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Thin Content With Little or No Added Value Manual Action: Google on How to Fix It

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Matt Cutts

If you've received a warning in your Google Webmaster Tools account about thin content with little or no added value, you will need to rectify that before your site will have much success in Google's search results.

What is thin content? Generally this refers to non-original content found in your website. It can be something like product descriptions that are taken from a feed that can be found on many other sites, or can simply be a page that has a little content on it other than things like the navigation, such as doorway pages.

An example that Google's Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts uses in the video is a DirecTV installer in Colorado who created an individual page for every single city in Colorado to save a he does installations there. However, on those pages the only thing different about each was the fact the city name was changed.

Another example he brings up is thin affiliate sites. He said affiliate sites aren't necessarily bad, however it needs to add value. But many of them are simply cookie-cutter type sites where it is similar to many other sites out there.

He also talks about article syndication as being problematic for receiving a thin content warning. It is called "thin syndication" where you might have articles taken from free article banks, or republished from an RSS feed, or content taken from Wikipedia. Again this is all non-original content which really doesn't add value to any website.

If you have this warning, the best way to solve this is to remove the thin content pages that aren't adding value to your site. But also, you should "think about what additional value you can add. Is there unique content you can add?" Cutts asked.

You can also replace the thin content with original content you write, such as articles, because you have experience with the product or even user-generated reviews. Also think of the other types of content you can add, whether it is videos or some other type of multimedia that makes the site interesting.

"It goes back to the sort of thing where we're looking for original content, original research, original insight, something that would make the site compelling, something that would make it so that users really like the site, they'd bookmark it, they'd tell their friends about it, they'd come back to it, they really enjoy the site," Cutts said.

Ideally you want to make sites that has unique content that people want to read and share with others, and "make people excited to land on that page," he said.

Lastly, if you do get this warning in your webmaster console, ask yourself "OK, what do I need to do move up that value add to where I'm really doing something that users will find compelling?"

It really means that if you get this warning, your site just isn't serving the best possible quality of content for your visitors, primarily because either nearly nonexistent, or it's cookie-cutter cut and pasted from other sites.


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