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Do Indexed Property Pages Increase Sales?

There is a lot of buzz out there about how great it is to get property listings from your IDX on your site indexed. There are some that say it brings a great benefit for SEO and others that think it is more important because of the increased traffic it brings.  I have had the property listings on my Hawaii real estate site indexed for over 5 years now and wanted to see if it really made a significant difference in conversions and search engine rankings to have them indexed. It was hard to make that determination from a site that already had them indexed so long, so we did some testing with three sites that had top rankings in three different California markets.

Before the test, all three sites were not allowing the property pages to be indexed, but were using our integrated IDX solution that tracks all pages views of every property the user viewed while searching.  (Note: Most framed IDX solutions would not be tracking those pages a user is viewing as part of the sites traffic. That is why page views of a site that uses a framed solution and then converts over to an integrated one go up drastically.)  Once the property pages of the three sites were indexed most of property pages had top 10 rankings and the traffic increased dramatically.

Below are the combined average numbers and results after the property pages were indexed. You might be surprised, I was.

–    48% increase in new unique visitors. (major increase in traffic)
–    Overall site bounce rate increased by 25%. (30% to 37.5%)
–    Page Views per user dropped by 28% (9.5 to 6.84)
–    Number of sign ups or conversions remained about the same.

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.  The bounce rate on property pages compared to city/area real estate pages seems to be drastically higher and have a very low conversion rate.

SEO Advantage or Disadvantage? You be the judge. 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. I have heard that search engines like Google are now comparing bounce rates as one of the many ranking factors.  I am not sure if they look at the overall bounce rate of the site, a specific page or combination. That may be something to ask an SEO expert.

I think there are much better ways to drive quality traffic that converts at a much higher rate than indexed listings. I don’t think they are going to hurt you and may actually help you get a few extra deals. If you have an IDX provider that offers index-able IDX listings, I would definitely take advantage of it :-), especially since we were not tracking phone calls that may have come in due to someone searching for a specific property.  (Having indexed listings is more affordable advertising than in a paper or magazines any day!)

I am going to continue to keep my property pages indexed even though the quality of traffic appears to be low.

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  • Great information. Is there anyway you can tell what percentage of people who landed on one of these indexed property pages clicked over to your homepage or home search page?

  • Jeff_Manson

    Hi Brian – Yes analytics will track that. The percentage is pretty low compared to traffic coming in on City/Area real estate pages that actually converts. We have goals set up to see how many times the sign up form is displayed and how many times the form is actually submitted. We can track percentages from sources (Google Organic, CPC, Craigslist, etc..), content pages they entered on plus actual keywords. It really helps you know where to spend your time, money and energy when you know what is actually converting well 🙂

  • Loved the information and in out market they do increase the traffic

  • Alex

    Wow, surprised that the bounce rate went up and the page views went down. I would think that it's more targeted traffic which would be more likely to hang around your site and browse. Interesting.

    • Jeff_Manson

      Hi Alex, Total page views went up, but number of page views per user went down. Most likely it is so targeted the users are getting what they were after and move on 😉

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  • I love that you do this kind of research so that I don’t have to, thanks Jeff. I’ve been wondering the same thing myself for a while. I’m looking for long-term browsing customers, not single-address searchers.

  • Since I'm looking for a new IDX vendor this is a well timed article to read. I am a little hazy out the outcome though, any advantages seemed to be countered by increased bounce and fewer page views…

    • Jeff_Manson

      Hi Gail, Thanks for commenting. The traffic did go up 48%, but the number of page views PER user went down. It appears for the most part that traffic coming in on pages that are getting indexed are getting the information they were looking for and leaving. I do get some calls from people that have entered the site from those pages, but that is very hard to track. There are some benefits 😉

  • We just got indexed property pages added to our site. The jury is still out as to whether or not this was a good move. Our traffic is the same, indexed pages are up, but out bounce rate is down slightly. Too soon to tell.

  • Gail Anderson Realtor

    Is there a recent post that weighs the various 3rd party IDX vendors out there right now, whether or not the pages indexible, and cost?

  • Jeff you always have great info for us. keep it up man.

    I like that your posts almost always have some math in there. It shows you're really crunching 🙂

    • Jeff_Manson

      Hi Tony – Need top know your numbers in any business to make wise choices 😉

  • Interesting post. I have been working on an idx and having them indexed. I have found that my indexed listings on my website do draw more traffic.

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  • Hey there Jeff,

    Very interesting post and i'm impressed with your observations – case study approach, I like it! Have read a few similar, yet not quite as in depth, discussions in a real estate forum a few days or perhaps a week back but cannot recall which one it was.

    Anyways, the discussion went onto the topic of your getting your IDX pages indexed by google and its effects. From the consensus on the forum they pretty much agreed with you that getting your IDX pages indexed is a good thing.

    The only thing that worried me, was that now that they are indexed, they now report crawl errors in google analytics when the listing is removed from your site (when the listing is sold or taken off the market). What I have read about crawl errors related to the IDX though is that they do not have much, if any, negative effect on your sites SEO as they are viewed by google as fast converting content. Have you heard similar stories about getting IDX pages indexed and recieveing crawl errors?

    • There’s solution to that, you need setup a 301 redirect from these removed pages or products pages. When accessed user will redirected to homepage or whatever url you’ve set it up with. No crawl errors will be generated by Google and still your site is SEO friendly.

      BTW, great article Jeff!

      • Anonymous

        Thanks 🙂 My index pages just 404 when the listings are no longer available. Never really had a problem with that. I would love to hear some SEO experts weigh in on having them 301 vs 404. 404 means page no longer exists and 301 means page is permanently moved to new url.

        • Jeff you are right! A 404 redirect is more appropriate in these situations. The 301 is when your permanently to a new url. Thanks for enlightening me to read and understand better the difference between these 2 redirection types.

  • tanikagar

    Wow. I don’t believe this! My blog traffic jumped to 2385 visits daily pure Google traffic since I started using this. To anybody who wants to find out how go to http:// Take care.

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