Are There Stubs on Your Website?

Sometimes you are in the process of building a website, or making updates to your website, and you end up with stubs.

If you have clickable navigation tabs with drop-down menus, you might have stubs on the pages those tabs link to. Someone might have removed the content from obsolete pages but left the stubs live. You might have pages that say, “Coming soon!” Your website might generate automatic product pages or have example pages that you haven’t used. There are plenty of reasons to end up with stubs on your website.

Stubs, when you’re talking about websites, are pages which have no content or minimal content. The screenshot below is a new page at our lab site. It has navigation, a title, and nothing else. It is a stub.

Obviously, this doesn’t provide a good experience for our visitors.

Now, this page probably doesn’t have any visitors to speak of. It’s not in our main navigation, there’s nothing here for Google to send searchers to, and it was only live long enough for me to take a screenshot for this post.

It’s not a problem.

When stubs become a problem

We’ve recently seen websites with stubs in the main navigation, indexed, and hanging around for weeks. Or years. That’s a problem.

  • Stubs create a bad user experience. An empty page is not a good experience for your visitors. A page with just a sentence or two is frustrating, since it doesn’t provide the information your visitors need. And someone exploring your website by clicking through the navigation tabs will not enjoy being dumped on empty pages.
  • Stubs are perceived by Google as duplicate content. This is one of those things that is obvious once you think about it — but you might not think of it. Having a bunch of pages with the same content as many other stubs on the web (including “Coming soon!”) makes your site look as though it has lots of duplicate content.
  • Stubs are thin content. Even if your users don’t see them and there is enough content on your stubs that they don’t look like duplicate content to the search engines, they are still thin content. Google doesn’t like to see pages on your website with very little content. Thin content is a reason for Google not to show your website to searchers.

Stubs are a serious SEO mistake.

How to fix stubs

You can find discussions of various tech solutions to stubs if you search online. You can go in and no-index all the stubs on your website, or create redirects with regular expressions.

Forget that. You need to do one of two things for stubs on your website:

  • Write great content for those pages.
  • Delete those pages.

Either of these options will solve the problem. Nothing else will.

If you need help, feel free to reach out to us. We’ll be happy to help.

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