As a Web Strategist we get this question fairly often from existing clients and prospectives interested in better natural rankings. My answer is not too exciting – When writing content for your site there needs to be a balance between serving the interests of your visitors as well as the needs of search engines. Visitors Content for your visitors needs to be interesting and unique. The question you have to ask – “Is this something I would want to read?” By far the good majority of content I come across on real estate websites is canned or even worse, copied directly from Wikipedia or local chambers of commerce. This approach is bad. Search engines penalize duplicate content, and a lackadaisical approach offers nothing new to visitors on your site. Another one of my favorite questions is, “What Do I Write About?” If your site is a real estate website it would make sense to discuss the market and area you serve. It doesn’t have to be a history lesson on your city, but a home buyer needs to be sold and given a reason to buy in your market. What types of opportunities does your city offer? Great schools, recreation, medical centers, a growing job market, all possible reasons why someone would want to move. What types of homes are available? Are there new developments or neighborhoods under construction? Again, your site needs to offer content that keeps a visitor interested and reading, but more importantly offers a different perspective then the other sites out there. Sure, your site may have some of the same information as others, but how are you presenting it? Is there a personality and genuine perspective? A visitor will keep coming back if there is something there worth reading. Here is a great blog post from Grace Magazine about learning to write well and with a voice. Search Engines The next questions you have to ask is are you serving the needs of search engines? The point has been made content needs to be unique, but how are you presenting your content to search engines? Content buried in your site is going to have a much harder time getting indexed. This is why it is important to have links to content pages on the home page. It makes it easier for spiders to find them. So clearly content on your home page is key, but it is important to think about the content on your homepage as an introduction to the information on your site. It needs to be more than just “Welcome,” but actually reinforces what your site is about. Including relevant keywords about the area and types of properties you serve are essential. Reinforcing these terms with links to pages on these topics signals to search engines what is important and worth indexing. This strategy of including search terms or phrases is paramount to the whole idea of content. Your content pages need to include these terms as well. Again, it goes back to signaling to search engines what is important. Going so far as to make these terms stand out in your content whether by bolding or offsetting is not a bad strategy. It makes the content more interesting to view from a visitor perspective and again reinforces the term to search engines. The last thing you want to do is taking things too far with repetition. Each page should be dedicated to a specific term, but every other word should not be a keyword. Search engines are smart and will notice spam. It all goes back to balance. I’ll leave you with this thought. Writing content takes work, but having it on your site is an investment both for search engines and visitors. Give visitors something they want to read, but more importantly give search engines a reason to index the page.