Tech trends

The cold, hard facts on IDX & SEO

There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there about what IDX gives you the best search engine benefits.  The fact is, it’s a trick question, and we’ll explain why.

There are basically 2 types of IDX products on the market now:

  1. A service hosted/maintained separately from your “regular” website.  In other words, the provider harvests the MLS data and “hosts” a search site where your clients can search for homes.
  2. An “integrated” IDX that plugs directly into your website and grabs MLS data behind the scenes from an external provider and “imports” it to your website.
So you’re thinking to yourself, “well, #2 is better, because it’s integrated!”  Maybe.  The upside to an integrated system is that your site has a bunch of extra content (property listings) without having to send users to a separate site to search.  However, the drawback is that in order for these to work on ANY website, the interface & functionality has to be somewhat limited so it can be “plugged” into any website.  In other words, it’ll display listings, but it probably won’t have a ton of other features like neighborhood valuation & such.  The other downside to an integrated system is more “moving parts.”  You’ve got your site, your IDX provider’s system/data, and the MLS data.  If 1 of these fails, the whole system is down.

Conversely, a “separate” IDX site means users click away from your site to search, and it means all that listing data is technically not “on your site.”  But the upside is, if your site goes down, the IDX would still be fine.  Also, because it’s a separate system, it can be designed more freely, to have a lot more features.

Okay, so where are we going with this?

An IDX & your site’s SEO are 2 totally separate things.  You want a property search that entices buyers with cool features & keeps them coming back.  But you also want good SEO so you GET buyers!    The fact is, no IDX, in and of itself, will vault you to page 1 in Google.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being honest.

The agents who get the best search results are the ones who do the best job intertwining listing data (from IDX) with good, original content of their own.  And this is possible with a simple approach:

  1. Find an IDX that has good LOCAL features and information.  It’s fine if it’s on a separate site, because a good IDX provider should be able to install it on a “subdomain” on your regular domain.  In other words, if your website is at “,” your search can be at “” or “”  Google recognizes it as being your content because the main domain is the same.  Bear in mind, in order to do this, you will have to make a simple change at your domain registrar (i.e. GoDaddy,, etc).
  2. Many IDX providers these days, even ones that host it separately, offer solutions to allow you to also pull listing data directly into your site.  One such solution is a WordPress plugin, which are fairly common these days.  It’s not necessarily a full-blown “property search,” but it’s an easy way to pull listing data into your site, which is the main goal for SEO.

But don’t take our word for it.  In writing this post, we consulted with SEO and Cognitive Semantic Structuring expert Oliver Hoffmann, who owns his own SEO company: First Fold SEO. We’ve known Oliver for a few years, and we’ve seen him deliver results for several of our clients.  And Oliver would tell you that the takeaway from this blog entry is simple, and stated above – no IDX, in and of itself, will vault you to page 1 in Google.