Swan Song

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with New Paradigm Partners LLC EB #1326335
http://activerain.com/droplet/58yb

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
970-689-4663
www.maryanddick.com

 

Data Source: IRES MLS

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ginger Harper 11/30/2017 10:08 AM
  2. Endre Barath, Jr. 01/18/2018 10:15 PM
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Rainmaker
2,556,428
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
Rainmaker
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Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

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
Rainmaker
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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
Rainmaker
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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
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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
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Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900
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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
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Remember this post? 

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2254195/here-s-what-s-happening-with-fort-collins-co-condo-real-estate

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
Rainmaker
2,785,179
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
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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
Rainmaker
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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
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
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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
Rainmaker
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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
Rainmaker
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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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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Dick Greenberg -I read the post and then every comment.

There is a lot to think about. Bob Stewart said, I did not come for business, and when it started coming, and it took a long time before it happened, I was pleasantly siurprised, even though it has never been my primary goal. So, when it dried out, I did not get frustrated. By that time I had my own site, calls were coming... Maybe not the way we wanted, but I can only blame myself for that.

 

Dec 24, 2017 08:22 AM #72
Rainmaker
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Greg Large
ERA Real Solutions - Grove City, OH
A Tradition of Trust

I am hopeful that your website redesign project brings you much success, and also hopeful that it will allow you to continue to share your wit and wisdom here on ActiveRain, whatever the end result Godspeed and Thank You for helping "set the bar".

Jan 01, 2018 12:46 PM #73
Rainmaker
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Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Hi Dick,
You have been a valuable member of A.R. and will continue to be so regardless of your level of participation.  I have never counted on AR for SEO.  Fortunately, when I was an active agent, I had another blog and website that was working splendidly for that.  It has always been about the relationships, and knowledge I can gain from others.   That said, it makes total sense what you are doing.  And, do stop in when you have the time.  We miss you! 

Jan 08, 2018 10:52 AM #74
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Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Dick, as I’m not here much, just learning of your absence. I have seen a similar  trend in the Google SERPS. Given that the bulk of our business comes from the internet, this is very concerning. One of the reasons I haven’t been here much. Keep us posted on your new website and if you were able to achieve what you set out to do. I think we could all benefit from what you learn

Jan 09, 2018 10:06 PM #75
Rainmaker
2,640,542
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale

Hmmm....there ARE many reasons to be here...this is iinteresting and bet it is of interest to Ben Kinney  and Bob Stewart 

Jan 19, 2018 03:02 AM #76
Rainmaker
2,841,902
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Dick. I like and respect you and am sorry you are backing away but I do understand. Wishing you and Mary all good things.

Jan 19, 2018 07:09 AM #77
Rainmaker
1,927,861
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Dick: It took a lot of work for me to scroll down on my laptop pressing that down button over and over to read all of the comments and get to the bottom so I can leave a comment for you.

I started moving away from AR the summer of 2012. Never regretted that decision. I think you can do both though, that it doesn't need to be either / or. You can hang out with your friends and chat, while also doing an infomercial for your own blog on your own website.

Jan 25, 2018 02:46 PM #78
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