Frequently Asked Questions
What is Search Alliance?
The Search Alliance network links together all of the agent member IDX Home Search sites seamlessly to create the equivalent of a nationwide portal—built by agents for the benefit of agents.
Consumers can enter the network on any Search Alliance member IDX site and stay in the network while searching for homes anywhere in the country. The Search Alliance network is therefore a lead generation platform where agents cooperatively share traffic in order to efficiently obtain quality traffic from their individually selected service areas.
Visitors from the Search Alliance network are taken directly to your site when the consumer searches for property in your selected service area. Due to overlapping agent service areas, a visitor might qualify to land on more than one agent site. The system is designed to consider relative service areas, the amount bid per unique visitor, and other factors to instantly place the visitor on the appropriate agent site.
In any case, you will ONLY pay for a visitor when a network visitor is placed on your site and the visitor interacts with your site (e.g.: performs a search, checks the agent profile, etc.). Additionally, you control where your visitors come from and how much you are willing to pay for them.
How do I get traffic?
Either through your own marketing or the network. There is no charge for traffic generated by your own marketing. Be sure you link to your agent search page, your Facebook business page, or even a detailed listing on your IDX site when marketing.
To get traffic from the network you must select a service area, enter a bid/budget and provide a valid credit card. When you win a bid for traffic the network will automatically place the consumer on your page and you will be charged only if the lead interacts with your site (e.g.: performs a search, checks the agent profile, etc.).
How much does a visitor cost?
Visitors which are generated as a result of your own marketing are free.
When you win visitor traffic from the Search Alliance network, you will pay $0.10 more than the next highest bidder. For example: if you bid $7 to win a visitors and the next highest bid was $4, you will only pay $4.10 ($4 plus $0.10) as the winning bidder for that visitor.
Why am I seeing other agents on my site?
There are two scenarios which would cause a consumer to be placed on another agent’s site:
- The consumer selected a listing that is NOT in your MLS. The Search Alliance network is a nationwide marketing network covering well over 160 MLSs. In some markets, more than one MLS may overlap into your service area. Accordingly, if a consumer selects a listing that is NOT in your MLS, the system places the consumer on another agent’s site as agents are only permitted to display listings from THEIR own MLS!
- A visitor from the network searches outside your service area. Traditional agent IDX sites ONLY show listings from a single MLS, making it hard to compete with portal sites. The Search Alliance network allows members of the Search Alliance to collectively compete with Portals by providing consumers a seamless search experience across all MLSs markets. Additionally, Search Alliance network agents are cooperating in order to efficiently ensure members get only relevant traffic. In order to guarantee that agents get visitors only from their selected service area, the system will intentionally move consumers from one member site to another based on where the consumer is searching. When consumers throughout the country search within your service area they can be placed on YOUR site. Likewise, if a consumer on your site searches outside your service area, the consumer will be placed on a different agent’s site.
Actually, although it may look like another agent is on YOUR site, it’s another networked site. You can confirm this by looking at the website address near the top of your browser.
What are network credits?
The Search Alliance network is an agent-driven cooperative marketing program. When consumers come to your site and then search outside your service area, they will be placed on another agent’s site. Likewise, consumers from other sites will be sent to your site when they the opposite occurs. This cooperation is how the Search Alliance ensures visitors will match your selected service area.
Unlike a traditional website, you earn network credits when a consumer leaves your site and searches for listings in another service area. Network credits are automatically tracked for you by the Search Alliance network and will be used to help you win more traffic from your selected service area.
For example: if you bid $8 for a visitor and are competing with another agent with a similar service area who bid $10, you would normally lose that visitor to the other agent. If, however, you have previously earned 3 network credits then the system will use those credits to raise your bid to $10.10. This is how network credits help you win traffic.
What is my Service Area?
Your service area is a geographic territory you select and determines where your visitors will come from.
Just like a typical IDX site, most visitors will come to your site as a result of your own marketing. When you market to consumers with links, ads, etc., they will be directed to your Facebook page, your agent landing page, or even directly to a detailed listing on your site. There is no charge for these visitors.
Visitors from the Search Alliance network are unique in that they originate on the network and are guaranteed to come ONLY from consumers who searched for homes in your selected service area. It is important to select the proper service area!
You can change your service area at any time using this link: http://bit.ly/2dYwdHt
Why are some visitors identified and some aren’t?
Consumers searching for homes on a Search Alliance connected site can identify themselves in several ways, including: logging in via Facebook, reaching out to agents/friends via email or other methods of social media sharing.
We will notify you whenever a consumer arrives and interacts with your site. Interactions include: performing a search, viewing a property detail display, checking out your profile, etc. If the consumer has identified themselves, we will share that information with you. If the consumer has not identified themselves, we will assign the visitor a unique icon in your Leads Dashboard.
Each visitor has physically been to your site, been exposed to your picture and contact information and has the ability to reach out to you directly. In any case, we will provide you with the history of their searches as well as other relevant information—even if they have not identified themselves.
If a previously unidentified visitors should later identify themselves (even when on another agent’s site), we will update the their history in your Leads Dashboard with the new information and send you a notification.
Where can I see all my visitors and their history on my site?
You will receive email notification whenever you received new visitors. Additionally, all visitor activity is maintained for you and can be viewed and managed in the Leads Dashboard available in your Control Panel.
You can visit the Leads Dashboard anytime by using this link: http://bit.ly/2dG6RK6
What is a Bid/Budget?
National portals charge hefty monthly subscription fees with no guarantee of how much traffic you will receive each month.
You are never charged for visitors that come to your page through your own marketing. Charges only apply to visitors sent to your page by the Search Alliance network.
As a member of the Search Alliance network, you will ONLY pay for traffic when you get it and YOU determine how much you are willing to pay for a visitor. By entering a Bid/Budget you are guaranteed to never pay more than your bid amount for a visitor and are guaranteed to never pay more than your Budget over 30 days.
Generally speaking, the more you bid for visitors, the more likely you are to win the next visitor. With the Search Alliance network, you control your cost per visitor, your budget and where your visitors come from!
You can adjust your bid/budget anytime here: http://bit.ly/2cQw3gk
Bids and budgets are subject to minimum levels to participate, based upon the projected supply and demand for traffic and leads in your market area.
What is my Search Alliance website address?
Every Search Alliance member gets a unique custom website.
You can find your custom URL by visiting your agent profile using this link: http://bit.ly/2e3L2aX
Your URL can be changed at any time by modifying the text in the Custom URL field. Be sure to click ‘Submit and Continue’ to save your changes!
Use this link to share on social media sites and to direct traffic to your IDX Home Search.
Important Search Alliance Links
Join the Search Alliance – http://bit.ly/2dRNzXc
Go to your Agent Dashboard – http://bit.ly/1iV1kvx
Set or adjust your Bid/Budget – http://bit.ly/2dtKERU
Set your Service Area – http://bit.ly/2dtLy46
Visit your Leads Dashboard – http://bit.ly/2dtLyxV
Learn about other Services – http://bit.ly/2dSudxz