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How should forums handle 'thin content' and 'domain level penalty'?

TheBigK

Well-known member
#1
As many of you know, I've been researching the cause of traffic drop on our website. While reading the Google Webmaster Forums and several blogs, I found out that Google's punishing websites with 'thin content'. Some of the SEO experts have even mentioned that if your website has few pages of thin content (which do not offer any valuable information to the users), then Google will lower the ranking of your entire domain!

I think that's STUPID!

Just wondering how do seasoned webmasters here handle this? Have you been lowered in rankings as well? How did you recover? How did you handle the thin content issue?

Too many questions, but that's what going on in my mind right now.
 

CyclingTribe

Well-known member
#2
I'm not sure it's actually possible to dictate the thickness of content on a forum is it? Aside from having closed registrations and being very heavy handed with your membership.

The nature of many forums is that they have short, sharp snippets of content as people chat - and other than deeply techincal forums - not much depth to the threads/posts.

It'll be interesting to see how different people approach this and whether it's a variable people have managed to tailor?
 

TheBigK

Well-known member
#3
Google's making several webmasters dance to their tunes. You can't be sure that your ranking will be the same tomorrow as it is today. What I've been reading is that even if there are pages with thin content (member profiles, Chit-Chat sections, Introductions etc.) then your entire domain will be ranked lower. That means even the best of your articles won't get the rank it deserves (because it's surrounded by the 'thin content').
 

CyclingTribe

Well-known member
#4
Google's making several webmasters dance to their tunes. You can't be sure that your ranking will be the same tomorrow as it is today. What I've been reading is that even if there are pages with thin content (member profiles, Chit-Chat sections, Introductions etc.) then your entire domain will be ranked lower. That means even the best of your articles won't get the rank it deserves (because it's surrounded by the 'thin content').
Ah, okay, I see. So get busy with exclusions in robots.txt and limit a "forums" site indexable content to just threads?
 

Mouth

Well-known member
#9
As many of you know, I've been researching the cause of traffic drop on our website. While reading the Google Webmaster Forums and several blogs, I found out that Google's punishing websites with 'thin content'. Some of the SEO experts have even mentioned that if your website has few pages of thin content (which do not offer any valuable information to the users), then Google will lower the ranking of your entire domain!
I doubt the big G is as simple as that. It knows you are a board and will apply weighting appropriately.

Slap me if I've come in late and am asking the obvious, but have you checked the G-bot spidering from raw webserver logs - is it visting often enough? Is it hanging around and doing all your new content since last visit? Do you have multiple domains pointing to the same content and g-bot is weighting down heavily as a result? Unless you've done something against G's T&C's, I most often find bad SEO is due to g-bot restrictions or poor content spidering.
 
#12
Interesting, not exactly related but on the topic I recently got an Email through my domain register email requesting that I remove a link to a business site, because this company was trying to comply with goggles guidelines.

I have seen some pretty vile URL's that show to be linking to me on my stats yet have not been able to actually see a link to me when I visited the site. I have wondered if this would affect my ranking.
 

Carlos

Well-known member
#13
I do not understand what this is complaining about. I've seen forums with "thin" content, and they've still prosper.

A lot of Call of Duty forums on the internet have them. I try to differentiate my CODForums from the competition by creating my own posts (long posts).
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
#14
I don't think it's news that sites with "thin" / "not that good" content will get less google love.
Forums have to ensure they have data structures which promote communities to create good content.

Surely a few thin threads will only bring a small penalty. I am sure that is easily offset by adding lots of good content.