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Recovering from a Thin Content Penalty

     
10:55 am on Apr 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have recently had the "thin content" penalty and have been trying ever since to recover from it.

Does anyone have any experience with this or can point me in the direction of someone that can get the site approved?

It's an affiliate site.
12:11 pm on Apr 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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You need to improve your content

Spend a lot of time researching the subject and then add a large amount of useful helpful information to your site, especially information that none of the competing sites have..
7:13 pm on Apr 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Your best bet might be to start over. Instead of layering "thick content" onto a "thin affiliate" site, rebuild the site from the ground up as an information site that just happens to have affiliate links.

In other words, build a site that would have intrinsic value to the user even if all the affiliate links were stripped out or replaced by noncommercial links.
7:16 pm on Apr 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Did you get this via communication from the Search Console? If so, is this a partial or sitewide action, according to the communication?
9:17 pm on Apr 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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rebuild the site from the ground up as an information site that just happens to have affiliate links.

You need to have a real good knowledge of the subject first. So research and study is the first step. You can't just jump in and start building an information site without doing some serious groundwork first.
9:50 pm on Apr 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Also consider scaling back the number of pages offered to the bare minimum. As pointed out, the content has to be compelling for the end user. Converting 100 (or 1000) pages to good content is very challenging. Doing 24-30 pages is more manageable. It will also be the shortest way to finding out if the thin content penalty can be lifted, if at all.
4:55 pm on Apr 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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You need to have a real good knowledge of the subject first. So research and study is the first step. You can't just jump in and start building an information site without doing some serious groundwork first.

Absolutely. With an information site, it's always best to have a knowledge for (and, ideally, a great interest in) the subject before you start. Too many people think "I'll crank out a health site" or "I'll do a bunch of "Top 10 things to see in...." pages that they've cribbed from the same sources that everyone else with the same idea is stealing from.
9:23 pm on Apr 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I would start again and create a really good site as your main site.. but on the side create 20 more sites using spun content done right shouldn't be detectable to google bot (thats why they have manual actions in the first place) and when they are finally took down by google replace those with more sites using different content.. churn and burn easy.:)
3:10 am on Apr 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@seoguy56...

Few followups:

First, Welcome to Webmasterworld!

Second, the following:

How old is this site?
How recent was the penalty?
Is site Info or eCommerce? (no details, just generalization)
How competitive is the niche? (dozens, hundreds, thousands?

If less than a year old you have a chance. That you were caught out early is a bad signal (from g). If info you'll have to really crack the content whip to rise and shine. If eCommerce find a new line of products and be MORE SPECIFIC and better performing than the competition. If the niche is crowded ... might consider a different niche.

What it all boils down to is having a business plan, good content, and avoiding anything that looks like gaming the "system". From a presentation side sometimes simple and ugly works far better than bells and whistles. Keep in mind that mobile/responsive is a consideration. Neat, clean, content rich is what the se's like to see. However, even if all those elements are in place that does not guarantee top placement. Most times you'll need BRAND or AUTHORITY to go along with it.

Above all, thin content is exactly that. Most times your gut will tell you.
9:11 am on Apr 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I had this problem with my main affiliate site around 18 months ago. It was a real killer.

I tried everything to get out of the penalty, adding content to pages, images and generally beefing the site up. I removed pages with what I deemed to be not enough quality or low content but nothing seemed to work.

Eventually I went for a complete site overhaul, I redesigned it and added a new user interface with useful tools to find and compare products. That eventually got my penalty lifted after around 2 months, but the site never really recovered its previous rankings. I eventually ended up scrapping the site. I've been through 3 or 4 different Google penalties (bad links/pure spam/thin content) with various sites and never once have they returned to the traffic levels they were at before the penalty, I imagine because Google probably deemed it to be ranking artificially.

This is the thing with affiliate marketing, you've really got to prove why a customer should visit your site instead of going directly to the manufacturer/dealer - I see tons of affiliate sites that just scrape product descriptions and tell you nothing different to what the merchant would tell you if you went directly. That's how I always approach my affiliate sites, be different and offer something that nobody else does then you should be safe.

No penalties since thankfully