Since the launch of Google’s now infamous Panda update a little over two years ago, a number of crucial factors have been influencing the success of websites around the world. One of these factors which can have a negative influence on your position in the search results is ‘thin’ content, and this is something that a copywriting agency can help you with.
Thin content means web content which offers little value to web users. In a recent video posted on the GoogleWebmasterHelp YouTube channel, Matt Cutts addresses ‘Thin content with little or no added value’. In it he identifies several key types of thin content:
Doorways – Identical pages leading to other content which only have a few keywords changed. This might be the case for a site targeting lots of different geographical locations.
Thin affiliates with duplicate content – While Cutts says that pages linking to affiliates aren’t necessarily bad, such as those which feature original reviews, affiliate links that add no value and have content scraped from elsewhere are looked upon negatively by Google.
Thin syndication – Low quality articles pulled from article banks and other sources. Aside from leading to duplicate content issues, the use of these can lower the quality of your site because instead of being written by a professional writer or a copywriting agency, they’re often created by someone without the necessary communication and editing skills.
Of course, thin content can also be simply a lack of textual content or the presence of only a few lines of little value.
It’s worth remembering that it’s not just Google that has an aversion to thin content – all the search engines are looking for substantial content which offers value to their users.
Google has recently added thin content to the ‘manual actions’ tab in its Webmaster Tools, making it easier to spot on your site. In a recent post on eConsultancy, Marcus Taylor also presents a useful definition for thin content. He says that thin content has, “a bounce rate between 95 and 99.99%,” and, “an average time on page between 0.1 and five seconds.” You can check these two characteristics using Google Analytics or a similar tool.
Doing something about thin content
“So what can you do [about thin content]?” asks Matt Cutts in the aforementioned video. “Well certainly you can remove the content that you didn’t write yourself or that is thin or that doesn’t add much value. You can also try to think about what additional value can I add – is there unique content that I can add?” He goes on to add that, “we’re looking for original content, original research, original insight – something that would make the site compelling.”
A copywriting agency can help you immensely with the latter, and can work with you to ensure that your site offers visitors the kind of value that Google and the other search engines are looking for.
If for instance you have landing pages or doorways that target customers in specific geographical areas then a copywriting agency can create unique content for each individual one that is not only original but offers value to customers. This might be by highlighting benefits specific to a particular area, or simply by providing some background information to both the area and your products or services.
Quality and quantity
One of the main reasons that sites use thin content is that they lack the time and/or resources to create high quality valuable content. This is particularly evident in the case of sites that have thousands of pages of content, such as ecommerce sites. While it may be hard or even impossible for a busy small business to create such high volumes of content whilst maintaining standards, for a copywriting agency it’s all in a day’s work. A team of skilled copywriters can make short work of bulk content requirements, while at all times producing quality copy.
Using a copywriting agency
By outsourcing your content requirements you can not only eliminate thin content but massively raise the standard of your website. And while this will please Google and the other search engines, it will undoubtedly, and most importantly, prove to be a hit with your visitors too.