Does your IDX measure up? Find out which tools rank highest

Written by Alessia Girardin

The Made in America Movement, a platform for promoting American businesses, released a report examining which internet data exchange tools are the best for your website as well as what consumers think about the home search on existing sites.

IDX, also known as internet data exchange, allows brokers and agents who are members of a multiple listing service to integrate real estate listings from that MLS database into thier own websites. The benefit to such a feed over Redfin, Zillow and other aggregators is twofold: This software connects directly to the source so that all your listings are all up to date and comprehensive. It also keeps prospects on your website, allowing you to receive leads from your listings when users execute a property search on your website.

When dealing with IDX tools, it is important to look at search engine optimization. There are some downsides to when clients do their property search on Google: They often fall under Google’s “user intent” shift, in which searches only appear based on what the search engine remembers about the searcher. The study noted that several outdated IDXs use iframe technology and subdomains which make it almost impossible to rank a website on search engines. However, with modern IDXs this feature is enabled.

In regard to SEO, the report stated that it’s important that website developers stay updated on new platforms to ensure they continue to work for brokers: “We found that many agents have been hurt by website developers that use an IDX that utilize subdomains or iframes because the developer is simply accustomed to using one of the outdated IDXs, rather than one of the newer modern options.”

Some IDX plugins are more successful than others. After testing 25,000 real estate agents’ websites and working with more than 125,000 consumers, MAM ranked Showcase IDX as the highest rated IDX plugin overall, with kVcore and Real Geeks coming in not far behind. According to the results, Showcase IDX had the best SEO and visitor retention scores, especially from the standpoint of return on investment. Those are important factors for the success of the plugin, but MAM noted that maintaining solid lead generation, engagement and conversion through the website are also important factors.

MAM emphasized the importance of using your website as “the hub of all of your marketing,” and noted that integrating a modern IDX is part of that effort. Modern IDXs provide users with a web building platform as well as plugins that can directly link to them. From MAM’s analysis of more than 25,000 real estate websites, Showcase IDX came out on top as the most successful plugin to use whether you are building your own website independently, or working with a web developer to create it. The benefits of all-in-one platforms like kVcore and Real Geeks is that they provide other services as well — such as a full website, drip email and text campaigns, as well as other advertising features — rather than being hyper focused IDX companies. Still, MAM noted that these two platforms came in at a much higher annual price than owning your own website.

How to be a 5-star broker with online reviews

Written by Juliet Jacques

A strong online presence is essential for helping you attract new clients and build a good reputation. In fact, potential clients frequently turn to websites like Google Business and Yelp to see reviews by past clients. Creating good profiles on these websites and updating them showcases your business and adds a level of legitimacy. Potential clients will be encouraged by a profile with many sincere reviews, even if they’re not all five stars.

When it comes to choosing a Realtor, clients take a global view of their online presence, Anastasia Yefromova, Communications Specialist for the Steven Cohen Team, told Boston Agent magazine. “It’s hard to trace one single source of why a client works with us, but we found it’s more of a cumulative assessment of how everything looks: reviews, print and website. Having strong online profiles with a lot of reviews will help showcase your history,”

In the process of buying or selling a home, asking clients to leave reviews can easily fall by the wayside. Yefromova recommends sending an email to clients soon after they’ve used your services and letting them know it would mean a lot if they left a review. She also includes a link to the review sites to make the process quick and easy for clients.

When starting to build your profile, Elizabeth Bain of Commonwealth Standard Realty emphasized patience to Boston Agent magazine “It takes time to build up reviews because Yelp’s algorithms will hide many of them,” she said “Currently, more than half of my reviews are being hidden on Yelp. Make it a practice to ask clients for reviews and the profile will gain strength over time”

Take advantage of all the features Yelp offers, such as showing your response rate and response time. Bain emphasizes the importance of these figures. “I think the fast response time is key,” she said. “Consumers are looking for instant gratification, and the response time is one way to stand out against competitors.” Using features like this can help set you apart from the competition, she added.

With negative reviews, if there are only a few you probably don’t need to worry. Yefromova said her company decided not to respond to a negative review to avoid appearing defensive or attacking the client, adding, “It would also look odd if every review is 5 stars — it shows that this is genuine, that these are real people leaving reviews.” And if your profile has fake reviews or reviews not meant for your company, Yelp does have a process for reporting and taking these down. For more on this, check out our course, “Yelp for Your Real Estate Business.”

So don’t be afraid to ask clients to leave reviews. It’s a small step in the home-buying process but a very important way to improve your business in the long run.