Parsing pages: Is it better to update or remove thin content?
There are three basic strategies for dealing with thin content: update, redirect or noindex. Contributor Kristopher Jones looks at each and says to always keep the purpose of the content in mind when making any change.
Some people look at the changes Google makes to its algorithm as adding new rules and penalties, but most of the time, the company is just reshaping the existing order.
The Panda algorithm of 2011 introduced a new structure to Google’s ranking factors and was implemented to keep poor-quality content from ranking well. Panda had a seismic effect on our industry and changed how the search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) industries approach content creation. Under the new algorithm, not only did thin content devalue a web page’s value, but it also devalued the quality of your domain as a whole.
In general, parsing pages should be taken case by case to evaluate different strategies that would fully utilize the value of each individual page.
There are three basic strategies for dealing with thin content: You can update or redirect it or use a noindex tag on the web page you don’t want in the search index. There are advantages to each strategy, although your decision should depend on the purpose and equity of the content itself.
Ask Google engineers whether it’s better to keep thin content, update it or remove it entirely and you’ll receive a couple of different answers. Here is Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller saying to noindex thin content:
Considerations for updating content
Depending on the size of your site or blog, you may have hundreds of thin or outdated posts that need to be optimized. We define thin and outdated content as:
- Articles/posts with less than 400 words.
- No keyword focus.
- Unoptimized for best SEO best practices (stuffing keywords, spammy link profile and so on).
- Outdated material/content.
- Duplicate content.
Not all people consider thin or outdated content to be “bad.” There are a lot of situations where it can be adding value to a website. For example, if someone had an old blog post titled “Best practices for web design” that is still a significant source of backlinks and traffic, they may not want to change the post for fear of losing the traffic.
The key question here is “How old?” If that post was written in 2012, there is a high likelihood the pages currently serve no purpose to the end user; too much has changed in the web design community.
In this case, consulting the data is important, such as traffic flow, backlinks and keyword rank, but over time,…
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