your Readers?
Many people would look at these two metrics in Google:
- Look at bounce rate in Google Analytics – the lower the bounce rate, the better
- Look at pages per visit – the higher the better
Personally I have some concerns about this. A high bounce rate might mean that the user found what they wanted and moved on. Of course it might mean that the content was not relevant for their needs – but how do you know which it is? I’ve seen many sites with incorrect Google Analytics implementation which results in their bounce rate being reported at half of what it truly is. If you are going to look at these metrics, be sure to isolate to traffic from (organic) search only.
My preferred method is to use Google Search Console to see the keywords people enter into Google (whether or not they have reached your site) that are relevant to a specific page of content. Take a sample blog post from DriveTraffic Digital Marketing about Google My Business. This post has generated 1,580 different queries on Google. Ideally, I review these queries and make sure that the article addresses all of the relevant queries. I can really hone in on this by focusing on queries that are questions (e.g. “how to”). For example, some of the questions that people have asked Google and for which Google has served up this post:
- how to add description to google business
- how to optimize google my business
- how to optimize your google my business listing
- how optimize your google business
- how to optimize google maps
How Can You Get This Data?
- You can do it adhoc using the Search Analytics (new window) data from Google Search Console
- You can use Google Sheets and an add-on called Search Analytics for Sheets (new window)
- You can use third party software by Analytics Edge (new window) that pulls this data into Excel
The fastest way to do this is to use Google Search Connector (https://www.analyticsedge.com/google-search-connector/ opens in new window), a core add-in for Excel by Analytics Edge. Below is a sample output from the tool into Excel. What I like about this tool is that I can easily update the information in seconds whereas the free option for Google Sheets, takes considerable effort to update – and time is money! If you are a Mac user, you’ll want to go with the Google Sheets option.
If you understand what people are searching for, you can modify your content to ensure it answers their questions. Make your content better than all competitors, and when you have reviewed the content of your local competitors, go beyond local and review the content of businesses in your industry that are in larger cities – even in other countries! Keep evolving your content to make it better and you will be rewarded with greater visibility in Google and therefore greater traffic to the content you created. Hopefully you have a call to action on your pages so that also generate business from all of this hard work!
On that note…. I’d Like an Estimate on a Content Audit.