Competing with the real estate portals and aggregators and creating an individual identity can be exceptionally frustrating for any Realtor. Not many people think about how the aggregators make it increasingly frustrating for the consumer too because the search engines continually take homebuyers to the aggregators website's where only a fraction of the market is made visible.
The reason that the aggregator's win over the individual's website is because they supply a lot of relevant content about real estate and make addresses and MLS numbers visible to the search engines. Not many Realtor's have the budget to maintain a site with numerous and optimized listings and the individual Realtor is lost among hundreds of competing listings for the same market.
The individual Realtor can compete with the Big Dogs by using content that is already available to them...the MLS. Most Realtors do not take advantage of the content rich MLS database because they simply do not know how, or worse yet, they think that since they can see the MLS listings on their own website, the search engines can too. This is not true.
Search engines see IDX displays as a cosmetic patch which reroute the homebuyer to the original source of the data, not you! The homebuyer may still be on your website, but the search engine's are not giving you credit for the content. That's if a homebuyer can even find you instead of your competitor that pays thousands every month for search engine optimization or has a website that's been up since 2001.
So your customer that is searching for real estate in your area of service must already know you and have a relationship with you to find and use your real estate website. Let's face it, the typical homebuyer is not searching for Your Name Here, they are looking for a home to buy that meets their needs. The Realtor comes second. So why do Realtors market themselves instead of the property? Because it is simply too complex and tedious to manually enter and update specifics on a certain property within a website. That is until now. There is a technology that makes MLS listings visible to the search engines, not only by address and MLS number, but by features of the property as well. And it's done all automatically without the Realtor needing to know anything about websites, optimization or any other "techie" aspect of marketing on the web.
Think about how you perform your own searches on the Internet. Do you Google "chairs" or do you Google "leather reclining lounge chair?" The Internet culture has evolved, and people search for homes much the same way, with great specificity. Having a real estate website that provides hundreds of avenues for the consumer to find what they are looking for is the key to success in the modern market. Using the MLS...a membership you are already paying for to provide the content to match homebuyer's queries is pure genius.