hispdcha - 5:12 am on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
Yes the searching capabilities and the IDX setup are definitely not open source. There are hundreds of IDX providers out there. There are two companies that are above the rest, and their technology is the best I've seen. I use one of them for mine. I've seen many programmers ask how the webmasters that build my site setup their coding, but they aren't talking.
I will say I've been doing SEO since 2007, I am very new to the field. I can't really say anything about this update as I only really monitor one niche. What I do know is that for some reason the real estate indsutry wasn't hit, which I think you may be able to study why and gleam some answers.
One thing that may contribute to our success is our return visitors. We have roughly 25-30% of our traffic returning multiple times. We force people to register after viewing one listing if they try to look at another one. We then set them up on a drip email campaign where we send them the new listings that hit our site for that day and they can click directly to our site through email. This may be a signal that our site is quality due to the amount of visits from gmail.
I can't comment on other people's sites. All that I can say is our site increased traffic after adding over 25,000 pages just after the Panda update. Why? I think it's due to our content. You can't get real estate listings anywhere, they have to come from a site owned by a trusted professional such as a Realtor. All of our listing pages are unique in some sense with the extra feeds we add for statistical information, neighborhood data, and local business data.
All of our neighborhood pages are constantly being updated with new listings as they come on the market and old listings are going under contract. None of our pages have been scraped. We have a descent link profile for a real estate site comparatively. And we have zero ads. Our site is all about the user because we want them to stick around so we can nurture them into clients later on. People searching online for homes are 6 months to a year out from buying, so it's important to make sure they want to keep coming back.
All of the content on our neighborhood/city/county pages is written by me, and I used to be a Realtor. I know the markets I write in very well, and the content can't be found anywhere else. You would have to live here to write the content I write. Hope this helps.