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This broker-owned website toolkit builds SEO-focused websites for agents

01/03/2020

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Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

IDXSEO is a website builder and SEO service for real estate agents.

Platforms: Browser; mobile-responsive Ideal For: Individual agents; small, indy brokerages

Top Selling Points:

SEO benefits Affordability Full site control Hands-on assistance

Top Concerns: IDXSEO is focused heavily on Google results and website home searches, not necessarily how websites reflect brand, publish content, or assist in customer retention.

What You Should Know

I’m really mixed on this one.

IDXSEO is ultimately an amalgamation of WordPress plugins and third-party page builders that the company will help you learn how to use.

The company doesn’t offer the traditional website-developer service model. Instead of relying on your web partner to translate your office’s goals, environment, and approach to business into an internet presence, IDXSEO gives you a pile of tools, parts, and a manual. Thus, you need to conceptualize your site, write its content, find its images, and build its pages.

They’ll help if you want them to, but that’s not what they’re set up to do, because IDSXEO is also owned and run by a small, relatively high-performing brokerage in Las Vegas.

I don’t test for service and support, but I do ask about it. I was told they’d be there to help with initial training and webinars as needed.

Essentially, the company built themselves a website that performs very well for them in terms of local searches, and now they want to monetize their knowledge. No harm in that, provided someone wants the knowledge.

They smartly leverage an array of plugins and bolt-ons to intricately customize property search pages according to RETS-compliant, local MLS parameters. This means that users need to interface with sterile, lengthy field-matching forms to instruct the feed on what data to display. I can’t envision this being something a lot of agents will want—or should—spend time doing.

On the outside, visual elements are managed by Beaver Builder (their recommendation), or whatever other content manager you choose to overlay on WordPress. (Why not use WordPress’s native CMS?) This is how your copy and content gets placed, arranged, and edited. It can be adjusted as you go.

BeaverBuilder can apply a number of template designs, color schemes, and content blocks. That sort of thing.

IDXSEO pitches hard the notion that they’re here for the smaller brokerage who can’t pay $30k for a website.

That’s certainly admirable.

However, there are already countless options here for small brokers who can’t pay $30k for a website that offer a far more sophisticated web development service, truly custom-programmed designs, and integrated content strategies.

Where IDXSEO can be of service is in its expertise of search engine optimization.

Its tactics are traditional and not too brand-oriented, as they simply heap on the ultra-local page titles and copy, such as “Houses for Sale in Olympic Heights in Truckee, CA,” and then support that page with a 1,000-word page full of long-tail, Google-friendly turns of phrase.

It’s an effective strategy, but neglects readability, the value of how people physically react to page elements and design themes, and becomes tedious to maintain. For example:

“Luxury Las Vegas real estate and Las Vegas homes for sale is the prime focus of Luxury Realty Group and has been since we were established in 2004 in Las Vegas. Luxury Realty Group is an internationally recognized luxury real estate brokerage specializing in Las Vegas luxury homes. condos, new homes, and custom homes. Whether new, pre-construction, existing luxury homes for sale or luxury high rise condos, Bruce Hiatt of Luxury Realty Group and his luxury real estate agents are ready to assist you in your luxury real estate search. In working with Bruce Hiatt and his agents you will soon discover why we should be “Your Luxury Real Estate Consultant for Life®.”

(EDITOR: PLEASE LEAVE ^ABOVE^ TYPOS IN EXAMPLE)

I would recommend hiring a professional writer who is comfortable with SEO and how to tell a good business story.

They can also offer SEO tools such as AMP (accelerated mobile pages) and Open Graph tag placement, which helps deliver specific content on Facebook pages.

Another big concern of mine is launch-time. A tremendous byproduct of hiring a web developer is turn-around. Provided you get them what they need when they ask for it, a few weeks between initial meeting and launch is pretty doable these days. I was part of a team that got a very nice site off the ground in a month.

Still, how many stories can Inman readers tell about websites that didn’t get off the ground in a month?

In an email, IDXSEO CEO Bruce Hiatt told me there will be two service levels.

“The Lite tier will be similar to what you mentioned, which is a simple, theme based website priced for the agent who doesn’t have a custom website budget.  The Platinum tier will be priced-based on the website development and customization scope of their project,” Hiatt wrote.

IDXSEO is supposing you have the time to conceptualize, design, write, and root around in a very clinical user experience to ensure your properties show up as they should when searched for.

I’m not saying this company and its products won’t work for your brokerage. What I saw was a functional backend and a capable collection of add-ins and bolt-ons that can help you build an effective IDX website. But I don’t think you should be building your website.

What I am saying is that there already a number of small-brokerage focused website providers who can save you a great deal of time and money, and produce a better-looking, more strategic website who know SEO, offer ground-up custom designs. And, many of them can do it for well under $10,000 (often for much less) and are 100% in the business of providing website support  and marketing services.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

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