Let’s face it: Most real estate agents’ IDX websites are terrible!
The majority of real estate websites nowadays use Internet Data Exchange (IDX). IDX is what enables members of a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to integrate real estate listings from the MLS database into their own websites. While using an IDX solution may have made you appear innovative and technically savvy 10 years ago, today it is just the norm and will no longer set you are apart.
This article on Inman “Why it’s time to look at real estate websites differently” is definitely worth a read! As they said so eloquently, “The competition is busy using an IDX iFrame, so it’s time to start looking at websites differently.”
[clickToTweet tweet=”The competition is using #IDX iFrame; it’s time to start looking at sites differently. @InmanNews” quote=”The competition is using #IDX iFrame; it’s time to start looking at sites differently. @InmanNews” theme=”style4″]
The Problem with IDX Websites
One problem with many IDX solutions is that they are not furnishing you with search engine friendly URLs. Further, they are typically either hosted on the provider’s sub-domain or are displayed on an iFrame, so they are doing nothing to improve the ranking of your domain. The first step to fix this is to find a better solution.
“The framed IDX provider is a middle man,” says Carolyn Bickerton, a former practitioner who now works for real estate web development company Realtyna Inc. “It gives you the data to display listings on your site. The framed IDX provider has all of the real raw pages from the MLS on its server, which means it keeps all of the IP addresses, so it gets most of the SEO value. Agents are actually paying framed IDX providers to rob them of SEO value.”
If you want to list and sell houses, your goal needs to be for your website to show up at the top of your local search results. In order to do this, one of the first things you need to do is to to make sure that your website is search engine optimized and friendly.
I am not telling you to scrap your IDX search and I do not think IDX is the real problem anyway. What I am suggesting is that an IDX solution alone is no longer enough. It should not be the main feature of your website as it is not providing enough reason for someone to visit your website in the first place. There’s a reason that there are so many apps available to help users find a home… and let’s be honest, they are definitely better than what you are offering if you are relying on IDX alone to keep eyeballs on your website. You need to start thinking outside of the IDX box if you want to stay ahead of the curve. (Oh, so many clichés there… sorry!)
The Real Problem isn’t IDX … it’s Lazy Realtors
The worst part about IDX solutions is that many real estate agents who use them are becoming lazy. They are not adding any additional content to their websites. Even worse (can there be a worse?), they rely on “local content” generated by the IDX solution… content that is pulled straight from Wikipedia.
So what you ask? Generic content is not going to tell the story of why someone would want to move to your area, and most of all, why they would want to choose you to be their real estate agent. On the other hand, if you wrapped your IDX searches around local stories, events, photographs, etc., then you will stand out from the crowd. The search engines will likely reward you as well. If you want to list and sell more houses, your goal should be to become known as a local expert in your area.
[clickToTweet tweet=”#Realtors: If you want to list and sell more houses, become known as a local expert in your area.” quote=”#Realtors: If you want to list and sell more houses, become known as a local expert in your area.” theme=”style4″]
Stand Out from the Crowd
So why am I telling you all of this? Over the years, I have built websites and managed the social media profiles for many real estate agents. The most successful Realtors always went the extra mile to ensure that their website stood out.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The most successful #Realtors go the extra mile to ensure that their website stands out.” quote=”The most successful #Realtors go the extra mile to ensure that their website stands out.” theme=”style4″]
Mortgage professional Scott Schang said for Inman,
“Being recognized and trusted as a local expert is an important part of growing and preserving your position as the go-to real estate agent in your community.”
Think HyperLocal with your Real Estate Content
“Hyperlocal websites provide content related to a very limited geographic area, such as a town, neighborhood, or even a single zip code within a city. The content can range from local news and politics, to information about schools, restaurants, and other businesses in the area.” – Brian Clark, “How to Build Profitable Hyperlocal Websites”
Now that you’re convinced that an IDX solution alone is not enough, it’s time to get hyperlocal and start creating content! Check out a post I wrote for Steady Demand, “20 Amazing Ideas to Boost Your Real Estate Content“, to get started.
One of my favorite tips that I shared in the article is to conduct interviews with local celebrities and personalities; Who are the people in your neighborhood? Creating a “who’s who” of the area can continue to fill in the picture you’re looking to paint for homebuyers. Here is a great post by Gary Vaynerchuk to get you inspired.
If you just don’t have the time to create all of this real estate content yourself and promote it on your social media channels, Steady Demand is happy to help!
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