Five Common IDX SEO Myths

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with IDX, LLC.

The term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) means different things to different people. While there's not enough time in this blog post to explain every SEO technique available to REALTORS, there is enough space to dispel some common myths! 

SEO vs. PPC

Before getting into the details of each myth, let's talk first about what SEO is, and is not. First off, SEO is not the same as PPC (Pay Per Click). The goal of Best Practices SEO is to spend AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE to maximize ORGANIC traffic from search engines such as Google and Bing. Basically, it's about getting more bang for your buck.

Integrated vs. Framed

Let's also clarify which TYPE of IDX feed we're talking about here. We're NOT talking about framed IDX. Yuck. Framed IDX is the kind provided by various cookie-cutter website solutions. Ironically, it's also provided by vendors that may charge much more than what you may pay for an integrated IDX solution. 

As more real estate buyers migrate to the internet, the trend is to move away from frameable IDX solutions. These solutions simply aren't competitive enough for top performing real estate Agents and Brokers. Why? Because Search Engines don't index iframed content as if it is yours. You get zero credit for the content, and in fact, you may be passing any site credit (PageRank specifically) you've amassed to a 3rd party vendor server! Ouch.

 

You can do better. 

Integrated IDX can help you compete, AND it can help bring more buyers back to your website. The SEO benefits of IDX integration are immense. It simply requires some commitment (vs. IDX vendor swapping), and more knowledge about what it takes to leverage the IDX content and tools available to you. 

Now that you know the difference between indexable, SEO-friendly integrated IDX and framed IDX, let's review those SEO myths:

  • Myth #1: Duplicate content hurts you. If you display the same IDX listings that somebody else displays, but with different unique content such as neighborhood information (with IDX results), your header content, Agent Bio pages, etc., you are NOT going to be penalized by search engines. Ask anyone who attends PubCon.
  • Myth #2: Page URL is more important than Title tags. Title tags are CRITICAL and belong on every one of your results and details pages. Most people spend too much time trying to optimize details or results page URLs, and not enough time fine-tuning their Title tags. 
  • Myth #3: Indexing Everything on your Root Domain is good for Business. Not if you're without integrated lead capture, your search form and results reside in an iFrame, or you cannot customize the user experience and lead capture rules to deliver high quality leads through your IDX solution. 
  • Myth #4: Custom Subdomains are Bad for Business.  Some people use home.mysite.com or search.mysite.com as their subdomain. No matter what you choose, know that subdomains have been around a long time and are not going away. Search Engines know this. If you want to know how your current IDX solution is doing as far as # of pages indexed, simply type "site:http://www.mydomain.com". If you have a custom subdomain, ALL OF YOUR SUBDOMAIN pages will display in the Google results. How can that be bad for business?
  • Myth #5: It's Important to Focus on the Indexability of Property Detail Page URLs. Do buyers search for the address as often as sellers do? Some do, sure, but most? Meh. Buyers use RESULTS-focused keywords. If you want more buyers, and pages that drive buyers to your website, then YOU NEED TO build out custom neighborhood and other category links, and get those indexed. Even better…run a PPC campaign and direct traffic to those results links! Do you want to know what Custom Links can do for your site, especially if you have PPC campaigns? Check out this thread on Facebook. Results may vary of course, and are often based on your commitment to a true IDX integration!

 If you're interested in learning more about Integrated IDX, SEO functionality, we encourage you to contact us today!

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Re-Bloggged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Bob Caldwell 03/16/2012 09:35 AM
  2. Gabe Sanders 05/20/2013 03:51 AM
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Topic:
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SEO for Realtors
Real Estate SEO
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Rainer
81,769
John Manuwal
Woodinville Washington Photographer
The Force Realty

Good information. I am making my site right now and I will try and use what you listed. Thanks!

March 15, 2012 05:04 PM
Rainmaker
739,254
Jon Kolsky
REALTOR® Long Beach, CA
Kolsky Group/Spellens Realty

I like it, thanks for the hot tips

March 15, 2012 05:24 PM
Rainer
239,373
Justin Dibbs
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale
United Real Estate

Thaks for the tips.  I'm trying to decide between IDX Broker and another vendor for my site right now.  It's nice to know you guys hang around and contribute helpful tips.

March 16, 2012 06:45 AM
Rainmaker
304,245
Inna Ivchenko
Los Angeles / Valley Homes
Mannis Real Estate Group

Great info!

Worth passing on.

Shared on Linked In and Twitter!

p.s. i'd like to know more details about duplicate content. I was told not to copy, no, no!~ but i see that majority does. It is not that i'm a fan of doing so, but as in your example with listings, there is not that much you can change.

Thanks!

March 16, 2012 09:56 AM
Rainmaker
570,044
Bill Gillhespy
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos
16 Sunview Blvd

Hi IDX,  Very well written and explained.  AR is a better place when the vendors contribute helpful info !

March 16, 2012 10:14 AM
Rainer
40,735
IDX Broker
IDX, LLC.
IDX, LLC.

Glad it was helpful!

Not to get off-topic here, but I really enjoyed this article from the SEO MOZ blog. There's a lot to be said for focusing on custom links, adding those links to your home page (links on the home page are typically found more quickly by the search bots), and then leveraging Google's Venice update to test results for various cities. You should discover that in time those custom links, with unique content in the sub header, will deliver far more leads than what you would get by focusing on details pages. 

I should have been slightly clearer with #1 - it's not about copying content from other listings, it's that the listing details are typically the same across all IDX feeds. So as you said; there's no way around it. The MLSs prohibit modification of listing data. 

This means that your point of leverage becomes those custom link pages. Those custom link descriptions CAN be modified, ahead of any MLS/IDX feed provided content.  -Luke

March 16, 2012 01:39 PM
Rainmaker
685,757
Cindy Edwards
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677
RE/MAX Checkmate

Well there is some really great information here.  I'm still a little confused, but it's becoming clerer.  I just keep reading and learning.

March 16, 2012 02:48 PM
Rainer
26,221
Ralph Post
Melbourne
Post Real Estate Group

Thanks for the information, There is so much to learn about sites and seo..

March 28, 2012 02:07 AM
Rainer
75,425
Ciara Brennan
Mass Homes Realty

Do you provide an IDX sitemap?

March 28, 2012 04:20 AM
Ambassador
1,637,838
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001

I may need further clarification from you

I have you IDX on my site www.ReallyNiceHomes.com and I have been with you over 2 years. . 

and I installed a subdomain for IDX searches to point to my webiste

but when I google   "site:http://www.ReallyNicehomes.com"

I'm not getting the IDX indexed back to my site. .

Can you help me?


March 28, 2012 05:56 AM
Rainer
40,735
IDX Broker
IDX, LLC.
IDX, LLC.

Ciara - Yes, the sitemap is available as a dynamically generated link. It even breaks down results by City and by predefined price ranges. All of those pages are crawlable. 

Fernando - It looks like you have almost 2000 pages indexed under homes.reallynicehomes.com, your custom subdomain. You are definitely getting free organic Google traffic to those pages. The www. is considered a subdomain of reallynicehomes.com, and so it may be that you've registered reallynicehomes.com as the primary domain in Google Webmaster Tools? If not, then I would be curious to know how you have setup the CNAME for www.reallynicehomes.com (since it is a subdomain, and reallynicehomes.com is technically the primary domain). 

My point is this - if you are getting almost 2000 IDX pages indexed, and have more than 2700 of your blog posts indexed, you are getting a total of 4700 pages indexed. This number should grow as more of the IDX pages get crawled. In most cases, the number of IDX pages indexed should exceed those from your primary site. Especially if you are creating a lot of custom links and have put the sitemap link in your footer or somewhere on your home page.  

March 29, 2012 11:57 AM
Rainmaker
407,794
Denise Hamlin
Real Estate & Relocation Services 319-400-0268
Cardinal Realty - Locally Owned Real Estate Company

I have IDX Broker on my site and am happy with it. I agree with most of what you say in this post, EXCEPT the idea that buyers don't search by address. They do.

In addition to IDX Broker I have a different plugin with listings on my site. My traffic has increased quite dramatically since having that plugin purely from folks searching by address. You could not be more wrong about your assessment of that. I have at least 20+ visitors daily searching by address, and I really don't live in a metro area. This is a small site by any standards.

April 03, 2012 10:48 AM
Rainmaker
559,657
Corinne Guest
Barrington's Country Suburban Home Matchmaker
Barrington Realty Company

Like Denise above I use a Wordpress plugin that results in a lot of traffic to my site from people searching by address. That said it can be a double edged sword. I plugged in too many listings and my bounce rate has sky rocketed. I have now pared it back to relevent properties for my site. Be careful what you wish for, traffic doesn't mean leads.

Here's a great post for neighborhoods using the IDX Broker SEO pages,

 

http://www.webrealestatetools.com/real-estate-tools/real-estate-blogs/customising-saved-search-pages-in-idx-broker

 

This is even better than I was doing. IDX Broker does have good SEO capabilities for neighborhoods, just not so good for addresses. That's why I use 2 IDX's systems on my site.

April 03, 2012 11:21 AM
Rainer
40,735
IDX Broker
IDX, LLC.
IDX, LLC.

Hi Denise, Thank you for the feedback!

What statistics or details have led you to determine that buyers search by address, before they search for 2-3 keyword phrases, a particular subdivision, or for listing features?

Isn't address search traffic much more likely to be people looking for comps, the home seller, or neighbors that may be thinking about selling (potential sellers)? This isn't to say buyers never search by address - tech-savvy buyers may have had a house in mind, or maybe they have setup an alert in Google just in case the house they love goes on sale. 

I should also clarify that we're not arguing that you ignore details page SEO; we will always encourage you use unique patterns for your dynamic title and meta tags to increase the likelihood that those get indexed. The challenge with this topic of addresses is that so often we've heard Realtors focus solely on the need for static detail page URLs, while neglecting some of the basic SEO practices/concepts that can lead to far more traffic and engagement.  

Interesting info Corinne. You might consider playing around with adding static text to your dynamic title and meta details page tags under Preferences. That may help those IDX Broker page float to the top for some of those long-tail address search phrases. 

April 03, 2012 01:20 PM
Rainmaker
407,794
Denise Hamlin
Real Estate & Relocation Services 319-400-0268
Cardinal Realty - Locally Owned Real Estate Company

I don't have statistics anymore than you do to determine whether it's buyers or sellers who are searching by address. And anyway, what difference does it make whether it's buyers or sellers? It's bringing folks either buying or selling a house to my site and it's due to my other plugin, not IDX Broker. 

I disagree with your assessment that it's more likely to be sellers though.  I do have direct access to the public and speak with buyers. I know they search by address because we talk about that. They drive by and google the address. That's not uncommon at all.

Statistics also tell us that well over 90% of buyers are online, while it's only a small percentage of sellers. That is an indication to me that there are many more buyers landing on my site by address than sellers. Plus, after looking at that one address they more often than not continue by searching for other homes, which is also not something I expect a seller to do. (Although sellers can be buyers too so it's possible).

That said, I agree with you whole-heartedly that there's more to a good IDX solution than just focusing on static pages on the site. That's why I have more than one IDX search on my site. IDX Broker is an excellent all round solution. The other plugin I have gives me great SEO benefits, but lacks the engagement you mention above.  

April 03, 2012 08:20 PM
Rainmaker
559,657
Corinne Guest
Barrington's Country Suburban Home Matchmaker
Barrington Realty Company

An interesting debate. I have to wonder why so many that search by MLS number or address, because it's commonly either, are located all over the country. I have a lot of number one rankings for addresses and MLS numbers, but I have many that are at number 3 or 6 or 8 on page one. Why on earth do searchers pick me, or are they looking at every page for that property and not finding what they want.

Currently doing research on why my plugin has my neighbors home for sale at number one, yet IDX B has it on page 26. That's a huge difference and I am looking at the tile and desciption for each. It does seem that repeating the dynamic parts on the description is the mistake. The other has the full MLS description for the Meta Description. I would seriously like to NOT have 2 solutions and much prefer the ability to create subdivision lists with good SEO which I can only do with IDX Broker.

And I thought Denise and I were real estate brokers. God Bless anyone who has no idea about this stuff, they'll likely need to pay someone else or find a new job, it becomes an all consuming job in itself!

April 03, 2012 08:40 PM
Rainmaker
559,657
Corinne Guest
Barrington's Country Suburban Home Matchmaker
Barrington Realty Company

I should have added that my stats program monitors where people are in the country and world, so I absolutely know that many address and MLS searches are from out of state. That to me is even more perplexing.

April 04, 2012 06:37 AM
Rainer
114,005
Carolyn Crispin
Crispin Team Sells Branson Homes Land & Commercial
Keller Williams Tri-Lakes

thanks for the great info

May 06, 2012 07:01 AM
Rainer
137,321
Raymond Denton - Casta del Sol Realtor®
Casta del Sol is all I do
Your Casta del Sol Agent

>>They drive by and google the address. That's not uncommon at all.

Maybe not where you live, but it's very uncommon where I live ... you probably don't have many gated communities.

July 20, 2013 09:34 AM
Anonymous
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Rainer
40,735

IDX Broker

IDX, LLC.
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