Today we were called directly by an iHouseWeb iHouse representative asking us how many leads did we get in the last 12 months from our real estate website. So we decided to play along and roll with it to see what brilliance would come our way. We weren’t disappointed. (One of our clients was called today also.)
We said 0 leads and the salesperson said that was because our website’s IDX was invisible to Google. We responded with “oh really?” Pretty crazy we thought since we’re the IDX folks and we know that an invisible framed “3rd party” IDX solution is old school and terrible and ours is not built that way – never has been – never will be. We’re not even “3rd party” we are the “party”.
We listened a bit more to the pitch and came away with one main big point – they are lying about our system (and I’m sure other systems) to get the unknowing real estate agent to make an emotional uneducated knee-jerk choice to buy their product. They didn’t actually address the real issue, although during the call we got to the heart of it – it’s not the car, it’s what you put in the car to make it run. We eventually hung up.
The Proof is in Google
As we were on the phone with the telemarketer hired gun, we Googled one of our sites using this search term: site:scottsdalelatestlistings.com and got 25,600 results (go ahead and try it yourself with your website address just like we did for ours and see what you get). That’s right our website has 25,600 (twenty-five thousand six hundred) pages in Google. Now the question to ask – how did we get so many pages, it’s not humanly possible to write 25,000+ pages of content in just a few years. Answer – psst – it’s our IDX. See screenshot immediately below for the number of pages:
Now for further proof that the iHouseweb representative was lying to us. We know they are lying, or being deceptive, because we’re technical industry experts, but a non-technical real estate agent wouldn’t – which is why they get preyed upon with marketing practices like this.
Notice the screenshot below. This screenshot is from another website we work on and shows results from deeper into Google (page 16) reflecting some of our IDX pages. Notice the property pages and search results pages that are on Google? 448 Coyote Payson…/Pecos Ranch Estates…/7955 Chaparral Scottsdale…/Homes near Cosmo Dog Park? Those are directly from our IDX. Question is – how is it we’re showing up if we’re embedded – means we’re not embedded it means we’re integrated.
Now let’s talk directly about SEO for a moment.
One of the whole points of the call with iHouseWeb iHouse is how good their SEO is… Ok, let’s just address one thing here about SEO that’s relevant to their system versus hours and what Google likes. We could into more, but this post is already long enough.
URL structure matters in how Google ranks your website. Basically, the rule of thumb is the cleaner & shorter the URL the better your page(s) rank. This is basic SEO 101. Take a look at both screenshots below. The first is from a listing on our website. Notice the number 5690226 in the URL – that’s the MLS # of the property. The second screenshot is from a iHouseWeb iHouse website of the exact same home with the same MLS ID – notice the difference in the URL’s – notice how much longer and “uglier” the URL from iHouseWeb is? Which one would you want on your website if you were interested in ranking?
iHouseWeb iHouse Website:
Now let’s talk about the real root of the issue.
Our clients are getting calls again from iHouseWeb iHouse where the opening question is “Let me ask you something, how many leads have you gotten from your website in the last 12 months?” Of course, this kind of question is going to get the neck hairs going up on just about any real estate agent. Mostly the answer is “0” – no matter what system they have (ours included and those from iHouseWeb) – it’s actually why iHouseWeb is telemarketing using this tactic. Why do we know they don’t perform in some instances is because we get customers from iHouseWeb who complain that the website didn’t do anything…
Why do many real estate agent websites perform poorly?
Well, there are several starting points for answering this question. First being – it’s actually not poor performance of the website at all – you could say it’s not the website’s fault it’s lead production lacks, it’s the agent’s fault. Agents think they should get leads from their websites but very few agents ever update their websites which means Google has basically shelved the website and don’t rank them. If you think about it, with competitors like Zillow how can a small real estate agent website that never, or hardly ever, gets updated compete for web search traffic? Google’s job is to rank the most relevant web pages for a particular subject and if a website isn’t getting updated how relevant is it?
What if the paradigm that you should get leads from your website is all wrong and needs to be shifted? Try this one – your website should be used as a part of your business…this leads us to our next point.
Real estate websites don’t produce much in terms of leads mostly because real estate agents, in general, don’t use their website as part of their business – which means they don’t update them and they don’t use them with their clients. Both of these scenarios conclude with NO Traffic to the Website – which means no business.
To get business from a website, or to further your business because of your website, you must get traffic to it. To get traffic to your website you must either 1) directly advertise with paid ads on Google or Facebook for example going to landing pages, or by 2) sending your clients to it, or by 3) showing up in Google and having searchers click on results from your website (this is called organic traffic which iFoundAgent websites are as getting as indicated by the earlier screenshots).
iFoundAgent is active in all 3 of these places of getting traffic to your website. Let’s break these down:
- The first is called pay per click advertising or Facebook ads which requires landing pages and some time to execute the advertising campaigns and a marketing budget. Our websites can do an unlimited number landing pages.
- The second is through directing your clients to your website to look at what’s sold or for sale around their respective home using our CRM system.
- And third, by doing the second item just discussed and by putting content into your website in the form of market updates which happens in conjunction with our CRM system your site gets exposure in Google. We take things even further with syndicating all that you do on your website to some of your major social media accounts like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Going to iHouseWeb iHouse (or some other real estate technology) because they pushed a button and blamed it on your system (our system) is a flat-out misleading and misguiding tactic which could cost you more money than necessary. You aren’t going to get any better results with their system if you don’t use it for your business, with your clients, and update it etc. If you do go to the grass is greener solution by getting a new system and don’t change how/what you do with your website, soon, you’ll be disappointed by yet another technology solution that promised results and failed to deliver.
At iFoundAgent, we don’t make false promises, or promise leads or business for that matter like so many other of our technology competitors. What we promise is exposure in Google and on Social Media (enhance your marketing efforts) and we promise a place for your clients to go to get the real estate information that’s related to their home’s value. If they don’t go to your website where are they going to go – Zillow?
Don’t Blame WordPress
And last but not least, the telemarketer from iHouseWeb tried to suggest that WordPress is a terrible solution because it’s not our “own” software and that it is a free software and that any IDX “plugin” could only embed listings not integrate. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. As we showed above in this post with the screenshots showing results of pages in Google – if we could only embed we wouldn’t see pages in Google that are a result of our IDX – we saw a lot of IDX pages in Google. Many other IDX companies are integrated nowadays too.
Heck, we hardly ever talk about frames etc. anymore. The old frame or embedded technology is very old school and hasn’t been a player in the IDX market in at least 5 years dating back to 2012-13 ish. Integrated means that the pages that result from the IDX show up on your website as part of your website. Again, we’ve shown this above.
So the next time a rep from iHouseWeb iHouse or some other tech company calls you and asks what are you getting from your website just hang up – they are going to lie to you. But take to heart the message of this post – you gotta do something to get something. Just having a car doesn’t mean that it will get from point A to point B without putting gas in the tank. There are 1000’s of different cars in the world and they all have pistons (there are many different types of pistons) but none of them work if you don’t put gas in them. Just so happens we’ve made it remarkedly easy to put gas in the tank of your website to actually have your website do something for you and your clients.