Thin Content Removal Versus Fixing After Panda Penalty
Panda Recovery Guide For Thin Content
Panda 4.2 Recovery Guide
Last updated 30 Jan 2016
Google Suggests You Rather Fix Thin Content Than Remove It
Coincidently, a thin content penalty from Panda is not a penalty as I have mentioned in my page header, its an algorithm filter. There's a BIG difference between penalty and filter (I mentioned the phrase Panda Penalty to gain more traffic due to Webmasters thinking its a penalty, sneaky move from my side ;)
That said and done. The Panda algorithm does viscously and ferociously attack thin content, which would include aggregated content and low quality user generated content.
But the question at hand is - What is thin content?
Thin content is basically shallow content with very little substance to its meaning. Content that is aggregated from other sites with no added value or content that is user generated, off topic, shallow or purely for the sake of spam. Auto generated content for ranking and driving traffic can also be classified as thin.
Basically speaking, content needs to have value, it needs to be useful to the visitors and relevant to your page.
And thin content does NOT work on page % or amount of words used on a page, it works on value and usefulness to the visitor. The example below has less than a 100 words and a 1 minute video and is not deemed as thin.
Google even display it as a featured snippet. A simple answer to a simple question - How to boil rice!!? What more do you want, a blog post with 10 000 words?
John Mueller suggests you rather block thin content (aggregating from other sources and thin user generated content) or remove the content completely from your website.
Overall the quality of the site should be significantly improved so we can trust the content. Sometimes what we see with a site like that will have a lot of thin content, maybe there’s content you are aggregating from other sources, maybe there’s user generated content where people are submitting articles that are kind of low quality, and those are all the things you might want to look at and say what can I do; on the one hand, hand if I want to keep these articles, maybe prevent these from appearing in search.
Maybe use a noindex tag for these things. Maybe you could remove them completely and say this is so low quality I don’t want to have my name associated with that and remove them completely from your website. But that’s something where you need to take a really strong and honest look at your website and think about what you can do to improve things.
But, removing the wrong content can have a negative impact, specifically if you remove content that Google deems quality. This by itself will result in traffic lose that may seem to look like Panda, when in reality it is the removal of those pages that caused it.
Amit Singhal, Google employee has mentioned you remove low quality pages, or block them from crawlers.
One other specific piece of guidance we've offered is that low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings, and thus removing low quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content (source)
Googles 'Dont Be Evil' mantra has always been to prevent thin content from being indexed via NOINDEX and/or rather to fix thin content by adding value to it. But at times it is necessary to remove content, like Robot network spam and idiot trolls spamming off topic posts and links.
And lastly - With thin pages you can also consolidate those that are relevant to each other by checking Google referrals to see which pages receive the most hits. Pages that receive little or no traffic can be consolidated to the more popular pages that are already receiving traffic by adding the content or 301 redirecting.
It serves zero purpose having 10 pages on the same topic that receive zero traffic, rather consolidate those 10 pages to one page.
And it is suggested when noindexing content to add those pages to your sitemap so Google can process the noindex quicker.
And on a final note - you should not create pages that need deleting, your initial goal when creating pages or articles should be to create them in such a way that they don't fall in the Panda thin content category.