In the recent Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on 19th February 2021, Google’s John Mueller has answered some questions about best SEO practices for news sites, especially since it relates to uploading short articles.
According to Mueller, news websites need not worry too much about the length of their articles as sometimes short content is better for a given search query.
During the latest Google Search Central SEO hangout, Mueller answered a question put forward by an SEO practitioner who manages a news website. She wanted to know the risks of having shorter articles regarded as thin content.
Further adding to her statement, she said that she is even thinking about noindex-ing the shorter articles, which can be as short as a paragraph in length, in case this will help her website in search rankings.
Now, these concerns are valid since Google is known to devaluate thin content.
Moreover, Google’s Panda update is designed to minimize the prevalence of low-quality thin content in the SERPs.
So now the actual question is – what should the SEO do? Should she noindex the shorter articles on her news website so that Google does not see the thin content?
Let’s see what Google’s John Mueller recommends.
Since this relates to placing a noindex tag on the shorter articles, Mueller says that it depends on whether the website owner wants to index these pages or not; it’s their place to decide.
However, Mueller thinks that a noindex is not needed here simply because the articles are short as, at times, even the smaller ones can be sufficient.
In his statement, Mueller said that if you do not want those articles to show up in the search results, you can use a noindex tag, but he thinks no-indexing an article is not required just because it is a small news article.
Further, he said that he would not be so much concerned with the article’s length but instead would focus on whether or not he wants to index it.
To this, the SEO responded that she wants her articles indexed in the search results, but she is concerned about sending out any negative signals to the search engine with thin content.
In an attempt to encourage her, Mueller further adds that Google does not care about the article’s length for web search. However, he is unaware if there is any policy around Google News. Since the SEO particularly mentioned that this is about articles on a news site, Mueller said that he roughly remembers a few mistakes Google had in Search Console, way in the beginning where it would display that this news article is too long or too short. Perhaps that is something that plays a part there regarding news content writing. He said that if that’s the case, then you can use the Googlebot news metatag to block the short articles from Google News explicitly but keep it showing in search results.
Wrapping It Up
Short articles are not automatically seen as thin content. Moreover, Google doesn’t evaluate the content’s value on the basis of its length only.
Long articles also bear an equal risk of being regarded as thin content if they are loaded with spam, offer little to no value, or do not provide anything unique to the web.
Duplicated content or content scraped from different sources without any new information added are other sorts of thin content.
With all this in mind, shorter articles can undoubtedly offer value if it provides anything new and useful to the web, like a breaking news update that other websites do not have.
To summarize, short content can be great too if it answers a given search query appropriately because Google aims to present the best search results to the users for every query, not the longest.
Hariom Balhara is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles for E Global Soft Solutions. E Global Soft Solutions is a Digital Marketing, SEO, SMO, PPC and Web Development company that comes with massive experiences. We specialize in digital marketing, Web Designing and development, graphic design, and a lot more.