There’s a simple reason why most real estate agents want to have an automated listing feed on their website: it’s the quickest and most simple way to get listings from their MLS board on their own website.
Because everyone else has it, most real estate agents think they need it, too. The truth is, an IDX feed is only something that is nice to have and nothing beyond that.
You Can’t Compete With Big Websites Like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and Others
Mentioned websites are massive. They invest lots of money and have large developer teams to support their custom search solution that looks amazing and provides an outstanding user experience.
Take their live map search, for example. It looks awesome and it works awesome. But, that costs a lot of money to develop, which, for the majority of agents is something they are not willing to invest in. Neither it’s something they should do. Instead, they will set up a low-cost, templated IDX solution, which is very limited in terms of customization.
Most website visitors will never use an IDX search on your website. Those that do are more exception to the rule, along with the agents that say they get all their leads through IDX search on their website.
IDX Feed Will Not Improve Your SEO
This is the bitter truth. Most, if not all IDX solutions are served through subdomains (ie. idx.yourdomain.com or something similar) which doesn’t add up on your overall SEO.
Websites like Zillow, Trulia, or similar, as more authoritative websites that invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing, will always outrank every single small real estate website with templated IDX feed. Building a custom IDX solution can be both time-consuming and cost a lot of money. It’s by far a better way of generating to invest money in high-quality content, paid advertising, or other lead generation strategies.
If All of the Above is the Case, Should I Have an IDX Feed on My Website?
It really depends. As mentioned in this article, it’s something that is nice to have and nothing more. If you have tons of traffic, along with a strong content strategy that brings people to your website and they happen to do a search – then yes, go for it.
But it shouldn’t be your primary or only strategy for lead generation, simply because of the competition that is well known by 99% of online users.
Think of it this way: when you’re about to search for a hotel stay for your summer vacation in Greece, you’re probably going to use Booking or Tripadvisor, or even Google. The same is with real estate search – you’ll go to Zillow and similar websites for your initial search.
What Should I Have on My Real Estate Website?
Any kind of listings search functionality is not mandatory or the most important thing to have or showcase on the website.
There are a couple of other things every real estate website should be focused on.
1. Personal Listings Portfolio
Your real estate website should put the accent on your current and past (sold) listings. It should be your personal portfolio. One of the strategies behind it could be to link your listings from Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com back to your website and your own property listings page.
For example, you sold a beautiful house with a nice backyard, last year. You had a professional photographer taking high-quality images and a video tour of the house. Build a story around it. Let your visitors and potential clients know how you showcased and closed that deal.
Include a nice video interview with the buyer. It adds up a lot to your personal authority.
2. Buyers and Sellers Content
Invest in useful content for buyers and sellers. It can be a series of articles about the home buying and selling process, tips and tricks, etc. Build a nice and short, but concrete advice video series and use it to build a YouTube channel that you can use as a strong traffic source for your website.
Interview your past buyers and sellers and publish those reviews. Let your potential clients see and hear those people that had an awesome experience with you.
3. Your About Page
Every potential client will want to know more about you before engaging in business relations. Most agents have simple, boring pages that are also lacking content.
Have quality and detailed content written for you, followed by professional photos and possibly a video.
Your “about” page should be as fun as it can be, including your professional info and also some of your personality and personal life.
In the End it Comes to No IDX
When you take everything into consideration about whether to have an IDX feed on your website or not, it’s far better to invest your money into something else.
Spend your money in paid search, advertising, online campaigns, content writing, etc. Build your brand and engage your target audience.