For this week’s article I wanted to talk a little bit about marketing. Specifically, listing mapping, how it works, and how it can drastically affect your listing.
I am constantly in some sort of web development phase. I monitor our own website and it’s performance, look at competitor sites, as well as listing sites like Zillow. As a refresher, your listing, and how it appears on these sites is directly linked to how your Realtor enters the data into their local MLS.
Accurately entering this data is important not only for mapping purposes, but property features. For example, if your property has a Teton view, you need to make sure that your agent checks the box under the view category that the property has a Teton view. If the data isn’t entered correctly your listing isn’t going to show up for those using specific search filters. It’s amazing how many agents don’t enter this data correctly, especially once you get into the Idaho Falls market… Sorry guys, it’s true.
Back to mapping and its importance. Just like customers using filters to look for properties, many customers (if not most) used some sort of map feature to search for real estate. Like inconsistencies with property features, it’s amazing how many real estate agents don’t properly map their (your) listings. Almost every MLS tries to map listings automatically, and there is a second step available to verify the location of each listing entry. Because we are in a rural area, many listings are either not mapped by this system at all, or mapped improperly. All of the websites that display your listing receive their data from each MLS in simple data feeds. These feeds include property features, acreage, square feet and so forth. The mapping data, however, is provided in latitude and longitude coordinates. If a listing is properly mapped, these coordinates are sent to the secondary website like Zillow. If they aren’t, a variety of things can happen, none of which are good for your listing.
The primary result for most advertising websites if coordinates are not available is to not display them on maps at all. This is the case with Zillow. The listing is still available in the “list” view, which is why you’ll see your listing come up, and many agents don’t realize the mistake they have made. The other result, which is the case on websites like mine, is that these listings are still displayed on the map, but in the wrong location. This can be a minor issue since my website tries to generate it’s own coordinates based on the address, but it can also be a major issue for listings that don’t have an address or haven’t been mapped by Google, many land listings fall under this category. These listings can show up and very odd places, Africa for example. Arguably this is better than not having it display at all, but still a pretty big issue. As we approach the sale season, it might be good to review your listing with your agent, and verify that it is being mapped properly, and that is translating properly to sites like Zillow.