This article was republished by Inman on July 5th, 2019.
Fact is, for agents, IDX as an organic SEO lead generation strategy is over. The big players, like Zillow, Realtor.com, RedFin, Trulia, HomeSnap, etc, have already won this race, and there’s no point in competing with them.
Millions of human hours and millions more dollars have already been invested by these large companies, and they dominate both search engine results and the user’s minds when they even think of searching for real estate. Most people won’t use your real estate website to search for listings, and if they do, they won’t for long.
Don’t believe me? Do a search right now for an active listing on MLS. At the time of writing this, I searched for: ‘6417 Pinetree Drive Cir, Miami Beach, FL’. And the results?
The big players absolutely dominate the organic search results in every market for single listings, and they will only continue to do so; it’s the core of their business to do just that. It’s all RedFin, Zillow, etc. Fact is, your IDX website will likely never show up in a search result like this.
But let’s say the user performs a search another way. Let’s say you’ve spent money building your organic SEO search strategy, and your website is built to showcase IDX listings in the Miami Dade area. If the user does a search instead for ‘Miami Dade Real Estate For Sale’, who do you think the main search results are?
That’s right. All the big players again. You simply can’t compete. Give up. Try something else.
So why do so many agents continue to adopt websites and lead generation strategies built entirely on IDX and not their own unique personality and brands? It’s because they’ve been doing it for the last several years and they don’t know anything else.
There’s a huge industry built around IDX websites and templated websites with IDX as the primary lead generation tool for agents. Tons of companies investing tons of dollars (and making tons of dollars) to convince agents that it’s the main, and often the only way, to build a lead generation strategy. They were right before, but now, they’re wrong.
But, don’t get me wrong. At one point in time, when the market was less saturated and IDX websites were few and far between, it was a brilliant lead generation plan. A website, full of all of the listings in your board, and a way to capture and collect information of all the people that search them (behind some gated portal); it was a seriously good idea.
Before the Zillows, RedFins, and Trulias of the world got into the space, it was a great lead and exposure strategy for agents. But the big companies have completely taken over and dominated that space, and if that’s your only strategy to generate leads, it’s all over.
So, what does the future of lead generation strategy look like for agents? In my opinion, it’s the only thing that big companies cannot take away from you or duplicate no matter how hard they try: your personality.
It’s investing in yourself. It’s investing in the time it takes to write personalized, informative blog posts. It’s developing and refining your content strategy. It’s coming up with creative ways to advertise on Facebook and Instagram. It’s developing your social media strategy. It’s investing in SEO that is planned around searches for your skillset and unique offerings. It’s having a great website that shows off your brand and your personality. It’s making your brand shine and differentiating yourself.
Right now, most of those big companies don’t even have blogs, or if they do, the posts aren’t very good or they are all focused on market data. It’s still possible to discover a niche and make yourself the absolute expert in it.
So, develop your online strategy around you. Around yourself, and what makes you and your business unique and special. Show your value and establish your expertise. For the future you, it’s the best lead generation strategy you can invest in right now.
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