What Is IDX Framing (iFrame) Technology?
Although various IDX technologies are offered by different IDX vendors, IDX framing is one of the most common technologies for displaying MLS listings on realtor websites. With IDX framing, an IDX provider creates a portal on a local realtor site for viewing listings that are stored somewhere else.
This technology involves use of an iFrame or inline frame. An iFrame is an HTML (hypertext markup language) element that allows the local agency webmaster to embed HTML documents, such as MLS search windows, on the agency’s website.
The property listing data isn’t actually transferred to the local website but is projected onto the site for prospective buyers to view. The iFrame IDX method is analogous to how a movie is projected onto a screen at a theater: the actual film resides on the movie projector, but the image on the screen is only a projected image.
Thus, with IDX framing, the term Internet Data Exchange can be misleading because only small amounts of data are actually exchanged. An IDX iFrame is easy to use. Installing it involves simply copying and pasting an embedded code into a webpage.
However, because the iFrame technology comes in a predefined form, the data might not coincide with the design of your website in terms of color, fonts and layout.
Above all, there is a popular misconception in the industry, pertaining the value of IDX iFrames from the Search Engine Optimization point of view. Many providers of IDX solutions, strive to convince real estate professionals that a huge drawback of IDX Framing is its lack of ability to provide search engine ranking.
According to them, because there’s no actual transfer of data to a Realtor’s local website, property listings made with an iFrame don’t show up in search engine results, which in turn, makes it harder for people to find the website online. However, they omit a crucial fact, knowing which, automatically changes the situation 180 degrees.
They don’t mention that the listings’ information, taken from an MLS by numerous real estate sites would not bring any SEO benefit simply because this data is considered by search engines as a duplicate content. Therefore, even if search engines index that duplicate property info, it wouldn’t provide any SEO benefit to real estate websites.
In fact, when evaluating IDX Framing technology from a professional point of view, if the search engine optimization is the concern, the IDX iFrame could be even a better option since it would not create a potential danger of getting a duplicate content penalty from a search engines.
Following are some of the negative and positive points associated with use of IDX framing:
- IDX framing offers no search engine ranking benefits.
- IDX framing doesn’t allow customization of the MLS feed to match the design of the real estate site.
- There’s no need for data maintenance with IDX framing.
- IDX framing has a low overall cost of deployment.
- IDX framing is easy and quick to implement.