Fixed online time to reflect when it appears in our listing search not when it was created in the MLS

There was an import bug that was causing listings to show up at the time they were created in the MLS and not the time we processed the listing. This has been fixed. This will make the time online badge and recent activity show the correct information. This is a forward change.

Scheduled Cloud Server Platform Maintenance Report (12/13)

At 1am on the morning of 12/13, we performed maintenance updates for the compute cluster running our client facing applications on Google Cloud Platform. This was both a security patch and an effort to somewhat future-proof the cluster. One the major changes to this cluster was to allow it to automatically scale the size of the cluster in order to accommodate for increases in traffic. This allows us to keep a constant level of performance under both light and heavy request loads.

The downtime window that we communicated in advance for this was between 1AM and 5AM. The infrastructure update was accomplished by 1:40AM. Two key issues were identified as a result of this, mostly revolving around database connectivity. Our databases have a high degree of security and require incoming connections to be explicitly allowed (above and beyond just a username and password) or carried out over an internal private cloud network. Another issue was discovered within the underlying technology stack around how we deploy new code into production, or in other words, make it go live.

The issue surrounding database connectivity were resolved around 3:30AM. Issues with the deployment jobs were resolved around 9:30AM. During the window between our previously stated 5AM deadline and the 9:30AM all-clear, backend services were technically available and were in no jeopardy, but to decrease expected errors we disabled external connectivity, which resulted in extra customer downtime.

Goods new is that now all of our frontline application cloud services are fully setup to autoscale under heavy loads which should mean a better experience for all websites using Showcase.

Showcase IDX Now An Official Zapier Integration Partner

Showcase IDX on Zapier.com

We've had a beta integration with Zapier for years, but we're happy to announce that we are now full integration partners that will allow you to do more with Zapier and Showcase IDX.

Zapier allows you to instantly connect Showcase IDX with over 1,000 apps to automate lead and message distribution and be more productive with your lead data.

You can find get all the details on our Zapier.com Integration page

Zapier integrations are also now accessible from the Integrations Page in the agent admin.

New: Search Widgets - Search Button & Results Count

We're happy to announce a couple of new widgets that you can use on your websites to extend the integration of WordPress with Showcase IDX onto any page.

We're looking forward to seeing how creatively our customers will use these on their websites. Each of these new widgets can be created in the Agent Admin: Admin>Select a website>Settings>Shortcodes.

A Showcase IDX WordPress plugin update to Version 3.0.41 is required in order for these new widgets to work.

Search Button

Showcase IDX's new search button widget gives you the ability to create a button that can be linked to any saved search. Additionally, you can change the text on the button to whatever you like. Clicking the button sends the website user to the results for the assigned saved search.

We see agents using this for adding links to search results from neighborhood pages and even their homepage.

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Search Results Count

The Search Results Count is a simple widget that will display the number of results for any saved search. If you want to add some summary numbers to your site that reflect the number of single family homes in a location, or condos, or for rent listings, you can do this. The widget generates default text that you can use CSS or your theme to change its size and style.

You can have it as just a number or you can easily create a link to the saved search results. You can also choose if you want the results to display in the current tab/window or a new tab/window. It's a pretty simple widget but can be really powerful when used on a community page or on your homepage.

Get creative with it and show your visitors how many listings you have on your website, or show many niche listings are available.

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Wordpress Plugin Update 3.0.41

There's a new plugin update today to support our two new shortcode widgets (Search Button and Results Count). The new plugin version is 3.0.41. Please update your plugin to get access to the new widgets. See our other changelog post about the new widgets.

WordPress Plugin Update 3.0.40

Hi! We pushed a new WordPress plugin update today to accommodate some recent changes in the way the Yoast (SEO) plugin handles Facebook's open graph tagging. The new code will ensure that only one set of og: tags (Showcase IDX tags) are added to listing pages.

Please be sure to update your WordPress plugin to the current version if you are using Yoast on your WordPress website.

New Developers, Scott & Josh

In the past two weeks we've added two new software engineers to our team, Scott and Josh. They will be predominantly be working on our backend team. We're looking forward to having them on the team, and we're in the process of onboarding them to get them up to speed on our architecture and code. They are doing great already and we're looking forward to their contributions to Showcase IDX going forward.

MFR gets Open House support!

We are happy to announce support for Open House listings for all clients on the My Florida Regional (MFR) RETS Feed! The listings are importing already and should be showing up for everyone by Monday evening.

As always, if you notice anything out of place, such as times or dates being off, or if you do not see the open house events in your feed, please let us know at help@showcaseidx.com and we will take a look ASAP!

Updated: Google Analytics Lead Conversion Tracking

We have released some new updates to how we handle Google Analytics and in particular how Showcase IDX works with Google Tag Manager within WordPress. To ensure that all page views and conversions are counted and sent to Google, we now have a new setting within the SEO Settings for your Google Analytics Tracking Code ID (UA Code).

SEO SETTINGS>ANALYTICS

All you need to do to is pop your UA Code into this field, save the settings page, and we take care of the rest. You will see all Showcase IDX-related lead conversion events in your Google Analytics tool here: BEHAVIOR > EVENTS > OVERVIEW>TOP EVENTS>EVENT ACTION.All Showcase IDX uses the following classes for event tracking in GA:

  • Event Category: Conversion
  • Event Action: Old tagging: Showcase IDX Message/Showcase IDX Registered. New Tagging: Showcase IDX New Lead: Registered or Showcase IDX New Lead:Message. We did this to make it a little more clearer what was going on here.
  • Event Label: New Showcase IDX Lead - This rolls up all Showcase IDX lead conversion events into this one tag. It combines all of the above event actions into one number.

SEO SETTINGS>ANALYTICS

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.

Showcase IDX XML Sitemaps for Google

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.

No published changelogs yet.

Surely Showcase IDX will start publishing changelogs very soon.

Check out our other public changelogs: Buffer, Mention, Respond by Buffer, JSFiddle, Olark, Droplr, Piwik Pro, Prott, Ustream, ViralSweep, StartupThreads, Userlike, Unixstickers, Survicate, Envoy, Gmelius, CodeTree