Agents contact us all the time and ask if they can use their MLS Associations' "framed" results with our Intellectual Property Joomla Real Estate real estate website component.
The answer, unfortunately, is no. Without writing an unethical screen scraper, we couldn't get the data from the iframed page into the IProperty database.
But there's a bigger issue at stake here.
Agents who are new to internet marketing and real estate websites in general are missing out on a crucial fact-- iframed (or "smart framed") real estate listings on their site don't do them any good at all!
First, let's take a look at what an "iframe" is. An iframe is an HTML tag that was popular in the early days of the web. It allowed a designer to "frame" another site's content in his own page, making it look as if the content was embedded or native to the framing site. This could be done for a variety of reasons, some good, some bad. But the important thing is that all an iframe does is shoehorn someone else's content into your HTML page.
Why is this a problem? Well, because the guys behind Google and the other search engines certainly know how an iframe works, they don't count it as part of your site! Therefore, search engines treat content in iframes as if it were still on the parent site, and you get ZERO page rank, SEO juice or keyword credit for ANY of the content in the iframe. You may actually be doing your MLS a favor by giving their parent frame content that search engine ranking weight that you thought you'd be getting by adding their content!
Unless a potential customer already knows about your website, there's very little chance he's going to find it simply searching for listing information-- since as far as the search engines are concerned, there's none on your site.
Another point that gets overlooked is that when you iframe content, you're largely at the mercy of the designer of the original content. You may be able to override some styles and make the color scheme roughly match your site, but that's pretty much where your control ends. Don't like where they put the controls or the wording they used? Tough luck!
It's far, far preferable, from both an SEO perspective and from a design perspective to import the data from the MLS directly into your database from their RETS feed. That way, all the data "lives" on your site, and all page ranking, SEO linking and keyword goodness gets attributed to your domain, not the associations.