When you do a web search for content marketing, you will find reams of advice telling you what content ranks well. But what about content that search engines will not rank?
Search engines demand “quality” content that is fresh and offers value to readers. We know this, but there are some exceptions. Google class unacceptable content as “thin” or duplicate.
Duplicate content is easy to define – copying content from another site and pasting into your own. The Panda algorithm put an end to cheating. And Google is looking for ways to prevent marketers from publishing content they also consider low-quality.
What is thin content?
The expression, “thin content” is an industry term to describe pages that have low-quality content that do not offer value to readers. A good example is affiliate content that has been pulled from another site and posted in your own blog.
Although this keeps your posts ticking over, Google does not consider it as unique content. It is not classified as duplicate content because the originator is acknowledged, but this method of developing content for your blog does nothing for your PageRank.
A similar method people are using is scraping content from a multitude of third party sites and publishing them all on one page. From a reader’s perspective, this does add value because it gives them access to information from one source.
Google on the other hand does not see it that way and claim it does not add unique value. It’s harsh, but you have to take Googles point. Why should content writers gain any credit from collecting other people’s work?
Google is showing doorways the door
The biggest culprits of thin content are companies publishing doorway pages. These are pages that are designed to rank well, but do not have any content of value. Their purpose is merely to lure visitors to a product page.
An example of a doorway page is using city names so that the page will rank. For example, “Handbags in London”, “Handbags in Manchester” etc, but the page takes you to a website selling handbags remotely which they then send through the post.
Again, some marketers will look at this as a harsh penalty, but a recent algorithm actually targets doorway pages and Google has threatened to penalise companies using them.
The point Google is trying to make is that every page published in the web should have depth to it and not be designed purely to mislead their online customers. Search engines want end-users to trust sources they are given in search results and if consumers feel cheated, they have a bad user-experience. And that is a big no-no with Google!
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