Who has the Best IDX System? Choosing an MLS IDX Developer
March 15, 2011 7 Comments
If you’re coming from Google to this page, you’re probably looking for a review of the best 3rd Party MLS IDX providers. However, although 3rd party MLS IDX providers often have a good product for the average agent, the market leading agent will often have a custom IDX developed for his/her own site. Custom developed IDX listings are far more expensive and therefore may not be a realistic choice for any but the most affluent real estate agents.
Even after you’ve hired one of hundreds of MLS IDX developers, there’s no real certainty as to whether you’re going to get an ideal listings display, or about how search engine friendly your navigation and url structure are going to be. On some systems for instance, the listing brokers name is prominently displayed, and that is going to cost you leads. That’s great for the listing broker to get their name on your site, but you end up losing the prospect. This example shows the listing without the listing broker appearing.
The listing broker’s name, not seen here, is subdued.
Why are MLS IDX Listings so Important?
If you don’t have an MLS IDX listing on your site, you’re cheating yourself of thousands of lead generating listings on your site. Listings are vital to create and capture leads so it’s imperative for you to utilize them. They are an integral part of online real estate marketing. As a real estate seo professional specializing in real estate, the optimization of MLS IDX feeds and listings is very important. The listings are a key component of site development and search engine optimization strategy.
There are a number of 3rd party IDX providers and what they are actually do, is get access to your local MLS idx datafeed. There is a often a free MLS feed and other times there may be a fee of more than a thousand dollars for the feed. There are apparently other political issues where some MLS associations may not provide feeds to third party providers. If this is the case, it can prevent economical access to the MLS listings. In some cases, you may have to give up on custom mls development and use a 3rd party provider such as realestatewebmasters.
The data from the feed must be formatted according the MLS association’s rules which may vary region to region. Given MLS rules, anyone who uses the feed must meet their guidelines for displaying the listings. Certain information must be suppressed, and in some cases the real estate association may request that listings be not so easily accessible to search engine spiders. Other times, legal info must be shown that makes the listings appear unattractive.
The 3rd party providers such as Realestatewebmasters, point2point, realpagemaker, realwebsolutions, and moneymaker4agents will format the data for display differently. In some cases, a real estate association may not let them display too many listings at once, or will force them to display them in a way that makes it difficult for search engine spiders to find the pages. Despite those impediments, I make it my specialty to make those listings exposed to search engines. Sometimes it’s not easy, but very necessary. Remember, that with SEO, it isn’t just about letting the spider get access to pages, it’s about making those pages rank high in Google.
Here’s how I would rate the best 3rd Party IDX providers:
These rankings are based on both quality of display and search engine optimizability. Each provider may offer custom IDX programming as part of an elite program. They may be more inflexible in how search engine friendly they’ll make your listings, however with a custom website, they will usually create a layout and lead registration system to suit you.