Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.210.61.41

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Urgent Help Needed With Reconsideration - Thin Content Penalty

     
7:10 am on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


Hi Guys

I am in desperate need of some help. 2 weeks ago I received a Manual Penalty from Google for 'Thin Content' on my website.

I have since had 2 reconsiderations rejected, the latest coming this morning.

I am literally at a point where I just don't know what else to do, and I need your help.

A couple of things before I move on, I work in the <very competitive financial niche> industry which I appreciate may be an issue for some, but I am not a spammer. I have been running my business/website for 2 years - I don't offer <products>, just affiliate with the actual <suplier> and offer the public a site to come to when they want to avoid the brokers that do actually spam.

Because of the nature of what I do, I appreciate I am under constant scrutiny of Google, but I have always played by their rules, I no follow everything and NEVER build any links. I am just a normal person trying to make a living and at the moment Google is on it's way to putting me out of business.

So, here's the deal, I own this website <snip> and it's been up and running about 18 months. Everything has been going great until this penalty.

Everything on my site has been written by me, everything is unique 100%. I have over 70 pages on the site and these are my stats from Google Analytics from mid August to mid September:

Visits: 33,663 Pageviews: 213,285 Pages/Session: 6.34 Duration: 00:05:09 Bounce Rate: 15%

Now in my opinion, a site with those kind of stats surely wouldn't be considered to have Thin Content - people are obviously reading the posts on the site and spending a decent amount of time there.

I have read, watched and digested every piece of info they give you about Thin Content and I just cannot see how my site fits into any of that. There's no doorway pages, no scraped content, no jibberish, it just doesn't make sense to me.

I am at the point now where I genuinely do not know what they want from me. I have made changes but obviously they're not enough. I cannot just add more content - there is no need to.

If you are in the UK, search <very competitive phrase> and look at some of the competition I have - they have FAR less information on their sites but have not received a penalty, and just yesterday I came across this website <snip> which is an almost exact copy of my website - and it's indexed and starting to rank.

I haven't slept for nearly 2 weeks now, it's really affecting my life and I am seriously concerned I am not going to be able to get this website back.

Please, can you look past the nature of the industry I work in and and look at this from a webmaster point of view - what more do I need to do to get out of this penalty?

I can't go on the Google Webmaster Forums as I instantly get shot down for working in <my industry>.

Thank you for any help or advice you can offer.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 10:25 am (utc) on Oct 7, 2014]
[edit reason] Exemplified, sorry, no public site reviews and no niche disclosure for New Members [/edit]

1:02 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 30, 2008
posts:2630
votes: 191


A few questions:

- You said you did everything you could. What are the actions taken? For example, have you noindexed some of pages that Google may consider thin?
- With regards to thin pages, are you adding some new info that other sites that compete with you do not have?
- The site that is almost exact copy of yours - how old is it? Has it got your content or only the look and feel of your site? Have you analysed to see if they are doing anything different?

I would also have a look at this article, maybe it can help:

Thin content with little or no added value
Webmaster Tools Help
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2604719?hl=en [support.google.com]
2:51 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


Ok so I have done plenty of things, removed categories that they may have thought I created for ranking purposes, removed my blog completely, taken adverts off the pages and moved all of the content up.

I don't consider any of my pages to be thin, that's the thing - I write everything myself and I know a lot more about the industry I work in than Google do, that's for sure

The other site looks like it was started around the July time - for all intents and purposes it's pretty much an exact replica, save for a few colour changes on the theme
8:44 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 3, 2004
posts:318
votes: 34


I work in the <very competitive financial niche> industry


I don't offer <products>, just affiliate with the actual <suplier>


I do the same type of thing you do. Google now has human editors monitoring the tough keywords so if you hit page one for one of these terms... boom, you are gone.

You can not be an affiliate, you need to be an actual business, with a real store and phone contact if you want to be on page one (for the tough finance terms)... or at least make it look like you are real.

Best advice is to move on, build a bunch of new sites, avoid the prying eyes of google by going after the low hanging fruit.
9:14 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3526
votes: 325


It sounds like Google can't tell the bad from the good in this industry, so they just penalize all of them.
9:40 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


Well this is the thing, this is my business, something I have given my heart and soul to the last 2.5 years - it's not as easy as just walking away from it. I have a family to feed and a house to pay for.

I understand the risks of working in the area I do and that's why I've always played by the rules. I hate having to rely on Google to make a living, but it's the only way in this niche. Nobody wants to converse on social media, email marketing is pointless so organic is the only way.

I don't see why I should give it up, I just need Google to be more transparent in why they are penalising me, I know they have the ability to add notes to their responses, but they wont.

They have the power to simply shut my business down without explanation, and that's become a real bitter pill to swallow.

Whilst I do want to eventually come away from what I do, I want it to be on my terms not because someone - one person - 20,000 miles away from me has decided my content isn't good enough. Google can't be masters of all subjects. They want us to write content for humans, not bots, which is what I do. Would you honestly want to read a 1000 word review about a loan? I give the information that the user wants, and I think my analytics stats prove that.

Comparison sites exist everywhere and they're just affiliate sites at the end of the day, even the big ones.
10:13 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 24, 2012
posts:648
votes: 2


I have successfully gotten a "thin content" site through a reconsideration.

Just take all of your current content and archive it off somewhere, then remove it from the website. Use the google removal tool to ensure it's all really gone, even from google's cache.

Write 10 lengthy (1000+ words) articles that are undeniably well researched, detailed, and helpful. Add in a few original charts, graphs, or photographs. Publish those, along with legit "contact us" and "about us" pages. Make sure all of the new stuff gets published to brand-new urls that haven't been indexed before.

Submit the reconsideration. If it really is good content, they'll approve it.

Then, slowly, take the content that you removed, improve it, and re-publish it. Go slow, no-follow any affiliate links, etc.

Edit: When you file the reconsideration, swallow your pride and use a humble, apologetic tone. Stay brief, but do call out anything special about the new content that makes it unique or authoritative.
10:27 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


Thanks Rish for the input, however that really isn't an option for me. I run a comparison site and doing that would render my site pretty pointless and I wouldn't be able to make any money from it. Plus that would be me making a site for Google, not for the people that actually use it.

I don't see why I should have to go to such lengths. There are still competitor sites ranking for my keywords with far less content on and some of it complete nonsense.

I feel like Google have a responsibility to webmasters to support us and be more transparent as they do to the user when trying to supply the best search results.

I would totally understand if I was using doorway pages or spun content or content that's used by other affiliates but I don't. My site doesn't fit into any of the categories that video on thin content goes into. (The matt Cutts video)

Someone who has no idea about this industry in the UK has decided my content isn't relevant and I find that unfair they have such power to completely shut someone down. Then offer no guidance whatsoever to give me a chance to save my business.
11:46 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:July 19, 2013
posts:1097
votes: 0


I just need Google to be more transparent in why they are penalising me...

Good luck with them bothering with that.

I don't see why I should have to go to such lengths. There are still competitor sites ranking for my keywords with far less content on and some of it complete nonsense.

Because if you're really dependent on Google for income, you have to do what works, not what you think should or wish would work -- I've read so many posts about people wanting to "stick to their guns" and "do it their way" hoping Google will "see the light" and restore/improve their rankings going totally broke over the years it's not even funny.

I feel like Google have a responsibility to webmasters to support us and be more transparent...

As far as the results go: More logic, less emotion; you'll do better in the long-run -- It would be nice if they felt some responsibility or even reverted the transparency to what it used to be when we had a number of reps posting here, but the chances are neither are going to happen.

We have our goals. Google has it's goals. When our goals don't "mesh" with Google's rankings, then we have to adjust to what works to rank in Google today rather than wishing Google would change for us if we want to make a living from Google's SERPs.
12:28 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 24, 2012
posts:648
votes: 2


Thanks Rish for the input, however that really isn't an option for me. I run a comparison site and doing that would render my site pretty pointless and I wouldn't be able to make any money from it...


Yes, what I described would basically put your site on a monetary pause for 1 to 2 weeks. If you're smart about it, you could reintroduce the comparison functionality after the reconsideration request succeeds.

Your current course, however, will probably keep it from making money for a much longer period. Is it making money now? The desperate tone of your original post makes it sound like it isn't.

I'm not suggesting that Google is right, I'm just suggesting that they hold all the cards right now. The fastest path to recovery (for a manual penalty, especially) is to give them what they want.
1:37 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 30, 2008
posts:2630
votes: 191


Plus that would be me making a site for Google, not for the people that actually use it.

I don't see why I should have to go to such lengths.

I think you got two very good responses:
More logic, less emotion; you'll do better in the long-run

and
The fastest path to recovery (for a manual penalty, especially) is to give them what they want.


With regards to this:
There are still competitor sites ranking for my keywords with far less content on and some of it complete nonsense.

In your earlier posts you said you had a two years run before you were manually penalised, and that the competitor's site was started in July which is only three months ago. If sites are so similar, it is quite likely that the competitor will be penalised too after a while - perhaps Google just have not got round to it yet.

Maybe you can learn from this too.
3:05 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Apr 26, 2012
posts:328
votes: 8


I have to agree with aakk9999, rish3, and JD. There is no such thing as "it's not fair" working to your advantage. Is it fair that competitors are still ranking and you are not? Maybe not, but that won't help you here. What will help you is what you can do to fix the situation.

You need to make it appear that you are making a concerted effort to fix whatever problem Google things you have. Once you've done that, you can move forward.
4:43 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


I do get what you're saying and yes maybe emotion is playing a part in this, but you're telling me to basically totally rebuild my site then gradually reintroduce the original content - won't that just leave me back in the same situation down the line?

I can't write 10 x 1000 word articles about these loans, there's just simply not enough to write about without them becoming bloated and a bit pointless.

How would I even present a website with 10 articles on it?
5:16 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


Ok maybe I'm looking at this wrong. I do have about 12 articles I wrote about a year ago that I can use. They're not 1000 words but are relevant and useful. I also have a repayment calculator that I could put on the site to add some functionality

Do you think that simply adding these rather than taking everything else down would help?
7:46 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 5, 2014
posts:154
votes: 0


Do you think that simply adding these rather than taking everything else down would help?


No..
7:51 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


Right, I have digested all of this information and taken a step back and looked at what I have been doing and why they keep getting rejected - I know that I need to stop dwelling on why others aren't getting penalties.

Whilst I am not in total agreement about removing all of my content and adding articles, I have now added 14 really good quality articles onto my site. I forgot that I had them as I used them on and old site. They are perfect for this site, so I have created a whole new 'Guides and Resources' area, added in the articles I already had on the site plus the 14 new ones and I hope this will be enough.

They are all between 700 and 1300 words long, I didn't realise that they were so long.

Along with some other small changes I have made (removed a couple of pages and noindexed some others), I am going to give it another go and request a review.

Thanks for all the input, it's all sparking ideas in my head and helping me through this, it's really appreciated
8:08 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 5, 2014
posts:154
votes: 0


Would appreciate it if you update after hearing from Google..
8:14 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


Of course! 6 days seems to be the reply time at the moment.
9:09 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:July 19, 2013
posts:1097
votes: 0


Hope you get it figured out -- There's a couple of good checklists to run through here: [webmasterworld.com...] (It's a bit dated on some points, but much of it has stood the test of time) and here: [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

And, of course, if all else fails, you could switch your main text font to URW Bodoni Extra Bold Extra Wide and tell them there's no way your content isn't at least twice as thick as it was when they applied the manual action because it was too thin...
9:11 am on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


Hahaha! Thanks for that
2:57 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3526
votes: 325


2 weeks ago I received a Manual Penalty from Google for 'Thin Content' on my website.
I have since had 2 reconsiderations rejected, the latest coming this morning.

Isn't it possible that one of the reasons for the rejections is that you submitted the reconsideration requests so soon after getting the penalty? In other words, maybe they think that you couldn't have done much meaningful work on the site in such a short time.

It usually takes me at least a month to write just one article if you count the time I spend on research. So if you add ten new articles so quickly, they might think that you must not have spent enough time on them to produce something worthwhile, and reject your request again for that reason.

I'm not trying to argue that Google is right here. I'm just trying to point out another aspect of the problem that you might want to take into account.
3:52 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3366
votes: 707


Everything on my site has been written by me, everything is unique 100%.


If the penalty is for "thin" content, the issue isn't whether the content is original. It's whether the content has enough intrinsic value for the reader.

It's certainly possible that Google is more skeptical about some topics than about others, and that the "value add" bar is set higher for those topics when a site has affiliate links. If that's the case in your industry, then maybe you need to make it very clear (through presentation as well as content) that you're publishing an information site, not an affiliate site, and that the site sells to exist instead of existing to sell. Why? Because first impressions matter, especially if you're at the mercy of a human reviewer who's got a long list of sites to go through between now and five o'clock.
8:18 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 13, 2005
posts: 716
votes: 0


Just to throw a word into the mix that hasn't been discussed yet: authority. Are your pages genuinely authoritative or do they effectively say what other sites say but in a different way?

Would you honestly want to read a 1000 word review about a loan?


Maybe not but I would be interested in reading 1000 words about the companies that provide them, which are regulated, which aren't, why some are better than others, which have bad reputations etc.

Comparison engines by nature are fallible IMO because they usually offer facts that are openly available...or put another way, they don't often offer unique (authoritative) info, just a unique way of presenting it.

When shopping as a user, I generally only need one comparison engine in my results to get the products/prices/options but I would love info on the retailers and their trustworthiness. Most affiliates don't give you that: they probably don't know, can only best guess or they may naively think that saying someone is bad stops them earning through the affiliate model. Either way, the user isn't being fed the whole picture.

OK ... I can sum what I am trying to say up in one sentence. Is there an area in which you consider yourself an authority (ie: a topic that people would pay to hear you speak about at a convention) and if so, why not leverage that advantage in your content?
8:32 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


Hi Simsi. I guess that's subjective. I write my articles from both my own personal experiences with these products and from my experience from working within the industry. I know what it's like being on both sides of the fence and I think that's what makes my articles useful and informative. That's unique I believe.

Great advice above to thanks for that.

One thing this has taught me is that I need to diversify and not rely on Google amymore. I've always known that but now it's really sunk in
6:30 am on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


Ok so record timing - they've rejected it again.

This is just becoming a joke now. Again they've offered me nothing tangible to work with just the generic message back.

Back to the drawing board. I think it would really help if some of you guys could see the site and offer me some help if that's ok?

I can't post the url as the mods take it down but please please PM me and I will send it over

Thanks
8:46 am on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 5, 2014
posts:154
votes: 0


I received a Manual Penalty from Google for 'Thin Content' on my website.


You need to remove/rewrite all the thin content...
8:51 am on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Nov 25, 2013
posts: 61
votes: 3


That's easy to say, but I don't believe any of the content on my site falls under the category of 'thin'? That's why I am asking for outside opinions on this
2:30 pm on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 30, 2005
posts:13010
votes: 222


We have a site review item in the subscribers level forums.
3:12 pm on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Full Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 3, 2004
posts:318
votes: 34


I work in the <very competitive financial niche> industry

I don't offer <products>, just affiliate with the actual <suplier>


You seem to be still missing the point.

1-Thin content has nothing to do with the text on your site.

2- You can change the text 100% and still have thin content.

3- Content is not Text!

You site got caught for affiliate/duplicate "content" not duplicate text. You site is an affiliate site, it is about your suppliers business and that is what makes it "thin".

If your supplier never had a website, then yours could be the official site and all would be fine.

I have many dozens of financial websites, been doing the same sort of thing as you for over 15 years, and have had many of these penalties.

The only solution is to start new and stay away from the high volume keywords that have human editors.
3:14 pm on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Aug 7, 2014
posts:31
votes: 0


Curious - what was the exact date you got your manual penalty?
This 68 message thread spans 3 pages: 68
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members