Personal SEO ~ Website Marketing and Content Writing: Why Some Websites or Pages Rank Well With No Content

Why Some Websites or Pages Rank Well With No Content

I'll be honest, this drives me nuts! When I research a community or area and find the first 10 spots on Google with NO CONTENT! What? Doesn't this break all the laws of SEO? Well, yes and no. There are about 200 factors when it comes to SEO rules and ranking factors so no content on a page is just one of those, albeit an important one. 

But why do these pages rank?

And it could be any site too,, Market Leader, Real Geeks, Wordpress, etc... That may not be the deciding factor at all. So what it is?

Well, it's a variety of things. For one, sites like this:* may not have a lot of content in the form of text but it does have content. Each listing can be content, the menu, the text, the footer and then if there are any comments on it, those counts as well. But what if there is nothing but one listing? That certainly can't be enough to rank?

Well, there are other factors at work here:

  • Heavy and high quality links to this page or the homepage
  • Little to no competition so the page has to rank
  • A well-established site that has been registered for years
  • Excellent SEO on the other pages
  • A new page that hasn't been properly indexed yet
  • Fast loading time compared to competitive sites
  • Property URL structure
  • Optimized metadata - Title and description

Ideally, a great page on a community or topic should look like this:

Great information, calls to actions, internal and external links and listings (if it's a real estate page). And then you should make sure the URL is correct, the metadata is well done and you are linking to it on a regular basis. Again, pages like this SHOULD rank... ha ha.. but who knows what the Google gods will actually do. I DO know how infuriating it can be to have a killer page only to have a low-quality, thin page outrank it. I get it.. that's what we do on a daily basis. 


But you never know if that one light page has a major backlink to the main URL from a super high-quality site. That one link can be as heavy as 100 mediocre links. How'd they get it? They may have paid for it through a newspaper or something or got extremely lucky on a press release and got another article to link to them. Who knows! Maybe they were just the first to write about that community! This actually happens a lot which is why YOU should be the first to be the authority for a community. We have several great pages ranked well simply because we were the first out there. Think about it... we're not regurgitating something someone has already written about. WE are the first authority. That's powerful in Google, which means you shouldn't wait to write about a new community. YOU BE THE FIRST.

Again, there are about 200 SEO ranking factors and as much as we scream that high-quality content is king, it's not the only ranking factor. Keep at it, keep linking to it, and before you know it, YOU may be the #1 in your field.


*We are currently working on this site and beefing up all the content


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Tim and Tammy Emineth have owned Personal SEO since 2004. We focus on SEO first whether it's blogging, images, website design, IDX solutions and calls to action. We operate with a Storybrand philosophy to encourage more traffic to your site, more eyes on your content and more leads to your business. Call us or email us for a free website audit.

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Comment balloon 33 commentsTammy Emineth • January 02 2019 09:34PM


you know that age of site/url is one thing I have in my favor... I've had a site for more than 20 years.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 2 years ago

I have always wondered how "thin" pages rank.  I have a better idea now. Thank you.

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Realty) about 2 years ago

There's a local agent whose sites are basically www.listings(insert city).com.  It's strictly IDX listings categorized over and over.  No substance, nothing visible, but it obviously works for him.  I'm on the other end of the spectrum with my IDX pages, trying to provide all the pertinent info for the subdivision I cover.  Some rank well, others....well they're out there somewhere, just not on page 1.  Bill

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 about 2 years ago

Absolutely! Good tips/points.  

Posted by Cynthia "Cyndi" Cook, Residential Real Estate Sales and Vacation Rentals (Keller Williams Realty Alabama Gulf Coast) about 2 years ago

I'm glad you highlight the importance of inbound links (backlinks).

You can write all the content you want, but without links, you won't rank.

I'm yet to see a website rank for any competitive terms without backlinks.

Posted by Dario Ferreira, Internet Marketing about 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing and making me feel increasingly stupid.  Let’s chat.

Posted by Peter Mohylsky. Beach Expert, THE BEACH IS OPEN (PrimeSouth Properties) about 2 years ago

Thanks for broaching this subject.  I agree.  Totally mystifying to see a thin content page reach the top of the SER.  Good reasons you outline why this can be so.  I think the url is super important and your example is long tail, correct?  I wish I could go back and redo my index pages but this is not possible.  Keep em coming Tammy.

Posted by John Henry, Florida Architect, Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design (John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc.) about 2 years ago

Page one is tough these days with the gorillas on page one.

Posted by Steven Nickens, R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii (Wailea Realty) about 2 years ago

This feels like coding or mapping mixed in with some words. It’s all really interesting to me that it can work that well.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 2 years ago

Interesting information about how a page with little content can rank well. Thank you.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) about 2 years ago

I have had my site since the late 90's and was the first to write about many communities and as a result, those pages do have staying power. Much more so than consistently ranking for "Homes for Sale in Summerville" (Which we do work hard at as well.)

Posted by Foster Smith Summerville, Summerville & Charleston Homes for Sale SC Realtor (Carolina One Real Estate) about 2 years ago

I often wonder that myself. You give some great thoughts and action plans

Posted by Mike Baltierra, Full Service at Your Service Realtor-Eastvale CA (Rise Realty ) about 2 years ago

Good morning Tammy Emineth ,

Thank you for all the good information you make so much sense. I've had my websites in existence since the late 1990's which certainly help..although they've been through many changes they are the same sites. You are a fountain of information and it's of great value!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899) about 2 years ago

Good informatin here. There are a ton of reasons why one page ranks better than the other and only Google knows exactly why


Posted by Ben DeHaven, Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida (Haven Realty & Investments) about 2 years ago

Thanks for some clear information and a call to action for us to get writting about our local communities.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) about 2 years ago

Good morning Tammy - thanks for the updates.  I know it is always changing.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) about 2 years ago

That's very interesting how something can rank without any content sometimes.  SEO is a powerful tool.  

Posted by Kevin Mackessy, Dedicated. Qualified. Local. (Blue Olive Properties, LLC) about 2 years ago

Great info... I need to get more aquainted with metatags, etc... 

Posted by Macy Babb ... North Georgia Realtor, Realtor, SFR, HUD/REO Certified (Re/Max Around Atlanta Realtor - 404-234-6166) about 2 years ago

You'll have your work cut out for you as GTMetrix rates this site F across the board. [Source ]

Posted by Jane & Jeff Daley, PhD, Scottsdale Real Estate Arizona (Luxury Valley Homes Scottsdale) about 2 years ago

Just delved into SEO so I will absorb your info...well worth a re-blog Tammy Emineth I know how painful it is to write 6 or 7 pages 800-1100 words.  My SEo guy sent me google analytics with no explanation for this newbie.   He says ( Page Authority ) score is 21 and DA ( Domain Authority ) score is 19  my domain is 3 years young.


Posted by Eileen Burns, FL Probate Agent, Hotel & Land Specialist (Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach) about 2 years ago

Good to know information! Thanks for sharing this!

Posted by Elisa Uribe Realtor #01427070, Opening the Doors to California Homes -East Bay (Golden Gate Sotheby's International) about 2 years ago

Haha. I see what you did there Tammy. Nice article and especially nice headline! Good luck with your SEO biz ;)

Posted by Santa Monica Real Estate Agent, Top Realtors in Santa Monica (Santa Monica Real Estate Agent) about 2 years ago

By doing keyword research, competitive analysis, writing quality evergreen content, and learning SEO, my website has gained many backlinks from government, universities, newspapers, magazines, law firms, businesses, blogs and other high Domain Authority (DA) websites.

I beat the local online competition and compete with big companies. I outrank big companies on many long-tail keywords, often with no competition.

The big players have many backlinks for high rank, and maybe thin content, but you may be able to outflank them by finding long-tail keyword niches.

Posted by Jerry Lucas, Mobile Notary Colorado Springs, CO Notary Training (ABC Legal Docs LLC) about 2 years ago

Tammy-I tried to understand your article, but I should have known that someone who wears a knit cap is going to go way beyond my understanding! Thanks for trying.

Posted by Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS (Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate) about 2 years ago

Thank you for this.  Glad I'm not the only one that things that some pages shouldn't show up for the content!  

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) about 2 years ago

Online or Offline, its all challenging and time consuming. Ranking to be found can be tougher than finding the right someone to approach. 

Posted by Ron Aguilar, Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995 (Continental Mortgage) about 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing this interesting info Tammy Emineth It still makes no sense to me, and I trust I'm not alone! ;-)

Posted by Greg Mona, Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU! (eXp Realty) about 2 years ago

I do not rely on seo or web page placement to drive any of my thought process.  I used to...but to be honest...for my business...the best marketing success I have is US Mail postcards, good old fashioned brochures, and face to face. Plus one website: Facebook. And not the ads on facebook...but the communicating with people I know on facebook.  

I am not saying it is right or will work for anyone else...but it works for me and more clients. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) about 2 years ago

I haven't really thought about this topic. It's not my competition if the site doesn't have much info. But I enjoyed the content.

Posted by Julie A. Black, CLHMS, CRS, GRI, Realtor, Broker (KAUAI DREAMS REALTY Kauai Real Property Specialist) about 2 years ago

Lots of good education here and clearly I have a lot more to learn. But I suspect some of this keeps changing and only Google really knows!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) about 2 years ago

Thanks for being so specific with the examples--it helps to explain your points!

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) about 2 years ago

Tammy my site has been up and running for years. If I had new better I would have used different url's instead of my name. Would you change anything to get better SEO?

Posted by Steven Nickens, R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii (Wailea Realty) about 2 years ago

 Tammy your posts never grow old -I learn from every one of them 

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376 (HomeStarr Realty) 11 months ago

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