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4% thin content pages, What is the Panda risk?

     
8:05 pm on Mar 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Section "X" of our website has thin content. It has about 4000 pages (4% of all pages). The other 96,000 pages (96%) are normal.

We were probably not hit by the Panda update and the site is doing OK.

Organic traffic to section X is slightly decreasing, but it could have many factors, including freshness, etc... This section "X" is not really important but has good ad conversion rates, so we kept it.

1. Is the overall website at risk by having 4% thin content pages?

2. If we decide to cancel section "X" and redirect 301 its pages to existing pages and move the content, is there a way to rank for the old keywords as well?

Thanks
11:13 pm on Mar 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My first question would be, what's your definition of "thin" content?
6:50 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My first question would be, what's your definition of "thin" content?


Unique content, unique title, BUT only around 100 words. Bounce Rate is around 35% because there is a call to action to refine the search or load more content.
7:20 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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4000 pages of about 100 words - that is risky

Will it affect you much, probably not if 96,000 pages are superior.
7:46 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@fathom What would you do? There is no indication that these pages were hit so far. But I'd like to think ahead.
8:03 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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You have numerous options.

1. Upgrading 1 to 4000 pages (over time) to be more like 400 words or more.

2. Re-direct expired domains to key places within that 4000 pile. Note: "thin" is a vague reference. How Google determines thin starts with "no links". If link juice is added to a 100-word page it can appear as a popular page thus word count is rather meaningless to PANDA since no one links to "thin". This is a short-term solution and not something you want to be around permanently.

3. Reducing the total of thin. Page Deletion.

4. A combination of all the above.
8:22 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks. I actually did the opposite: I removed all internal links to those pages and tried to gradually move content to the main sectors of the website. But somehow these "thin" and old pages don't disappear from the SERP. The rank well and bring traffic.

Upgrading pages for SEO is an option, but it would have almost no value to the user so we don't want to do it.
8:26 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@fathom Don't you think that upgrading those old pages may even have a counter-effect, as in telling Google that these pages are relevant and fresh. Somehow it feels as if Google understands that these are old pages and "leaves" them alone.

Refreshing them may make them vulnerable?
8:34 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In the great scheme of things I think you are over thinking this.

In a 100,000 page website 4000 is rather small so while 1 or 2 sentences on 4000 page might seem bad or risky I wouldn't think they would matter too much.

What percent of traffic do these pages represent?
8:44 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In terms of sessions: around 1%

(mostly keywords that are less searched)
8:57 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Not worth the effort IMHO.

Minimal risk of being impacted by PANDA.
9:00 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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So let's say I redirect with 301. Here is the situation.

Section Y, which includes normal pages is about "latin word origins" and has a lot of traffic and competition.

The problematic section X mentioned earlier has 4000 pages and is about "phonetics in latin". It is thin but working well. Keywords are obviously less popular.

We could move all content about phonetics (which is thin) to the "latin origin" pages but I think we will loose all the traffic about phonetics, wouldn't we?

In addition, if I change the keywords or title of the Section "Y" (with the "latin origin"), I risk loosing traffic there too, don't I?
9:01 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Not worth the effort


Effort of moving them or leaving them?
9:18 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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You don't have a thin website.

If the bulk of your domain was like those 4000 pages you would need to deal with this immediately.

But I wouldn't do make-work project based on the minuscule threat of PANDA.
9:26 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If I do some changes by batch, like changing template and updating the menu navigation to make it look more modern, do you think that could have a negative impact?
9:33 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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You will never likely have a problem with PANDA and so long as you don't change the urls themselves you won't likely have any negative issues.
9:56 am on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks a lot!
 

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