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Real Estate Website Design: IDX & Property Displays Do’s & Don’ts

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Real Estate Website Design: Property Search  

Part 2 of a 3 part series

IDX (Internet Data Exchange) uses a type of data feed provided by your MLS membership to display information about real estate for sale on a website. This data feed typically mirrors the data available on your MLS’s website. If your MLS provides access to this data feed, you may use that access to promote all listings on your website, not just your featured listings.


It is an IDX vendor or company that has technology allowing property search functionality, property detail pages plus more on a real estate website.

Not all IDX vendors are created equal.

As earlier discovered, property search is front and center on the homepage of the top 3 most popular online real estate website destinations. Because every IDX vendor has its own unique technologies that ultimately impact the visual look and feel of property search features, property detail pages plus more, choosing the right IDX vendor is an intricate fascicle to real estate website design.

Features normally controlled by an IDX vendor include:

  • the layout of property detail pages
  • map search functionality
  • the ability to search by price and other sorting capabilities such as waterfront, subdivisions, neighborhoods, property type etc.
  • property showcases such as featured properties
  • contact forms
  • social sharing
  • lead registration and generation
  • lead management
  • extras such as mortgage calculators

Real estate website developers either use their own IDX technologies or third party IDX solutions to bring property search and property details into a website. This facet of real estate website design maybe the most important, but often least discussed when choosing a company to build a website for real estate.

Non Existent Verses Searchable IDX Solutions

The property search functionality and property listing page design elements utilized by an IDX supplier plays a critical role in the overall usability of the real estate website design. However when choosing the IDX vendor, or a real estate website developer that will convert MLS data feed onto a website, understanding how the IDX vendor adds this data to a website is important.

Framed Verses Non-Framed Property Competencies

Some IDX vendors use frames (aka iframes) to embed property details onto a website. Google and others have problems reading content contained within a frame, making this content invisible to the search engines. This means Google may not know about the properties listed on your real estate website if frames are used.

 Non-framed IDX cohesive listings are view-able by Google and other prevalent online reference resources. Landing pages, such as property displayed page results, created by quick links or predefined searches can be optimized and entirely detectable for the search engines to deliver targeted traffic to the website.

A quote from Google regarding framed website content:

Google supports frames and iframes to the extent that it can. Frames can cause problems for search engines because they don’t correspond to the conceptual model of the web. In this model, one page displays only one URL. Pages that use frames or iframes display several URLs (one for each frame) within a single page. Google tries to associate framed content with the page containing the frames, but we don’t guarantee that we will.


How Real Estate Website Design Affects Real Estate SEO

Often people search for property listing information by address. If Google does not know a website has information about a particular property listing, because the listing content uses frames, Google is probably not going to display that website in its search results. Therefore, when a prospective buyer has driven by a property or heard about a particular property for sale and uses to Google to search online for information about the property, a website using frames is more unlikely to appear in the search results.


There are numerous real estate website design elements that influence real estate SEO. A prime example is when Google and other major search engines cannot read content that uses frames to display property listing information on a real estate website. Most brokers are unaware how IDX effects both real estate website design and the sites ability to rank high in search engines. Randi Thornton realWITS Founder

How to Detect Frame Usage on a Real Estate Website

Website design for real estateThe easiest way to determine of a real estate website uses frames to pull in and display properties is to call the websites IDX vendor or real estate website developer and ask if they “use iframes, or frames” to display property listings. There can only be two responses, either yes or no, making this is a straight-forward discovery method.

Another is intuition. When a real estate website struggles to get high search rankings on Google for active listings, may be a signal frames are being used.

Real Estate Website Design: Property Detail Pages

Human beings are visual creatures. When we read, our mind robotic-ally transforms words into mental images. This is the main reason why Internet marketers include visual content in their campaigns. Online real estate marketing is no different.

Pictures Sell Homes

Interesting visual tidbits’

  • Visuals are processed faster in the brain than text.
  • According to a research by 3M Corporation, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text because our brain deciphers image elements simultaneously.
  • Text content is decoded in a linear, sequential manner which takes more time to process.
  • 90% of information that comes to the brain is visual.
  • People respond better to visual cues.
  • Visual content stimulates engagement.

Pictures Leaves a Buyer Wanting to See More

In your opinion which property details page is more apt to grab the attention of a prospective buyer?

A or B?


Real Estate Website Design A


Real Estate Website Design B

Amazon, Pinterest, Instagram, the usage of infographics, Google image search and the list goes on of successful online marketing strategies that use imagery to engage web visitors. This is proof people engage with imagery. The best real estate website design incorporates visually appealing concepts to engage its online visitors.

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Learn more about effective real estate website design.


Next week… How Real Estate Website Design Effects Lead Generation. Don’t miss it, get email real estate website design news. Enter email below.

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