Showcase IDX’s Google XML Sitemaps Updated

Showcase IDX has launched a fully updated (rebuilt from scratch) and significantly improved version of our automated IDX listing page XML Sitemaps for Google Search Console. This update is already live and there is nothing that you need to do to enable this new version. 

Introducing Matt Booth, Our New Director of Sales and Marketing

We’re excited to welcome and introduce Showcase’s newest team member, Matt Booth. Matt will be joining Showcase as our new, and first, Director of Sales and Marketing! He will be the cornerstone of our our sales and marketing efforts, helping build new strategies and a team from scratch. He will also be working with future and existing reseller partners and agent, team and brokerage customers to make sure they get the most out of Showcase for their business and playing a key role in our product team as a customer advocate. 

Introducing Streamlined Search: Powerfully Simple IDX Search

 

People looking for homes want a simple search experience. One that gives them what they’re looking for fast and without having to think too much. Now with Streamlined Search, you can provide your website visitors with a home search experience that rivals the large portals like no other IDX solution can. With Streamlined Search, we have solved some of the biggest IDX issues facing agents on their own websites: standardized data, mobile usability, and user experience. See Streamlined Search in action on a live real estate website, here.

 

Standardized Data

Streamlined Search uses a new proprietary set of MLS fields within Showcase IDX that standardizes feature fields from across all of our MLS partners, and makes it so these fields can be easily and accurately searched across multiple MLS’s. This data project is the foundation of our new search capabilities, allowing for complex searches to be performed quickly across MLS that until now have had different data formats that made searching across them tedious and prone to error.

 

Mobile Usability

Streamlined Search now puts all of the power and convenience of a desktop search, into the mobile experience. Our approach makes the entire website search experience work seamlessly with each other regardless if you’re using a desktop, phone, tablet, or VR device. In designing the mobile Streamlined Search experience, we looked at ways to simplify the interactions with the search that makes sense when you’re using the search in your hand.

Gone are long drop-down menus for adding a price range, replaced with a numeric keyboard to quickly add the price. We’ve also added the ability on other range fields to simply tap the + and – buttons to increase and decrease the values to quickly set the values without having to type in a number (but you can do that too if you like).

 

 

User Experience

Based on a year’s worth of user behavior analysis, customer feedback and iteration since the launch of our 3.0 version in 2017, Streamlined Search gives agents and teams a powerful search that anyone who has searched on the large search portals (Zillow, Redfin, etc) will find familiar, along with a few new useful twists and surprises. The design of the search shows how much thought was put into having a search experience that delivers across all devices and just makes sense.

 

 

Less is More… More Search Options

Instead of our existing search’s Advanced Search menu, we now have a more prominent More button. Clicking this opens up a series of options, with property, listing, and amenity feature tabs, that give the user the ability to perform detailed and very specific searches across multiple MLS’s. These tabs have the search options that we found that are used over 95% of the time. For those other searches, we’ve added the ability to search for multiple keywords or key-phrases within a listing.

 

 

Must Haves

One way we’re making it easier for consumers to find the right home for them is through our must have filters. These filters use our standardized MLS data to provide accurate results combined across all of our MLS’s.

 

Speed

Streamlined Search is fast. Real fast… even on a mobile device.

 

A Choice Of Searches

Showcase IDX customers will be able to choose which search they have on the front-end of their websites. Streamlined Search is opt-in, which means customers will have to go into their Search Settings and choose which search they want their visitors to use for it to show up on their website. To upgrade to the new search, just go to the Showcase IDX Admin, select the website you want to switch to Streamlined Search and go to Settings>Search and you’ll see the option at the top.

 

A Powerful Back End Combination

Even though there will be only one search on the front-end of the website for visitors to use, agents will be able to choose on a case-by-case basis which style of search they want to use on the back-end for creating hotsheets and recommended searches. This means that if you want to use our very detailed advanced search filters to set up a hotsheet or recommended search, you can still do this. it’s entirely your choice which style of search you use. All of your current saved searches and hotsheets will not be affected by the new Streamlined Search.

 

 

New Streamlined Sign-Up Form Design

 

We’ve been looking at it for a while… and we have made some key improvements and simplifications today to our sign-up (and sign-in) form today that should positively impact lead registrations. These changes were based on a lot of customer feedback and end-user behavioral data that we’ve been analyzing for a while now since launching our 3.0 version last year.

There are two things that aren’t readily obvious… we’ve made sure that if you want to hide the google sign in or email account form, you can do this easily with CSS. We have some customers who only want the facebook button option, so this is now very easy to make happen.

Please let us know how these new changes work for you… we’ll be continuing to track the effectiveness of this change and overall lead conversion on our end.

Recommended Search Email Handling Updates

We have made a change to how we handle the sending of recommended searches. previously, each and every agent-created recommended search had to be implicitly opted-into by the recipient. While this was following the letter of the law, this was causing a lot of hassles. We have relaxed these rules and now will send recommended search subscription emails to your signed up leads with no opt-in required.

We are considering the lead sign-up as an agreement to receive and have updated our terms of use accordingly. If the recipient is not a current lead, they will still have to respond to the opt-in email.

We are also working on a more comprehensive solution that will give agents more control over how these emails get sent out. If agents choose to spam recipients they will be hurting their own domain’s email spam reputation (not ours). This project involves making it so agents on our premium plan can send emails from the relevant website’s domain, complete with return-path support. We’re hoping to get this project completed in the next few weeks.

GDPR, Showcase IDX & Our Customers

Firstly, just like every other online service, as it seems in the last week, we have updated our Privacy Policy into a new behemoth 8,500-word document that outlines how we deal with online privacy. Europeans are very concerned about online privacy. It’s not like we’re not concerned about it in the United States, but the new General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) from the European Union is a new wide-reaching online privacy law. We talked about it in this recent blog post.

Settings Change: # of Results and Pricing Options Now On All Plans

Until now, the ability to set the number of results displayed in the search was restricted to the premium plan. This feature is now available on all plans. We have also opened up the ability to choose the pricing dropdown option to all plans as well.

In looking at it, we just didn’t think those options were the best things to have on the premium plan and were hurting us and our customers more than helping add value to the premium plan/Showcase IDX.

Rebeginnings… A Brand New Showcase IDX Blog

This an entirely new blog for Showcase IDX… and it’s not really been our choice. There was a catastrophic failure at our WordPress website host which caused us to lose our website… and all our off-site backups in another cruel twist of fate. This only affected our website, not the Showcase IDX product which is hosted on Google Cloud Platform. That hasn’t gone down and is rock solid (and backed up with multiple redundancies).

After days of trying to get it back, it was clear that it had gone to the website graveyard in the sky. We weren’t getting it back. So welcome to our new website. We lost about 6 years of blog posts, pages, images, and effort. But we’re putting a silver lining on this even though it’s fair to say it’s been a shitty week.

Our new server and host is much better than the last one… we’re backed up in multiple places and now we get to redo all our content. Expect new blog content coming online every week.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll continue to flesh out the remaining parts of the website. If you have questions, please contact us at help@showcaseidx.com or give us a call at 1-800-478-0181.

– Scott

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