How Important ARE Indexed MLS Listings?
If I had to guess, I'd say that the vast majority of real estate websites don't have indexed MLS listings. I'd guess that the majority of real estate websites have MLS searches set up in a "frame". And, that means that search engines can't read the individual listings.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the importance of having MLS listings that aren't in a frame, meaning that the search engines can read each individual listing.
My opinion has been that if you can easily and economically get an indexable MLS search, go right ahead. It certainly isn't going to hurt your SEO, and it might bring an additional client in the door. But, I don't see where it is going to have such a significant impact that it's a necessity at any price.
For example, your website has to have a lot of authority with the search engines before they're going to index all of your listing pages. So, if your site is currently on page 5 for your main keyword phrase, adding listing pages that can be indexed isn't going to do anything for you.
Then, the other day, I ran across a post over at the GeekEstateBlog. Jeff Manson actually did some testing of the impact of indexable listings.
Keep in mind that he started out with websites that were very highly ranked already, and waited until the indexable listing pages were cached. Here are a few key quotes from Jeff's article:
"The tests we ran show that the traffic will definitely increase if your site has enough authority to get top rankings for the individual property pages, but the quality of traffic seems to be low. . . .
Number of sign ups or conversions remained about the same. . . .
We did not see an increase or decrease in rankings on the city/area real estate pages or the home page for their keywords due to having the listings indexed."
The final conclusion? Certainly the traffic increased, but the number of conversions remained about the same. And, there seemed to be no impact on the overall ranking of the site's home page or internal pages.
It looks like if you're thinking that indexable MLS listings are going to be the lead driver on your website, you're wrong. I'd suggest putting your energy and dollars into providing a full-featured MLS search on your real estate website, and putting a lot of emphasis on making it easy and irresistible for site visitors to create an account.
You'll get a lot more lead generation if you start establishing a relationship with real human beings as opposed to providing a public service for a lot of visitors who just leave your site after they search for their neighbor's address and find out what the house next door is selling for!
Kathleen Allardyce is the founder of Getting It Write, Inc. The firm specializes in providing Web-Centric Real Estate Marketing services to agents and brokers – a one-stop service that establishes clients as true Internet professionals. Services include developing brands, logos and lead-generating websites. Visit her real estate marketing website, real estate marketing blog, and Point2 Agent real estate website.
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