Swan Song

Real Estate Broker/Owner with New Paradigm Partners LLC EB #1326335

This is a very hard post to write.


For the last year or so, Mary and I have been struggling with a persistent and troubling problem. We were experiencing a steady decline in our website traffic, and a consequent drop in leads showing up from our blogging.


For the entire time we have been on AR, we have been following a strategy of blogging long-tail topics and using back-links from AR to boost the visibility of our related IDX search pages. It worked like a charm - we dominated page 1 results for dozens of long-tail searches and got a lot of business as a result. That's not surprising - it's what AR was founded to do, and it was a beast at it. A lot of staff, energy and money went towards ensuring that AR maintained its status as the authoritative website for real estate with Google.


But times change and AR has too.


When it became apparent that the decline we were seeing was definitely a trend and not just an anomaly, we went looking for answers. We contacted a lot of SEO experts for help in figuring out what was wrong and it took us a while - most of those experts just wanted to sell us what they were doing, rather than help us troubleshoot what we were doing. And for at least right now, we have too much invested in our long-tail infrastructure to just abandon it and seek a new strategy. It may come to that, but not just yet.


We eventually did get some clues about what was happening, and it seems like our problem has two related causes.


The first is Google itself. No one really knows how Google works or what it's up to, but the consequences affect us all. As one helpful expert pointed out to us, Google is in the business of selling on-line visibility. What we were doing was gaming their system to obtain those benefits for free. And it seems like recent search algorithm tweaks have tilted the benefits away from bloggers like us. I don't mean to suggest that they targeted us specifically, but we seem to be affected by a wider trend.


The second cause is simply that AR isn't focused anymore on maintaining the authority with Google that it once had. And before I go any further with this, I'd like to make it clear that I don't have a problem with that. With the exception of some piddling dues for the first 18 months or so, most of the benefit of being here for us has cost only the time and effort to write some content, and that has been far outweighed by the benefits. AR belongs to Ben & Bob, and they have the right to do with it as they please. I'm sure that their business strategy for the site is a good one for them. But I don't think it's working for us anymore.


We did get some good suggestions, and for the next six months or so, our energy is going to be directed to seeing if we can find a way to recover. Those suggestions are all outside the realm of AR, so my participation here is going to change. I'm not going away completely - there are way too many reasons to still be here, and for me, most of them come down to friends and relationships. I'll still be posting, but those will be the half-dozen or so posts every month that I want to write - the ones that are fun, relevant (at least to me), or responsive to industry issues. And you may see my market reports posted here, but not as original content - they're going to be published elsewhere.


I'm going to miss being here every day. I do intend to make an effort to remain a part of the community, but you and I know how that usually goes. I cherish all of the wonderful and unique things about AR, and I'll always be grateful for the friendship, knowledge and wisdom you all have given me. These last almost seven years have been the best of my fairly long career in this business, and a huge hunk of that is because of you. So I'll end this with a very sincere Thank You - you guys are the best!

Posted by
Mary & Dick

Mary & Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC
2601 S. Lemay Ave. #41
Fort Collins, CO 80525


Data Source: IRES MLS


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Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale - Probate Broker

Dick,  I hear you 100% and beyond in the echos of time and space. The decline in blogging results has been taking place since the Truila sell out. I remember how excited we (whoever that we may include) were when we learned that Ben bought AR ... I was on the webinar when Ben shared his vision for the platform and the community.  It's literally been crickets since then.  My focus has been on my WordPress sites.  I do enjoy it here ... the friendships ... and referrals that are made and received.  

Times are indeed changing ... I wish you and Mary all the best. I know you will revive your rankings and the phone will start ringing again. 

Thank you for your leadership and courage to speak and say what most others of us have not. As others have said ... it is a testament to your true leadership. 

Nov 30, 2017 10:07 AM #52
Bob Stewart
ActiveRain - Mesa, AZ

A couple of things come to mind for me.

1. Google is a hard beast to tame. It will always be a moving target.

2. ActiveRain was originally started to be a place that agents could go online to learn from and connect with other agents. The Google juice was a side benefit, never intended to be the main course. Somehow, in a push for revenue many years ago (to stay afloat, really) the SEO piece became a main part of the story. But it wasn't the original story. 

3. As the ActiveRain story enters it's second decade, I would expect to see that original story being re-explored given that we can control the outcome with much more reliability than we can control how content ranks in a search engine. 

4. All of us have to make decisions in business that are hard at certain points. No matter how many times I've had to make hard decisions in my professional life, it never gets easier to make hard decisions. At least not for me.

5. I really look forward to those couple posts a month (or whatever it ends up being, I just hope it ends up being something) where you write about what you want to write about. I expect that those posts will be closer to what the original vision of ActiveRain was, designed to connect with and educate your fellow industry practitioners. Everyone here will be better off for having had the chance to read them when they are published.

I wish you nothing but good luck on the next version of your SEO strategy. It's becoming a harder and harder game to conquer but if the adage that content is king is still true, then I have no doubt you'll find a path that works for your business. 

Signed, (someone who will probably never buy a house in Colorado so I always enjoyed your non-market report posts anyways, haha)

Your friend (no matter how much you blog on ActiveRain) Bob


Nov 30, 2017 10:44 AM #53
Bob Stewart
ActiveRain - Mesa, AZ

By the way, great run. 

I took a look at a few of your stats. I hope you don't mind if I share? (If you do, of course just feel free to delete this comment).

3331 blog posts. Wow, that's some serious blogging.

40,637 comments received. People like you! haha. Clearly you were writing stuff that people connect with.

32,602 comments left. That is SUPER impressive. This might be the part that hurts me the most in thinking about you spending less time here. You've clearly been an amazing contributor to this community. I'll always be thankful for whatever time you choose to share moving forward. 

3,321,827 views on your blog posts. 

I'd say that's a freaking stellar run! See you around Dick!

Nov 30, 2017 11:05 AM #54
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

If you are not getting business then the stats for views is meaningless. When I first started almost a decade ago this was the mad bloggers paradise. At this time if this was just about business i would be gone becasue my business is robust from other sources like Videos on Youtube. Losing some key people has been a bad thing but also I do not believe the present owner has the dedication or maybe the money to do what is necessary. Maybe that is just a sign of the times.

Nov 30, 2017 11:19 AM #55
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

We will miss you here. You have been an amazing contributor and have produced so much content for all of us. Thank you. I hope your other endeavors give you much prosperity and many leads. 

Nov 30, 2017 12:03 PM #56
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Hey Dick.  As I mentioned, the combo of my own blog and linking from here really works (and other stuff).


Here's the FB group I mentioned.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/realestatebloggers/


If you're not in it, I'd join (and others here should too...but follow the rules...you are learning from the best...many from AR)...even if you don't use until 6 months from now.


Note:  I kind of hate FB, so I'm not a FB junkie.  I just go to 2 to 3 groups...so it's more of a learning/sharing thing...very educational.  so, now I've learned to kind of like/put up w/ FB...as I use it my own way. (Sounds like you think like I do).


For those that don't have their own site, you really should have that.  That's the cornerstone.  If you are low on funds, I have an article on my site on how to start a WP site for just around $4/month.  I don't want to post link here as it's Dick's post.


The combo of AR + your site is awesome.  I love AR for networking and learning (and of course backlinks).


Patricia Feager and Betsy N. Robinson - Serving the Sandhills, NC .  Hope this is helpful.

Nov 30, 2017 02:28 PM #57
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening Dick Greenberg ,

I read your post before I left for an all day Continuing education course of Legal and Ethics. I came back and reread your post. I'm sorry to hear you will be moving on and anxious to hear where you will be posting. I hope you'll still be writing now and again..I'll miss your posts. Times are a changing..may have to pursue some other avenues too.

Nov 30, 2017 06:00 PM #58
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

OK I will bite my tongue  reference comments #53 & #54 maybe if the powers to be participated like Brad Andersohn  used to and made us feel like we were part of the "family" Dick might be staying on longer. This reminds me of why agents leave a Brokerage,  most of the time Agents leave a Brokerage because they are not being appreciated and then money comes second... well I am just thinking out loud, But that is the Airborne Ranger Infantry CPT in me not the Pet Friendly Realtor from Beverly Hills....Endre

Nov 30, 2017 11:19 PM #59
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Your Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Agent

Dick, I am sorry you are leaving the Rain but, I also want to thank you. I have been doing similar research and its a hard decision to make. One that I'm still questioning myself about and haven't taken action on yet. The friendships made here are priceless but, I agree 100% the Google ranking just isn't what it used to be. Thank you for being so transparent. 

Dec 01, 2017 04:24 AM #60
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. The comments are also very interesting.

Dec 01, 2017 04:37 AM #61
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417
United Real Estate - Addison, TX
Real Service. Real Results. Real Estate

I hear ya! Many years ago after completing a 30-posts-in-30-days AR challenge, I got burnt out big time. Since then, I've only posted a couple of time a month. But I still try to log in every day and leave comments when I have something to contribute. I hope you'll keep checking in!

Dec 01, 2017 06:23 AM #62
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

well my last words to my dear friend Dick Greenberg try videos in your market reports .. short and sweet ones ... less then 2 minutes it creates Google juice

Something Michael Jacobs  and I have learned from Barbara Todaro  FREE market analysis  in heading  of market reports

Please don't go who will read my movie reviews ???

Just food for thought for your song


Dec 01, 2017 08:21 AM #63
Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Dick, thank you for sharing what you've learned-I think many of us have seen the same thing but resisted making changes. Best wishes.

Dec 01, 2017 09:59 PM #64
Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Remember this post? 


So do I :-)

It's always the combinaation of paths we travel that make up the overall journey. Wishing you all the greatest things life has to offer and I'm glad we'll still see you around in the rain. I do try to pop in and play in the puddles here but also have our offline family and friends to tend to as well. 

Happy Holidays!! 

You know my door is always open to you anytime, anywhere and for any reason.

Dec 03, 2017 09:55 PM #65
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hey, Mr G -- never say I'm not in denial....yeah...I go "there" often.  Just checking to see if I was experiencing one of those "Dallas" moments when Bobby or was it JR or Sue Ellen was having a contract dispute and they were going to write him/her out of the script...hmm...I digress....again...

Now...where the Hell are you, DG?

Dec 07, 2017 11:38 AM #66
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

And here I am too, hoping along with Michael Jacobs , that this was just a bad dream. Now, where the Hell are you, DG?

Dec 08, 2017 07:29 AM #67
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hi Dick -- thank you for the follow-up --- it's a "weird" way to communicate via comments...I guess I could always simply pick up the phone.....but hey....are there points for phone calls?   I digress.   

Dec 08, 2017 09:42 AM #68
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Gateway to the Lake" 503-755-2905

It's funny how the waves come and go...you just have to ride them and see where they take you. You know how to read the waters, Dick. Trust your instincts...you evolved human, you! 

Dec 08, 2017 07:50 PM #69
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

In the early days of AR there were very few blogging platforms that were easy to use. AR provided a blogging platform for Realtors who didn't want to develop and debug their own website, didn't want to become HTML programmers, and didn't want to become SEO experts. All we needed to do was log in, write our thoughts, press "Publish" and reap the benefits.

Today, almost every IDX platform has it's own user-friendly blogging function.

AR still provides tremendous benefits, though.

Dec 10, 2017 06:41 AM #70
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Dick Greenberg -  I was just talking to Debbie Gartner about blogging.  Let's face it, things change and we must always get in front of change.  I really find everyone's insights here very helpful.

Dec 10, 2017 01:38 PM #71
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