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.