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    Is this "thin content"?


    I read SEO articles that many sites benefited from reducing the amount of pages and focusing on quality.

    My site includes a small Q&A forum. One question usually gets one answer, some times two. So the threads are very small. For example:

    learn-greek-online.com/ask-greek/965/filoi-pronunciation

    learn-greek-online.com/ask-greek/970/pio-poli-pethaineis

    Is this considered "thin content"? Is my SEO in trouble here?
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    There is no question it is thin. Search engines usually don't index these sort of pages.
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    This page is indexed:
    site:learn-greek-online.com/ask-greek/965/filoi-pronunciation

    It also ranks #7 globally for the keyword "filoi pronunciation".

    It is original content. It is a simple question answered from an expert.

    How could I rectify it, in a way that would be friendly to the visitor too?
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    Tidy it up a little. If you want it to rank for "filoi pronunciation" this text should also appear on the page in the title and h1 tag.

    Now add some 'stay on page stuff' - what does it mean, you might also be interested in, example sentences, embed the MP3 file so the user does not have to leave the page, etc.
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    Hello Doodled

    Thanks for the feedback. Will try to do these.

    >>>>
    embed the MP3 file so the user does not have to leave the page
    <<<<
    The link opens a new tab-window. Isn;t this ok?


    BTW, it is not so important to me to rank for "filoi pronunciation". This is one of the long tail keywords that I am doing pretty good anyway. What I am trying to do is make sure those pages with little (less than 100 words, but original) content, do not hurt and drug down the entire site.
    Last edited by bobptz; Jan 27th, 2018 at 12:48 PM.
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    Hi Bobptz,
    Care is needed with G's interpretation of "thin content". It can often relate to an SEO spam tactic where multiple site pages contain much the same content but with perhaps different location words being targeted.

    If you want to see thin content ranking #1 on Google, search for: is it Christmas

    You should see the #1 page is nothing but an image that says "No".

    I see that G has indexed the two example pages you list in your post.

    I also note that their page titles are in Greek. I don't have a Greek keyboard to check their ranking positions for Greek characterset search queries. I'm guessing they rank on page #1 for the Greek word searches.

    The issue is, do you want to be found when folk search with the English translation of the page titles? If so, switch your page titles to English.
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    Originally Posted by JohnAimit
    I don't have a Greek keyboard to check their ranking positions for Greek characterset search queries. I'm guessing they rank on page #1 for the Greek word searches.
    If you want to test, just copy/paste the Greek text.

    Originally Posted by JohnAimit
    The issue is, do you want to be found when folk search with the English translation of the page titles? If so, switch your page titles to English.
    I made a test:

    φίλοι pronunciation ranks #9
    filoi pronunciation ranks #11

    I am happy with this.

    The issue I made this thread for is if my content is THIN.

    Some people say that if it is indexed and ranks reasonably, it is not thin.

    What is your opinion?
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    Hi Bobptz,
    Your pages would not be ranking higher than #20 if G was imposing any "thin" content penalty. No. it is their G. assessed natural ranking positions.

    These are the pages selected by G as the "best" answers to a search for, "filoi pronunciation":

    1. howtopronounce.com/french/filoi/
    2. pronouncekiwi.com/Filoi%20Ki%20Ehthri

    The top page has less content than yours. The second would not be described by a human mind as "quality" content.

    G has less than 14,000 pages that match these search queries. In such situations it is not unusual for G to rank what humans would call "low quality" or "thin content" pages. G. simply can't identify any better pages from this small sample with its current algorithm.

    Ranking is essentailly a point scoring competition for how each of the words used in a search query are used on a page and on those that link to them.

    Every page comes with different scoring opportunities. Eg. One is, does a search word occur in a page's domain name? You don't have "pronounciation" or "pronounce" in your domain name so you can't score ranking points for this attribute.

    You will see that 6 of the top 10 results for a "filoi pronunciation" search all include "pronounce" or its synonym in their domains. Nine of ten include "filoi" and "pronounce" in their titles.

    You don't use either of these words in your domain name and you don't use the English characterset version of "filoi" in your page title.

    Therefore you are losing ranking points for your page.

    The solution may be as simple as including both characterset versions of "filoi" in your page title.

    Another would be to increase the volume of information on the page about pronounciations of phrases that include "filoi". That is essentially how this page scores the points: pronouncekiwi.com/Filoi%20Ki%20Ehthri

    You are unlikely to need to spend the time on external link building to improve your ranking.

    Comments on this post

    • matt1966 agrees
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Feb 2nd, 2018 at 11:36 PM.
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    Hi guys

    >>>>>
    Your pages would not be ranking higher than #20 if G was imposing any "thin" content penalty. No. it is their G. assessed natural ranking positions.
    <<<<<
    So you suggest the content of those pages is NOT thin.

    >>>>>
    G has less than 14,000 pages that match these search queries. In such situations it is not unusual for G to rank what humans would call "low quality" or "thin content" pages. G. simply can't identify any better pages from this small sample with its current algorithm.
    <<<<<
    So you say that there is so little competition that even if my pages are thin, they can still rank. Doesn't this contradict your previous statement?


    Thank you for the suggestions on how to improve the content and SEO of the two pages I mentioned:
    learn-greek-online.com/ask-greek/965/filoi-pronunciation
    learn-greek-online.com/ask-greek/970/pio-poli-pethaineis

    My biggest concern is that IF my forum content is THIN, then maybe the SEO of the main website, the "money" pages, in trouble? Pages like:
    learn-greek-online.com
    learn-greek-online.com/greek-teacher.html
    Last edited by bobptz; Feb 3rd, 2018 at 07:26 AM.
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    Yes those pages are definitely thin content but you can fix it! Why don't you have other questions listed? Related questions, navigations, maybe pull RSS feeds, include auto-definitions, word of the day, etc.
    You can add a lot of unique content to a page!

    Also, consider getting a programmer to write a simple script that says: "If minimum amount of words = X, then no-index the page". If it passes X words, remove the no-index tag.

    There are many solutions to your problem!

    And... to answer your question: "Will this harm my money pages". The answer is: "It depends". Specifically, it depends on the ratio of thin pages to high quality pages you have. If you have 100 high quality pages and 10000 thin pages, then YES, it will matter! If you have 20 thin pages and 100 high quality pages, you won't have an issue.
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    According to this article ( Definition of Thin Content vs Lean Content and why panda hates thin fishes - webmindset
    ):
    "The answer to the thin content problem is lean content, not long content
    ....
    Itís necessary to emphasize again that thin content is not the same of short content."

    My content is NOT thin according to google's definition:
    https://moz.com/blog/fat-pandas-and-thin-content

    I may fall in the 5th category of the above article. But the structure of the page is very lean, so it rarely exceeds 50% of the total page content.

    >>>>>
    Why don't you have other questions listed? Related questions,
    <<<<<
    Actually I do. It is in the lower right side of the page.

    >>>>>>
    navigations, maybe pull RSS feeds, include auto-definitions, word of the day, etc.
    <<<<<<
    These look like THIN content to me. But I may be wrong.

    >>>>>
    consider getting a programmer to write a simple script that says: "If minimum amount of words = X, then no-index the page". If it passes X words, remove the no-index tag.
    <<<<<
    Yes, there is already a script like this that I may install.

    >>>>>
    If you have 100 high quality pages and 10000 thin pages, then YES, it will matter!
    <<<<<
    I am afraid most people are thinking in terms of blog articles. Yes, a 2000 word well researched and documented article is betted quality that an undocumented 550 word page. But I do not have such a blog. I have about 340 pages on the site. 2-3 of them are detailed instructions, got some attention and got a couple of backlinks. The majority of the rest are short answers to short questions. valuable to the person that asked. Maybe usefull to somebody searching for the same term/answer.

    I could spend 2 hours, write extra 500 words and help that url move to #2 - #5. I really don't care to do it. The purpose of my Q2A is attract people and links. I get attention (links) because I provide expert answers, not for some particular answer. And it is very good at this.

    The goal is to promote the main site, the money pages. And my concern is that the forum does not negatively affect the main site.
    Last edited by bobptz; Feb 3rd, 2018 at 02:45 PM.
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    Hi Bobptz,
    When did you overhaul your site last year? It usually takes G a while to reindex a site and let its rankings calm down.

    Quote: So you suggest the content of those pages is NOT thin.

    Quote: So you say that there is so little competition that even if my pages are thin, they can still rank. Doesn't this contradict your previous statement?

    "Thin content" cropped up in terminology with G's Panda algo intro in 2011. It is a general description that should not be taken as a specific algorithm term. The web is full of "squillions" of pages that humans would describe as "thin" or "short content length" pages. The vast majority are not penalised by G. G let's its algo automatically score where they should rank.

    Very occasionally G's anti-spam team will hit a site with a "manual" penalty. If this happens, you would expect to receive an email from G and no page from your site should rank in the top 50 places for any search query.

    Look at your competition for the search query: filoi pronunciation

    #1 howtopronounce.com/french/filoi/
    #2 pronouncekiwi.com/Filoi%20Ki%20Ehthri
    #4 pronunciationof.com/surname/how-to-pronounce/filoi (Also check: pronunciationof.com/how-to-pronounce/fala)
    #5 pronouncehippo.com/filoi/ (Also check: pronouncehippo.com/homer/)

    Every single one of these pages contain very little content and much of that is also replicated on thousands of their other pages. They are all far worse than your site when it comes to content "quality", if any penalty was being imposed, they should all get hit way before your pages.

    There is a lot of SEO actions you could take to improve your generic SE referrals but you don't have to worry about "thin" content on your learn-greek-online.com/ask-greek/ pages causing a ranking penalty for your "money" pages.

    A Google "site:" search indicates that 489 of your 511 pages are in your learn-greek-online.com/ask-greek section. That is a huge SE referral resource you are completely wasting at present.

    This section needs content sorted into relevant sub-categories with link pathways and relevant names that Googlebot can read and follow. You should be cross-linking every one of these pages back to a relevant "money" page.

    Use the page titles more effectively than you do at present.

    Cross-link your money pages back to relevant /ask-greek sub-categories.

    There is much more than can be covered here.
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    Hi Bobptz,

    Quote: According to this article ( Definition of Thin Content vs Lean Content and why panda hates thin fishes - webmindset

    Quote: My content is NOT thin according to google's definition (Moz article). I may fall in the 5th category of the above article...

    Get into the habit of checking SEO article dates and the author's skills/expertise/experience.

    You are quoting articles by someone who seems to have no SEO experience and another that is 9 years out of date.

    The Mindset article author has nothing about SEO in his Linkedin profile and the Moz article was written in May 2011. G has implemented over 25 Panda updates since then and now it seems to be an automated process.

    Ignore both the articles you have referenced.

    The advice you are getting about "thin" content is generally true but when G has so few matching pages to chose from, it is so desparate for answer pages that the usual rules go out the window.

    Trust the G. results you can see with your own eyes when you search for a query like, "filoi pronunciation". The #1 site, howtopronounce.com has 9.6 million pages indexed. Most of them seems to be content "quality" garbage like howtopronounce.com/french/filoi/. G has indexed 1.1 million pages from the #2 site, How To Pronounce Filoi Ki Ehthri - I'd call this garbage quality also.


    If you want to hear a Google spokesperson on the topic, see:

    Video Mar 2016: Google Q&A+ #March

    Go to around the 48 min 10 sec point in the video.

    Listen to the discussion of the Russian searching for a bucket in a small Russian city and the problems G has with Arabic and other language searches.
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    >>>>>
    When did you overhaul your site last year? It usually takes G a while to reindex a site and let its rankings calm down.
    <<<<<
    see the answer here:
    Rankings are dropping for 6 months now

    You are right about the previous links. Here are better articles on THIN content:
    https://www.vertical-leap.uk/blog/wh...oes-it-matter/
    https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66361

    I definitely do not fall into this category (doorway, affiliate etc etc). However many of my forum posts are small (<150 words). It is original, well researched content written from an expert who answers user questions. But it is short and to the point.


    >>>>
    There is a lot of SEO actions you could take to improve your generic SE referrals but you don't have to worry about "thin" content on your learn-greek-online.com/ask-greek/ pages causing a ranking penalty for your "money" pages.
    <<<<
    Thank you, this is what I wanted to know.

    >>>>>
    This section needs content sorted into relevant sub-categories with link pathways and relevant names that Googlebot can read and follow.
    <<<<<
    Maybe I could use TAGS. Like VERBS, NOUNS, DEFINITIONS, PRONUNCIATIONS etc. Is this what you mean?

    >>>>>
    You should be cross-linking every one of these pages back to a relevant "money" page.
    <<<<<
    I do have a couple of permanent links in the right side of the page. There are some very rare cases where I could link to my main site from the body of an answer. But even if I did this, how would it help? Internal link juice or leading the customer?
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    Hi Bobptz,
    Two things that hit me about the site:

    1. Is it targeting the most relevant search words?
    2. IMHO, it does not organise content well.

    1. Is it targeting the most relevant search words?
    OK, "learn" and "Greek" are very important but where to from there? Which better describes the services on offer to potentail clients?

    Courses
    Lessons
    Tuition
    Tutors

    Maybe you want to target several of them.

    Then there is the important issue of location words. Where are your target clients located? Everything is in $Euros and your pages are in English. Does that make UK your primary market?

    You need to consider this issue in conjunction with the course-type search words. I'm in Sydney, Aust. If I search for "greek lessons" or "greek tutors", G is preferentially listing Aust. businesses in the top 10.

    I'd start by picking one country and setting your Webmaster Console to that country searches. There are only 3 tutors, they should not be able to handle the workload from say, UK. Later you could replicate the site's content in other languages and target new clients by their search language.

    The About Us / Contact Us info. I'd want a bunch more info about who I'm dealing with. What are the terms of trade? Where is the business located? What county's laws govern the commercial transactions of the site? Etc.

    As your client is offering services to children, I suggest these info issues are mission critical.

    2. IMHO, it does not organise content well.

    If you consider your "Courses" menu, there is no "Courses" page that summarises the different types of courses, lessons, tuition services. It also starts with 3 pages that are not courses or lessons.

    "Free Trial Lesson" this is an incentive to buy, not a course.
    "Book Lessons" is a fulfilment page
    "Certificate of Attainment" is also not a course.

    These pages should be linked from every one of the client's courses/lessons pages.

    The "Students" page is wasted. For a start, it is a confusing name. It's URL name is more accurate - /testimonials.html. The thing with testimonials is you want them to be relevant to the site visitor's needs. Eg. If there are testimonials from business clients, children, tourists, etc. select the testimonials relevant to these specific market segments and link them from the course/tuition service type. You can probably use the same testimonial for multiple market segments.

    The "Misc" menu. A useless menu name. It contains a bad mix of info. This needs to be reorganised, also.

    When the menu topic are sorted and top-level pages are created for them, I suggest the page URLs are named to create logical site segments. Eg:

    Courses URL: /greek-courses/
    Tourists courses URL: /greek-courses/tourists
    Business courses URL: /greek-courses/business
    Etc.

    With "Students" I'd rename it "Course Reviews" or similar and organise it like this:

    /Greek-reviews/
    /Greek-reviews/tourists/
    /Greek-reviews/business/
    /Greek-reviews/children/

    Structuring your site like this should not only make it easier for visitors to follow the natural info flow but also improve the site pathways for Googlebot to make the flow of "link juice" through the site more natural.
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