Map-based MLS Search 2.0

Map-based MLS Search 2.0 Introducing the RealBird Map-based MLS Search 2.0

It's been a while since our last major update of the RealBird Map-based MLS Search service. I am pleased to announce that the new version is now available for real estate agents and brokers in our current MLS coverage areas. (More MLS coverage is added ongoing)

There are many, many new features and novel benefits of this new release. I am going to post tutorials on a regular basis of concepts and techniques about how to best utilize these features. At this time, let me  emphasize a unique marketing concept, which enables real estate agents to reach out for home buyers beyond their website, via syndicated featured listings, viral marketing and social networks.

The problem

Your IDX solution is only as good as the level of traffic you receive on your website. Unless you have sufficient traffic coming to your site, the most advanced technology locked up on your site will not bring you business, simply because nobody knows about the value it provides. One of the most powerful real estate marketing techniques is blogging and not just because you can show off your expertise and niche while building brand and trust (the content), but for being a technology solution which reaches out for buyers and pulls them back to your online presence, your blog or website, where you can provide them with additional services (the reach). Since blogs are syndicated by default, expressed via machine readable RSS and loved by search engines, your content (and online business identity) can go a really long way to reach consumers by feed readers, aggregators, fellow bloggers sharing and tracking back your content and most importantly by search engines. In short: you "push" your information via blogs to meaningful destinations where consumers search and research and "pull" them back to your website for more. This is very powerful, no question about it.

Following this marketing concept established by real estate blogs, we decided to port the technique to single property websites:

The solution

For the first time in the industry, the RealBird Listing Publisher enables you to create Single Property Websites with Map-based MLS Search embedded for instant, live showcase of nearby for sale properties.  Take the following scenario for example:

  1. You create a single property website with RealBird and embed the Map-based MLS Search application
  2. Your listing site is automatically syndicated to Google Base, Zillow, Trulia, Geebo, Oodle, Vast and more and you can easily post it to Craigslist, Kijiji and Backpage for even more traffic
  3. A home buyer finds your featured listing on any of those highly popular portals
  4. The home buyer clicks thru to visit your RealBird single property website
  5. If your featured listing is not a perfect match, the home buyer is provided with an instant option to see similar for sale properties without ever leaving your site. In other words, you capture a portion of the traffic of home buyers from major portals. That portion can be huge relative to your regular website traffic.

Your IDX search solution (the home buyer lead capturing tool) is pushed one click closer to high profile destinations, to portals where most of the online home buyers start their search. Similar to blogging, the RealBird Listing Publisher pushes your information to 3rd party sites with high consumer traffic (portals and search engines) and "pulls" home buyers back to your full IDX solution.

Since the RealBird Listing Publisher also allows you to manage and promote your pending and sold inventory, listings sites which are already indexed by major search engines will continue to bring cumulative traffic and leads to your IDX solutions via your single property websites even after your own listing is sold !

The Listing Publisher is available for agents and brokers in the US, nationwide. For the embedded MLS Search option, please check the coverage on RealBird .com (You can also request coverage there. We'll do our best to implement new MLSs as soon as possible, based on user demand)

Below are a few examples of live single property websites with the Map-based Search integrated:

Stay tuned for the upcoming tutorials on other new features such the visually stunning MLS Hotlist widgets.


-- Zoltan Szendro

RealBird.com


Ocean View and Pacific Breeze

3 new luxury real estate sites have been released. All three of them are covering different areas of the West Coast: Santa Cruz, Seattle and San Diego

LuxurySantaCruz.com

LuxurySantaCruz.com

It is a service of Patti Lyles and powered by RealBird's technology. LuxurySantaCruz.com showcases homes and condos priced $2 million or more. Listings are from the RE InfoLink MLS (IDX) and the database is updated daily.

LuxuryCasas.com

LuxuryCasas.com

Focusing on the North County area of San Diego, LuxuryCasas.com maps are updated daily with $2 million plus residential  properties. It is a service of Roberta Murphy (The Murphy Group)

LuxuriousSeattleHomes.com

LuxuriousSeattleHomes.com

LuxuriousSeattleHomes.com is a service of Brian Wiegand (SeattleHomes.com) To see the daily updated list of luxury properties in the Seattle area, visit LuxuriousSeattleHomes.com


-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com


Top 25 RealBird users and referral stats

RealBird Listing Publisher stats

We did some digging in the log reports (Google Analytics and Clicky) to see how different 3rd party classifieds sites (the ones RealBird distributes your listings to) compare in terms of referral traffic. The numbers are based on the unique visitor referral traffic, relative to each others.

  1. Craigslist - 26% - Manual posting only takes a few minutes per listing using the HTML code  and instructions provided by RealBird. This is a must have for anybody serious about online listing marketing and RealBird makes it very easy and quick for you to do so.
  2. Trulia - 22% - It's automatic. Just post your listing on RealBird and it appears on Trulia with no additional actions required
  3. Edgeio - 19% - Automatic distribution.
  4. Vast.com - 17% - Automatic distribution.
  5. Google - 7% - Automatic distribution. Includes referrals from Google Base, Google  organic search results and Google Maps.
  6. Oodle - 5% - Automatic distribution.
  7. Backpage - 1% - Manual posting only takes a few minutes per listing using RealBird's code.
  8. SearchOnMaps.com - 1% - Automatic distribution. RealBird's recently released real estate yellow pages, property and home valuation portal
  9. Lycos - 1% - Automatic distribution.
  10. IceRocket - 1% - Automatic distribution.

Craigslist requires a little extra time (1-2 minutes per listing) to manually post to and the code provided for RealBird listings makes it very easy and effective. Just publish your listing with RealBird, upload the property photos and click "Post it on Craigslist". The HTML code is automatically generated and following the 4-step instruction, you can be done in minutes from start to finish. Get the attention your listings deserve.

RealBird Map-based MLS Search stats

Below is a list of the top 25 RealBird members based on the number of unique visitors on their RealBird Map-based MLS search widget (within the last month). Please note, that  the high traffic is most likely due to the fact, that their websites or blogs receive a lot of traffic anyway, but following the best practices of how to deploy the RealBird service can improve usability and visibility and therefore can generate more leads. We thought we congratulate them by listing their websites and help others to see how to best utilize the RealBird Map-based IDX search service. We keep the exact numbers confidential as it may be their trade secret. The list is in alphabetical order.

Start your free RealBird membership

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com


Map-based MLS Search widget integration - the right way

Continuing our case studies of the best RealBird implementations, I review two sites, which demonstrate innovative and effective ways of integrating the RealBird Map-based Search widget into their overall user experience.

SeattleHome.com

SeattleHome.com screen shot

What we like:

  • Deep integration in terms of content and graphical design
    The site has a consistent overall look and the RealBird service is an integrated part of it, across the whole site. The second option of the quick search methods on the homepage is powered by the RealBird Map-based Search service and the clean design drives user interaction to the desired result the fastest way possible. This is user experience engineering at its best.
  • Separate map-based search widgets for all cities
    The site is fully utilizing one of the key feature of our map-based search widget, i.e., the option to set up multiple maps for a certain geographic locations or search criteria. Every major neighborhood served has it's own "quick search" page for searching by price, searching by map and market stats.

The service is using the NWMLS IDX feed.

See it for yourself

1SiliconValley.com

Steve Leung is using his popular real estate blog as the front end for his online real estate presence. This is a new trend among real estate websites and I believe this is where the industry is heading. Using a blogging platform with regularly updated hyper-local content delivers search engine traffic and provides information as a real, distinct value for visitors (vs. static, canned content pages of regular websites). Blogging platforms also enable collaboration with home buyers, sellers and prospects via comments and widgets and therefore significantly increases the user engagement. That eventually leads to better lead conversion. Steve integrates the RealBird Map-based Search widget as the MLS search tool under the "Search Inventory of Homes". I love the simple but highly effective content design and the no non-sense approach to providing the value for home buyers and seller without overloading the site with irrelevant stuff and canned content. It's focused and that 's why it works.

1SiliconValley.com screen shot

Both of the above examples demonstrate another feature of the RealBird Map-based Search service: RealBird works nicely with other IDX vendors.  Both Brian and Steve have set up the RealBird service in a way that  the "More Info" link in the property's popup window leads to the IDX property detail page provided via their existing IDX vendor. Having such set up utilizes the easy-to-use, advanced user experience the RealBird Map-based Search widget provides, while providing more functionalities via the IDX backend (such as full details, property and search saving and notification services.) I think such integration of the full search cycle creates a perfect combination for great user experience.

The service is using the REIL IDX feed..

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We are interested in your way of integrating the RealBird service into your blog and website. If you think, you are utilizing the service in a unique and effective way, drop us a email or leave a comment below. We'd love to hear your success stories and to feature your site.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com

Sign up for a RealBird Map-based Search trial or request MLS coverage here

or try the RealBird Listing Publisher - our next generation online listing marketing tool, with syndication and advanced listing presentation features