There is a LOT of content on the web. More than most of us can ever conceive.
And the vast majority of it is rubbish. It’s thin content – full of promise but light on substance.
Google’s algorithms trawl and catalogue this content all day, every day. But they’re essentially machines – they don’t get bored and they have all the time in the world. The machine reads everything, from beginning to end.
Your readers are NOT like those algorithms.
They’re impatient, time-poor and weary of thin content. They want content that adds value – a solution to their problem, or an answer to their question.
Readers are looking for content that expresses expertise, authority and trust. They are looking for depth of ideas, concepts and information.
Likewise, Google is searching for the same depth of ideas as it wants to please its customers (your readers) with a solution for their search.
So, Google invented a set of guidelines that are used to measure whether writing is from a trusted expert who has authority to write on that topic. It’s called Google E-A-T. (Expertise – Authority – Trust)
Google EAT searches, finds and kills thin content.
What Is Thin Content?
Thin Content is content that has no value.
It lacks quality and resolves nothing for the reader. Most of it isn’t remotely relevant to the user’s intent, or what initially brought them to the particular page.
With thousands of $10-a-page copywriters available and content strategies that lack a long-term focus, thin content is one of the largest epidemics in modern digital marketing.
No one wants to read a generic, non-specific, vaguely written article. Instead, readers prefer articles that convey a sense of expertise on the topic, authority to teach and that eventually engender trust with the reader.
Publishing thin content on a website can quickly damage a brand’s reputation and perceived value. It can also destroy any possibility of engagement and stop readers from taking any profitable action.
Writing with Depth Starts with a Good Outline & Ideas
Watch the below screencast to learn how it’s possible to use good ideas, restructure your content, and end up with depth.
How to Fix Thin Content
In this example, you’ll learn how Kabue had initially written a single line, then was able to easily expand into more interesting, deeper ideas.
How to Avoid Writing Thin Content
In this example the writer provided a sample article as a job application. Clearly, she can write quite well. But, her idea and therefore her content, are thin.
How Outlines Affect Topic Depth
The below screencast shows how easy it can be to end up writing generic content, especially if you don’t pay attention to the idea of creating an outline before you start writing.
The point is that the writer has written generically (thin content) on the topic of cleaning equipment. The writer hasn’t gone into depth on the topic and therefore adds very little value to the reader’s understanding, problems and solutions.
Write an outline first to ensure you thought deeply enough on the subject to write with some depth.
Google E-A-T. It’s Harder, and Easier, Than You Think
I often see articles from good writers. They know how to write. But, they struggle to understand what is meant by going into depth on a topic.
In the below screencast, you’ll see feedback given to a recent writing applicant. It’s such a great example to learn from. Omer did as I asked. He wrote more for one of his sub-headings.
But he really just added more words to the page. He just typed more text. It didn’t actually tell me, as the reader, anything that illustrated expertise, authority or trust.
In the below video, we can see that the writer has not thought deeply about the article title. Neither have they broken down the theme and topic, nor thought about what their audience wants to learn. We end up with an article that isn’t on-topic, has thin content throughout and is unpublishable. The writer must rewrite it.
Regurgitating Numbers Isn’t the Same As Adding Depth
In the below screencast you’ll see that the writer has certainly added some numbers to their text. But ultimately the numbers mean nothing to reader without more context.