Captivating your audience with exciting headlines is step number one.
Keeping them interested with content that’s current and relevant is step number two.
Anything that’s not necessary to your blog’s message… well, it really needs to go.
Content is king, but that doesn’t mean you should bombard your reader with irrelevant information.
But what exactly is filler content and how can you get rid of it?
How can you ensure that you’re always publishing valuable content for your audience?
Keep reading to find out now!
Back when black hat SEO techniques reigned supreme, many content creators would add filler content with keywords that were irrelevant to the main topic.
This would then help their websites rank higher with Google’s search engine as they’d appear in more searches.
Much has changed since then…
Google’s algorithm has got better.
Being able to distinguish the high-quality websites from those with excess filler content means people spend less time searching and more time reading good content.
Filler (or thin) content has less to do with the actual word count and more to do with the black hat SEO tactics that often accompany it.
Google will not penalise you for just adding a few lines of text or going off-topic.
If you’re writing about the best books of 2019 and then add a keyword-stuffed paragraph about fidget spinners at the end… Google will know something’s up.
Stick to content that’s relevant to the topic and useful to the reader.
Thin Content Breaks Hearts
Thin content is not good for SEO!
Search engines may be able to detect pages that serve thin content, but it’s not just about that.
Consistent and repeated use of black hat SEO techniques to rank higher will eventually:
- Reduce the quality of a website. Thin pages filled with filler content are easily detectable by Google Panda. Google will know if a website that is repeatedly publishing thin content.
- Drive users away. Even if you do manage to trick Google, you won’t be able to fool real humans. SEO is important, but remember that content is written to be read by humans. A temporary boost in ranking aided by black hat SEO will not last long.
- Incur penalties. If you’re found to be guilty, Google will most likely remove your pages from the index completely. Your website will be penalised and it’s an uphill battle from there. We don’t need to tell you why that’s a terrible thing for your business.
OK, so what can you do to keep Google’s detective bots happy?
Look to publish content that will satisfy the intent of the searcher.
Create content that you would happily read and engage with yourself.
- Is original and informative.
- Is focused and to-the-point.
- Is properly structured, formatted and optimised.
- Is thorough but comprehensive.
- Puts the reader’s needs first.
Try to come off as authoritative but maintain a friendly and conversational tone.
Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and really try to connect with them.
How they ended up on your website? Why are they reading your content? What are they trying to learn?
Identifying and Fixing Low-Quality Pages
Google’s algorithm is complex.
When it comes to the evaluation of a page, however, several things stand out:
- Is it original? Needless to say, pages with duplicated content and exact copies don’t sit well with Google. They are of little value to users and Google is well aware of the fact. Anyone can copy and paste a few lines of text.
- Is it well-formatted? What about headings and subheadings? Pages that are not structured will make for a bad read. Users value information that is delivered neatly.
- Is it infested with ads? Ads are important, but if a website is filled with ads and annoying pop-ups, chances are users will press that back button ASAP, never to be seen again.
- Does it take forever to load? We’ve all been there. Waiting for a page to load is infuriating. You’ve piqued your reader’s interest. Everything worked so well up to that point; the captivating headline and the perfect meta description. But the page took longer than three seconds to respond. Better luck next time!
If your page ticks all the boxes, then Google will check how well it satisfies the user intent.
You may have great content, but still not rank high if you’re not providing users with what they want to see.
Well okay, but what can you do about that?
Identifying thin pages that Google has deemed as low-quality should be step number one.
The process of identifying weaker pages is referred to as a content audit.
There are many tools that can help you with that (e.g. SEMRUSH) and they all have similar functions.
Content audit tools check for:
- Pages with little to no content. Remove old pages that contain no meaningful content. If you’re reselling products, try to come up with unique and new descriptions.
- Pages with auto-generated content. Robots will write like robots. Don’t rely on auto-generated content that’s hard to read and hardly makes any sense.
- Pages that were published a long time ago but still fail to rank or drive traffic to the website. It sometimes takes weeks or even months for a post to rank high. In the meanwhile, be patient and try to use tools such as SEMRUSH to track everything.
- Pages and landing pages with duplicate content. Duplicate content is never a good sign. To stop diverting traffic from one page to another, avoid similar titles and text even if the content is similar.
- Pages with an increased bounce rate. A high bounce rate indicates lower engagement. It means that people likely found your website but were out before they had a chance to visit a second page. Make sure you give users what was promised in the title and meta description.
The Yoast SEO plugin can also perform content analysis checks.
This and other WordPress tools can help you with SEO while maintaining top-quality content.
Among other things:
- They make sure that the post contains more than the minimum of 300 words.
- They perform keyword research and look at keyword density (around 2% for optimal results).
- They check for links and backlinks.
The content audit process takes time but is necessary for the SEO health of your website.
Identify the pages that need fixing and act accordingly.
Don’t be afraid to remove pages that are no longer serving a purpose.
Filler content is bad content.
If your goal is to rank high, then know that having a website with 50 top-quality pages is better than having a website with 500+ low-quality pages.
Put your reader first and only write content that you’d happily read yourself.
To create top-quality content that reads well and ranks high, proper keyword research is key.
There are many keyword research tools out there, some better than others.
Check out our list of the 10 Best Free Keyword Research Tools for 2019 that you don’t want to miss!