Using IDX to Feature Local Communities
Create Custom Links That Feature Local Communities!
Let’s start right out with the age-old quote that “real estate is local.” While the Internet has made it possible for an individual to search for real estate listings in any city around the world, real estate is still local. Sellers live in neighborhoods, and buyers buy to live in neighborhoods. Internet searching has evolved as well, and real estate searches are more localized to not just cities, but neighborhoods and subdivisions too.
A very successful approach for the real estate website is to use your IDX plugin to create a localized page. Let’s use the MLS that services Orange County as an example. It covers a very large area, and that just provides more opportunity for the member agents. However, people are searching the Web for homes for sale in much more targeted areas. Sure, you can use the city of Orange as your area of focus, but let’s zoom in a bit more, to the Old Towne community.
The blue border in the image outlines the Old Towne area of Orange, CA. It’s in the heart of the city and there is always plenty of interest there, as it has been designated as an historic district. The City-Data map above shows the one square mile area, and other sites tell us that there are more than 3000 residences in this area.
What we want to do in creating a local page for our site is to feature mapping of the area, descriptions of the neighborhood, demographic data, businesses and shopping, as well as a lot of photo and video content. Think of it as creating a single destination comprehensive description of a place where people want to live and recreate. Consider this from a buyer, who has actually never been there perspective. They’re researching from afar, and the more information they can get in one place, the more highly they’ll value that website.
One way to approach this is to emulate in part how Wikipedia or City-Data profile areas and neighborhoods. Your goal is to thoroughly present the area and lifestyle of its residents to someone who hasn’t been there but wants to consider it for their future home. If Wikipedia and City-Data have already done it, why should you bother? Simply, you can do it better, in that you can provide one more component that’s of great value to your site visitor. That’s your IDX search function.
Using dsIDXPress or dsIDXPress Pro, you can create a customized IDX search results display for just that neighborhood. Now your visitors can learn all about the area, but search listings in that neighborhood as well. Using the advanced features of dsIDXPress, they can relate their neighborhood information to homes, including which are nearest shopping or entertainment they value.
The Localized Search Advantage – Two Methods
There are two ways to approach the display of a localized search. Depending on the amount of content you have on your local page and how much scrolling your visitor will have to do to view it, you can either embed search results right into the page or place a Module in a WordPress Widget and display it in the sidebar. You could even do both, placing the on-page search results at the bottom of the other content and a sidebar module as well.
Embed in Page Content
There is more than one way to display these results as well. This display is placed into the post or page with embed code provided when you create a custom search link:
Decide how you are identifying your neighborhood or area, with a zip code or town or area name, and you can create a link to search results just for that area. Notice in the image that you’re given the HTML code to embed the search into the page. It’s easy to create the link and to designate the area, as this image shows:
Module in the Sidebar
The other method is to show a search results module in the sidebar:
Using the Map Search Plus module, you can use city, state or zip code to create a sidebar map module with targeted listings for the area you’re featuring on the page. The visitor can click on the map listings and view full displays of listing information.
All of this has been about the value of this page to your visitors, but don’t forget what Google and the search engines value. The highly targeted and relevant information presented on this page will cause it to rise in search results for searches about this specific area. Wouldn’t you rather have a very focused visitor who really wants to know more about Old Towne than someone wandering around the entire Orange County MLS?
Still not convinced that our IDX Plugin is right for you? Try a free demo here.