The future is here, and it’s face is the internet. Already, the Internet is the number one hub for data and information. There are literally billions of web pages out there, every one vying for people’s attention.
So how do you stay relevant in this age of digital information? How do you get people to notice you? The best method is to maintain a multifaceted approach to your web presence. But a big part of that approach revolves around your content.
In fact, it’s been stated before, and quite fairly, that content is king.
In this article, we are going to discuss thin content and “thick” content. A large number of small businesses and entrepreneurs tend to produce thin content. And that’s very unfortunate. What is thin content, and why is it unfortunate? Simply put, thin content is information on a platform that provides little to no usefulness to the reader.
So why is thin content bad for your company?
There are two main reasons as to why thin content can be damaging to your business. First, thin content will never retain more customers. People who come to a web page are there because they want something. They might be searching for a product. They might be searching for a guide. Perhaps they’re just looking for some fun. But regardless of the reason they came, they want something substantial for the trouble they took to visit your site.
The second issue that thin content produces has to do with Googles search algorithms. After Google established the 2011 Panda update, Google has begun to recognize sites with low or thin content and have started to lower their rankings in attempt to eliminate poor content. This means that not only does thin content make it harder to retain potential customers on your site, it also makes it harder for them to see your site to begin with.
Thin Content is Tempting to Content Producers
Now, it should be noted that the defining factor for thin content is not how many words there are. The number of words in a page or article may factor into algorithms, but not as thin content. The defining factor in thin content is actually depth.
If you’ve been searching for things online for as many years as I have, you’ve probably run across some examples. Here are a few examples of articles I’ve read in the past that I’d consider thin content.
- An article about “How to Care for Your Rose Bushes” that went on and on about the different types of roses that a company sold, but never provided any actual useful information on growing rose bushes
- A blog post titled “The Best 6 Kayaks of 2017” that listed 6 kayaks all from the same company without ever comparing other brands, features, or what made those particular kayaks “the best”
- An article titled “The Beginner’s Guide to Composting” that had almost no information about composting except to explain the different types of compost bins that a particular company sold.
Now, two of the articles mentioned above ran well beyond 1,000 words. But they didn’t actually provide any value to the reader. They were only long, promotional pieces trying to convince the reader to buy a particular product line.
The above examples also illustrate why thin content tempts marketers and content producers. Content on your site exists to drive more customers through your sales funnel, right? So shouldn’t your content promote your products?
The best answer here is actually, “Not necessarily.” And I’ll explain in a moment.
Promotional Vs. Informative Articles
There are two types of articles you can write in your news or blog area. I classify them as promotional and educational.
Promotional articles promote a product or service you offer. They provide customers information about your product or service. And they inform your customers why you believe your product is better than anyone else’s. Their chief goal is to sell a product or service.
Educational articles, on the other hand, provide information that your customer probably wants. These articles could provide directions for using products like yours. They might talk about things related to the product or service you provide. But ultimately, their chief goal is to educate, not to sell.
Educational articles exist to establish your authority. They showcase your knowledge about the product or service you provide. This helps to build trust in your readers, who need to see you as an expert before they can make the decision to buy from you.
Now the problem comes when people try to write educational articles as promotional articles. Or more specifically, they write a promotion and give it an educational article name. The thin content results from the goals set at the beginning of the article. Because your goal initially is to promote your product, you end up doing more product promotion and not providing the useful information your customer wants to see.
Thick Content: Your Second and Better Option
So what is thick content and why is it important to me?
As you can imagine, thick content is a wealth of quality content that serves to address to provide relevant, in-depth, and clear information that can be observed by the audience.
Using the examples from earlier, imagine that the articles I read before were just a little different. For example:
- An article about rose care that actually talked about how to take care of rose bushes
- A blog post about the top 6 Kayaks of 2017 based on specific criteria with clear pros and cons and including kayaks from more than one company, possibly even a separate top 3 for recreational, touring, and fishing kayaks
- An article about beginning composting that detailed how to make a simple compost bin, what to put in a compost pile, and how to maintain a compost pile.
As the person searching for the information, I know these articles would provide me with the information I was looking for. My experience with the articles would’ve been better. Furthermore, if other articles on the site were equally compelling I would definitely take note of the site name.
Here is a short list of just a few positives that creating thick content can have for you and your company:
- Thick Content improves your SEO rankings
- It can create customer conversions on your site
- It can increase the size of your developed audience
- High quality and relevant content has a high chance of being shared by word of mouth
- High quality and relevant content is frequently shared on social media sites
- It can organically direct traffic to other pages within your site
Make Your Content Thick
As you can imagine, the thick content goes over much better for businesses. People see them as experts because they establish themselves through educational articles. They want to buy their products because their promotional articles contain clear, verifiable information about the product or service offered. Thick content wins in the world of search engines. It wins in the world of customers. And that means it basically just wins.