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How to spot thin or poor-quality content for Google Panda?

March 9, 2016 - 3  min reading time - by Emma Labrador
Home > SEO Thoughts > How to spot thin or poor-quality content for Google Panda?

Google Panda is one of the main Google spam-fighting algorithms you need to take into account very seriously. This algorithm, launched in February 2011 and with its last Panda 4.2 update, is now officially part of Google’s core ranking algorithm. Google stated that:

Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.

Gary Illyes from Google even confirmed the authenticity of this quote.

When auditing your website, you then need to focus on your content quality and check if your have thin or poor quality content appearing on your pages because it can really lower your rankings.

Why should you worry about Panda ?

For Google, thin content means either you have pages with a low proportion of copy compared to image/navigation elements or that your thin content could be duplicate or similar content (both internal or external). Panda also penalizes pages with unoptimized SEO structures, too many ads, slow pages, too blank pages, etc. In other words, anything related to content that damage your user’s experience. But today we are focusing on thin and poor quality content.
If you think you or one of your clients are in this situation, you will need to spot it, correct it and quickly show Google that you have made the right changes. Actually, Glenn Gabe stated that just because you might have recovered recently doesn’t mean that you won’t get penalized again in the next update if your site continues in the way it has.
So first step, spot your thin or poor content with Oncrawl and Google Analytics.

How to detect thin or poor quality content?

1. Launch a crawl for the full site with Oncrawl

Launching a crawl of your full website will crawl your entire site’s content. Make sure you have connected your account with your Google Analytics to increase your crawl’s speed.

2. Find poor-quality content using Google Analytics

Go to your Google Analytics and segment your content with elements like bounce rate, time spent by users on pages with a high bounce rate and page views. These metrics will help you know low-quality sections of your site.
Sections that don’t drive organic visits are not providing any SEO value, so remove them from Google’s index by setting up noindex or canonicals when appropriate.

3. Find thin content using the Oncrawl editorial insights tab

In the Editorial Insights section, you can spot pages with less than 150 words. Content with less that this word count have lesser chances to be indexed by Google as it doesn’t offer any value for the visitor.

spot thin content

You can export those pages via the URL viewer in CSV.

spot content with less than 150 words

This section can thus easily help you spot content considered as ‘thin” and that can lead to Panda penalty.

4. Spot non-indexable pages with the Inlinks tab

Those pages will show you content that is already non-indexable and won’t be causing you any troubles. You can thus compare your previous results with those pages and see if they are already in no-index.

how to remove thin content using oncrawl

5. No-Index your thin content

Remove any thin or low-quality content from the Google’s index. It will avoid search engines and visitors to land on those pages from a search result.
Add either a noindex or a rel=canonical if necessary. You can now launch a new crawl to check that the changes integrated have been well saved.

Further recommendations

To improve your user experience, you could also:

  • Fix 404: Connect to Oncrawl and go to ‘Performance’, ‘Status Code’ and check your 404. Be sure that you have created a dedicated landing page that help your users find their way if you cannot remove those pages.
  • Fix broken links with ‘Outlinks’, ‘Main Pages with Broken Links’ and easily know how many broken links you have on each page.
  • Fix slow pages with ‘Performance’, ‘Load time’. You can access your average load time and quickly spot low and too slow pages (below 2 seconds).
Emma Labrador See all their articles
Emma was the Head of Communication & Marketing at Oncrawl for over seven years. She contributed articles about SEO and search engine updates.
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