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!