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.
In the previous version of our XML Sitemaps, we were building each sitemap index page on the fly, which was accurate, but also was slower than we wanted it to be. Especially, because to render any sitemap page, it required any and all of the previous sitemap index pages before it to be built before that page could be rendered and provided to the browser or search engine. So page 35 previously required pages 1-34 to be built during the request for page 35 which often caused it to be very slow for large MLSs. Yeah, we know… not great.
Our team performed extensive benchmark testing on the load-time of the sitemap pages (ours and our competitors) on a variety of sites. For smaller MLS’s the change in load time between the first and last page was nominal, but for larger MLSs with over 100, 000 listings, the difference in load times was not good and the improvements have been remarkable. The new sitemaps now use a novel combination of backend technology approaches to ensure that the last page in every sitemap loads as fast as the first page. This should have a positive impact on the indexability of all listing pages on your website. We also stack up exceedingly well against any IDX or website provider in terms of sitemap page load time, and we have to assume accuracy because we as accurate as we can be at this point.
How we do it?
We are now caching all the listings for each MLS in pages of 2500 listings per page. So, now when a sitemap is created, we first grab a page from the cache, get the 2500 listings and then build the sitemap page. The tricky part is, due to search restrictions that our agents apply to the search results in the website settings, not every listing in the MLS is shown for each website. So, once we get the cached page of 2500 listings, we perform a search for those 2500 using the website’s settings which may filter the results to be slightly smaller than 2500. We then render the sitemap page that Google sees.
There are some key benefits to our new approach:
Sitemap pageload speed
Our approach lets us provide a uniformly fast page load speed across all XML Sitemap pages on your website.
Fresh and accurate listing page URL data
We are updating our cache with new listings at the same frequency we are updating our MLSs. In order to make sure we always have accuracy, we’ve added an additional level of checks by completely breaking down our MLS listing cache and rebuilding it from scratch every 24 hours just to be sure that we have everything. This is done in the background and there is never a point where your Sitemaps are inaccessible.
Performing the search on these cached results has other benefits as well. It ensures that even though we are using a cache that has a listing that has been removed, we will never show it in the sitemap, this is because in the process of rendering the sitemap we apply a search to all the active cached listings and your website’s search restrictions will automatically ensure that listings that don’t meet your settings or if it’s somehow no longer available and it will not be added to the sitemap.
This is one of those under-the-hood enhancements that usually doesn’t get a lot of attention, but we are confident that this should improve the indexability potential of your listing pages in Google Search Console across the board.