IDX Real Estate MLS plugins: The good, the bad, the ugly

Real Estate houses and individual brokers alike can provide their website visitors with added value by offering them the ability to search additional properties in their area via MLS plugins for their wordpress site. In theory, adding this plugin to your wordpress powered website is going to create more pages that will rank in the search engines for those listings and ultimately generate more buyer and seller leads which can and will happen. With that being said, most MLS plugins do more harm than good.

The Problem:

When you add MLS plugins to your site, you are essentially adding hundreds (or thousands) of ‘phantom’ pages that appear on hundreds of sites across the internet with the same duplicate content and information on every single site. So yes, you are adding more content to your visitors, however in Google’s eyes, it’s duplicate content.

In addition, Google will often index these IDX listings in search results, which sounds good on paper, however, when a listing is removed from the IDX, Google thinks that page is now dead. The once indexed page that was doing you little to no good is now your worst enemy.

The Solution:

You need to update the robots.txt file to disallow the search engine robots to crawl and index those pages. Here is an example of how can you accomplish this (assuming the directory your MLS plugin is in is /idx/):

User-agent: *
Disallow: /idx/
Disallow: /idx

After you block the search engine robots from crawling and indexing your site, please make sure you visit the Google webmaster tool link removal request tool — https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals — and add the individual URL(s) or directory you wish to block the search engines from crawling and indexing.

2 thoughts on “IDX Real Estate MLS plugins: The good, the bad, the ugly

  1. I’ve been putting together a realtor wordpress site and found your information. Very interesting! So, by disallowing the robots/crawlers to index these pages, the idx plugin will not give any benefit to the website traffic and ranking…is that correct? Then the idx plugin is purely a tool for people to browse the mls listings once they find the site?

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