What is thin content?

The English term Thin Content means “thin content” in German. For Google, this is website content that does not meet the requirements of the Webmaster Guidelines and does not offer the user any added value. The term first appeared in 2012 when Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines were leaked.


Google describes all URLs of a website with insufficient quality as thin content and therefore devalues ​​them. Thin content has been an important factor in search engine optimization (SEO) since the Panda update in 2011. So get websites and blogs with a low-quality content from Google a punishment to their own SERPs optimize and on. Therefore, Google enhances content with a high information content. In contrast, irrelevant content is removed from the search results if a search query does not generate any relevant hits. With this measure, users should only receive relevant search results.


Since the Panda update, the content of websites should meet user expectations. Therefore, Google downgrades the rankings of websites if their content does not offer any added value for the user. Individual affected pages also have an impact on the entire website. As soon as thin content is determined using algorithms and a quality rater, the website operator receives a message about a corresponding measure in the Google Search Console. Then he can improve the site. If the operator does not edit the page , Google will delete the existing content.

Characteristics of thin content

There are different types of thin content. Google defines the following characteristics:

  • Automatically generated content: These are automatically generated texts. These are, for example, texts that are only created with software to rank certain keywords and therefore offer no added value.
  • Affiliate pages: These are Internet pages with product links that contain copied product descriptions and experience reports. These texts are copied directly from the original dealer and have neither their own content nor added value.
  • Duplicate Content: The term describes duplicate content and includes content that has been copied from other websites or translated word for word. This content occurs mainly in online shops, because copied product descriptions are relatively common here.
  • Doorway Pages: Google also classifies so-called bridging pages to thin content. These pages are intended to redirect the user to another page with products. They often contain irrelevant content and a very small number of words.
  • Insufficiently relevant content: This affects websites that do not offer the user any added value. For example, these are pages that only contain images and no text. This also includes advertising texts without a statement.

Thin content as soft 404

Google not only refers to poor quality content as thin content, but has also referred to so-called soft 404 error pages since October 2014. These are websites with no content, but which do not output a 404 status code. Therefore , Google removes all pages with no relevant content for the user from the directory so that they are no longer displayed in the SERPs.

For the website operator, pages with inferior content can lead to major problems. If Google classifies several URLs of a website or blog as thin content, operators can, among other things, delete the affected page or fill it with relevant content or add to it. With the Search Console from Google, website operators can examine and optimize their own website. This is also how thin content is identified. This has a great advantage for SEO and for website operators. Because they can simply delete or improve the web pages without content. In addition, affected pages are included in the rankingno longer taken into account, which is why manual measures are no longer necessary immediately. However, if the operators do not correct these errors, a loss of ranking is still possible.

Importance for SEO

According to electronicsencyclopedia.com, thin content has been a central topic in search engine optimization since the Panda Update. In principle, websites should always contain content with added value, because irrelevant content leads to a decline in visitors in the long term. For SEO, this means that a greater focus on creating valuable content is necessary than on building link networks. As soon as Google detects neglected or copied pages or texts, the operators can face high fines.


The term thin content describes content without added value and is therefore the opposite of unique content. Google devalues ​​poor quality content, such as websites with duplicate content and affiliate pages. If pages are classified as thin content, this has negative consequences for the website operator, such as a loss of ranking or high fines. That is why a website should always offer high-quality content in order not to drop in the rankings in the long term. Those who avoid inferior quality content and instead rely on unique content will also be successful with search results.

What is thin content