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Ask An Ambassador: What Happened To The Juice?

Real Estate Agent with Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com SAL.2002007747

Once upon a time in the early days of ActiveRain you could post and find yourself on page 1 of Google in short order.

Now, not just any old blog post is going to get you found.  Has ActiveRain totally lost it's mojo?

I'm not some SEO guru, but I don't believe any drop off in SEO results is strictly an issue with ActiveRain, although there are things we as a community do that don't help the community members that are all about those rankings on the WWW.

Think back 20-30 years ago and you were probably carrying a beeper, or at best a Crackberry or flip phone.  Apps didn't exist and the internet was still being used to determine if the coffee was brewing in the lab break room.

In May 2006 ActiveRain is created. That's the same year Zillow was founded, and both followed the creation of Google by only 8 years. 

The real estate landscape was obviously MUCH, MUCH different.  Information wasn't as easily available and couldn't be broadcast to the world as easily.  Personal websites, if you had one at all, weren't super capable.

So the net result is a wide open playing field for ActiveRain bloggers.

Short tails keywords placement could still be achieved.  Homes for sale in Cincinnati?  It could be done, and while you might have had some competition, it wasn't going to be many agents after the same piece of real estate pie.

Move through the years and technology does what technology does.  It gets more available.  It gets cheaper.  More people adopt the latest and greatest and before you know it, it's not so simple to get to page 1.

Z, T & R have portals and serious budgets.  The average agent in Kalamazoo doesn't have a serious budget.  There's now a LOT of content out on the web and if you can't figure out what Google's latest algorithm wants, it's even harder to get found for the major keywords.

So the agile agent recognizes they've either got to pour a lot of money and effort into dueling with the big portals, or they need to change strategy.  Just any blog post is no longer going to make it to page 1, and maybe not 2 3 or 4 either.

Time to shift strategies.  So they packed up their bags and the move to Beverleeeee....long tail posts, niches, etc...that's what was bubbling up.  The Google Juice had changed.

Now step forward to today and what are the bloggers of ActiveRain competing with?
An entire range of social media outlets.

A handful of characters in a tweet, a picture, a video, all outlets for a society with a very brief attention span seeking immediate gratification.  They're less and less likely to look for the written word, especially when dispensed in a super long blog post.

I still believe there's a place for blogging or I wouldn't be here.

Old blog posts still rank and still bring us business. 

But in the current real estate landscape, I don't expect ActiveRain by itself to get the results it did in the early days.  There's just too much competition and too much content out there to break through with a generic message.  Unique and relevant still matter.

I expect the competitive landscape to continue to be challenging.  Without ActiveRain restricting posts to PURE real estate related content, the non-real estate posts on this site will hinder Google seeing ActiveRain as being all about real estate. 

I get that there's a place for sharing personal information, recipes, jokes, and all the other things that make a community a community, but it does have a price that is shared by every member of the Rain. 

Again, I'm no SEO expert, so this is just my opinion on what has happened throughout my years in this community.  Maybe there are things that could be done under the ActiveRain hood to boost our SEO, I'll leave that to the experts.

No matter what, I still haven't found a better place than ActiveRain for learning and support from other real estate professionals.  That in itself is worth the cost of admission, juice or no juice.

Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,

Bill & Liz aka BLiz

Posted by

Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of Transaction Alliance
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418

MailTo:  Liz@LizSpear.com

Search Homes:  Https://WarrenCountyOhioRealEstate.com

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Comments (25)

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Liz and Bill Spear - this is a very good history lesson! When I began in the business, I transitioned from the company's pager to my very own Crackberry. That was a hot technological advancement! I was proud, but not careful. Within a week of my shiny Crackberry, I was dining with potential clients when suddenly, I noticed the dishes where removed from the table and my Crackberry was gone too. Of course, no one would admit it. The restaurant owner said, the waiter I had quit while on the job and I coudn't prove he took it on purpose or by accident. I'm guessing there was no security back then to prove anything either.

I was lucky when I started on AR in the end of 2010 because I was getting a few comments from the outside. For example I went to a Story Telling Festival and wrote all about it. The man dressed in costume contacted me and was so grateful I took photos of him and wrote such a great story about him. But then, AR went to member comments only. With or without advanced technology there are risks, profits, and loss. That's part of business. 

Those early days in business taught me the true meaning of being an Independent Contractor. In looking back, we were very lucky to get what we got from AR, especially when there were RainCamps!!! What I received in the beginning from AR was far better than what I received from my Broker and REALTOR ASSOCIATION. 

But then, as time went on, I changed brokers, associations, and how I did business. The networking here on AR was always a blessing and never a curse to me. Even though I didn't have my own website, I was running my own business and I was proud to build great relationships as a result of AR. I even went the extra miles to attend RainCamp in Houston, a great distance from where I live! It was just a few weeks ago when I was thinking about some of those great contacts I made as a result of AR. By the way, I am very glad for people like you!

Jan 16, 2024 05:03 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Patricia, the people here are the primary reason I stay involved.  For the last few years, this culture has been self-maintained without any direct ownership/management visibility.  I think that's a real testament to the foundation of the community and how much it means to long time members.

If I remember right, the outside commenting barrier had to go up because the site was getting slaughtered by mega-spam commenters, literally hundreds a day from the same person or people.  What a pain trying to keep our posts clean!

Jan 16, 2024 07:02 PM

Rain camp was the BEST! I'm so thankful for the 2 times I got to go.  It was a game changer.    I'm the agent I am today because of what I learned then.   AR continues to be a supportive place to hang out and learn new things.  THANKS ALL!

Jan 18, 2024 08:32 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

Blogging is the long game and not the short game.  Far too many folks look for the quick fix as to what ails their business, their marketing. Also blogging is a mean to educate potential sellers and buyers as well as others within the industry.  My goal on AR is to make authentic connections with other agents throughout the US for referrals.

Jan 16, 2024 05:16 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Yes, I've seen enough people over the years proclaim "blogging doesn't work!" and when you review their posts, they've got a handful of posts, and not one of them of any substance that would influence a consumer to contact them.  On the other hand, if you understand the ways blogging can correctly be used to generate business, and are willing to stick to it, blogging can then provide significant returns.

Jan 16, 2024 07:04 PM
Michael J. Perry

Ditto. I remember people saying AR didn’t work for them . I would look them up and they didn’t even have 5,000 points !

Jan 18, 2024 05:03 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

However, you can get your juice and be yourself and have quality contact is however, you need to do it, and then to each their own.. :)

Jan 16, 2024 09:16 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Many different ways to make "best use" out of ActiveRain

Jan 17, 2024 07:19 AM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Thank you for this reminder of what was and what is in the rain...  I for one am here for the people! There are so many wonderful people in Active Rain. The lessons learned here from knowledge shared unconditionally are priceless. Of course, the real estate posts and SEO are important, but they aren't the end all. I like the recipes and the puzzles and the fun posts about books or pets or people. Active Rain is like a slice of everyday life and once in a while, we get a parade! It's all Good!

Jan 17, 2024 12:59 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Over the years, we have learned much that has been helpful to our business and our clients. 

The off-topic posts can definitely be entertaining.

Jan 17, 2024 07:20 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I remember when I first joined ActiveRain and I could write a post, then find it easily on the first page from a search.  I don't do these searches very often anymore, but I am still pleasantly surprised when I do a real estate search in my area and see some of my posts from ActiveRain showing up for the topic I am searching for.  What frustrates me is that Ben seemed to make promises that seemingly will never come to fruition.  I still love all of my ActiveRain friends and have no plans to leave the platform.  The gremlins don't always allow me to play in the Rain though and that is frustrating as well, haha.

Jan 17, 2024 04:49 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Overall, I know the developers have done (and continue to do) a lot of work on the site.  While we do have the occasional hiccup such as last week, I don't consider it anything on the scale of the past where it was truly a question of whether or not I could even access the site at all.

I'm okay with Ben's initial vision for the site being delayed.  I wasn't really onboard with being the equivalent of a local news reporter for events. 

Jan 17, 2024 07:21 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

You are right about competitive websites - there are huge pockets out there and the companies with them wind up on the top of google searches. And yes, the non-real estate posts may decrease the value of this site as a real estate site.

Enjoy your day!

Jan 17, 2024 05:24 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I can still do well for long tail keywords if I make sure I provide adequate substance in the posts, but I'm definitely not going to outfund ZTR and the like. 

Jan 17, 2024 07:23 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

In the past five years I have made over six figures from in and out AR referrals. If that was the ONLY value, I am in! (it is most certainly NOT the only value).

Jan 17, 2024 06:07 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

ActiveRain has been my go to site for referrals for quite a few years.  I like knowing the personalities of the agents I'm referring to.

Jan 17, 2024 07:23 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

You are right about the site still being a great resource for knowledge, and there is a camaraderie that goes beyond any social media outlet.  I travel to see the country and at any stop I can look up and AR member and be greeted as a long-lost friend and carry a conversation that is not one of tell me about yourself.

The long tail tags still get attention as the larger sites are looking for quantity to sell leads, and if a customer is looking for detailed information they will search that way.

I notice a lot of bloggers starting to use hashtags in their titles and tags so they believe that gets them Seo-juice.

As the great god G still controls a lot of web-sphere, a G-page will also allow for a rise in rankings. IMHO


Jan 17, 2024 07:25 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Ed, no doubt G practices nepotism.  If they have a product, using it is going to help with being found.  I've met a fair number of Rainers over the years, and it's never been like meeting a stranger when I have.

Jan 17, 2024 01:27 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS


Jan 17, 2024 07:51 PM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

AR is the best site for referrals.  YOU can open a blog and read all about the agent and if the fit is there...you will know.

Jan 17, 2024 12:50 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Ginger, Between comments, posts, and questions, there's a sizable amount of insight into what an agent is like and whether they'd be a good referral.

Jan 17, 2024 01:28 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

100% Ginger Harper! I've received, literally, DOZENS of referrals from AR and only TWO of them did not pan out! Believe it or not (and with absolutely NO cause from the amazing West Coast Agents), ONLY TWO did not pan out! 

Jan 17, 2024 07:54 PM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Nowadays I mostly post real estate market reports and activity. Gone are the days of giving advice, offering top-10 lists of something, or general thoughts about real estate. The competition has that covered and I can't penetrate the surface with an ax.

But AR is still amazing - the wonderful people here make it so.

Jan 17, 2024 01:46 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Margaret, I think the other topics are great if you have an established audience, but like you said, capturing someone off the wild, wild web with them is a long shot.

Jan 17, 2024 02:35 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Bill:

It was a fun walk down the AR memory lane and a good reminder about the broader value of being here - the learning and sharing, the potential for referrals, the pleasure of interactions and engagement, and simply being part of an amazing collective of bloggers.

Done well, blogging still has value, and more than ever it's about what is unique and relevant as you said.


Jan 17, 2024 05:27 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Jeff, It's nice knowing that if I need someone in the your neck of the woods, I don't have to think about it.  And there are plenty of other places that I'd never have to think about who to refer to thanks to this community.

Jan 17, 2024 06:55 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS

So very true, Bill. I am so proud of the county-wide network I have developed over the years. Thank YOU!

Jan 17, 2024 07:41 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I have to say that, after reading all your responses, I’m very thankful for all of you, and all that you’ve taught me over the years of all of your collective insight. I’m very blessed. :

Jan 17, 2024 07:01 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Laura, for those that understand this community and participate sincerely, it can be a big blessing.

Jan 17, 2024 07:37 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

I am guilty of posting recipes but, thankfully, the proactive feedback from them has been referrals from other AR agents and comments from the consumer, "I feel like I know you!" Actually, it is a trial 'risk' that I took just a couple of years ago and it has paid off in spades! I do remember frowning on recipe posts moons ago - NO MORE! LOL

Great share, Bill! Thank you.

Jan 17, 2024 07:58 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

In your case, I suspect you have a high number of dedicated followers, so mixing in recipes is a good move to gain engagement.  If one is solely fishing the internet for new clients with their blog posts, sticking to pure real estate info is probably the safest bet to get results.

Jan 18, 2024 05:40 AM
Dan Hopper
Dan Hopper - Gold Way RE - Westminster, CO
Colorado Broker / Referral Services

There is a lot of truth you have stated, Bill ... back in the 2008 time frame I had picked up a couple listings due to the article I wrote about foreclosure avoidance.  At that time, I had figured it had to do with the "content" of the article.  Crazy, nothing since.

Jan 18, 2024 03:29 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Dan, some of our old posts that are very specific (e.g. subdivisions) still do good work for us.  But the general info stuff doesn't.  Too many Yahoo, MSN and portal articles out on the same topics to gain visibility.

Jan 18, 2024 05:41 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC
Thanks for the walk down memory lane and the history of how the web has changed how we show up. Like others here I love the connections
Jan 18, 2024 04:33 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

The connections are enough (for now) to keep me engaged with the community.   Not to the same degree in the past as our real estate life starts to downshift a bit, but still plenty.

Jan 18, 2024 05:42 AM
Matthew Sturkie, CRS, GRI 909-969-3805
Action Realty - Apple Valley, CA
CRS, GRI 909-969-3805

Hi Liz and Bill, I was thinking this exact thing the other day.  I am not a big blogger but I posted a blog on the 13th and went looking for it on Goggle the next day and it was nowhere to be found. Even typing in the exact title of the post did not show up on Google and yet, an old post from seven years ago still showed up in the search. I thought to myself, what happened to the juice?  

Jan 18, 2024 04:21 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

I think once ranked, it's harder to get knocked down.  New stuff on the other hand seems to be more of a struggle to rank.

Jan 18, 2024 08:45 PM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

From 2009 to 2014 serious AR Members knew more about SEO, Ranking,Longtail Search results and being found on line than 95% of all active Realtors. I will always be grateful for that. Lately I have done several referrals with other members I’ve know for awhile and who are not with the same franchise as me . 

Jan 18, 2024 05:13 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

No doubt, there was a lot of AR sponsored activity by management and the members to get the message out.  And AR is my first stop for referrals, and I no longer care about franchise (as evidenced by our leaving the balloon brokerage mid-last year).

Jan 18, 2024 08:47 PM
Ben DeHaven
Haven Realty & Investments - Lakeland, FL
Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida

I've been going back and forth on if I want to budget in the membership fee for AR or not, and I keep leaning towards not, especially after seeing this post. I'm thinking doing my YT content and adding links to my site from there are time better spent.

Jan 19, 2024 12:43 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Ben DeHaven , I'm not sure it should be an either/or proposition.  The drawback to letting your subscription go to a free Rainer account is that until you reach 500k, whatever you've done in the past will become Members Only and lose indexing.  If you've got past posts that have worked well for you, keep them out there working for you.

I do think the easy-peasy, everything we write ranks days are gone, but there's still ranking that can be had with the right posts.

Good luck!

Jan 19, 2024 06:08 PM
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 - Silver Spring, MD
Fluent in Real Estate & German, M.A. ABR ASP CIPS

A few months ago, I attended a memorial service and was approached by a friend of a friend to tell me how much she loved my last blog post and that she reads every single one. I was surprised and excited! I had never met this person before. It reinforced my belief that AR and blogging serve a purpose (besides the awesome community that we have here), and I shall keep going! 

Jan 20, 2024 06:49 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

It has always been a pleasant surprise to walk into a listing appointment and see a printed copy of one of our market reports :)

Jan 21, 2024 09:25 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I was literally on line in a chat room working with my guru in California building my first web site the day Google was officially "founded" (papers filed) and that was the day that Donald popped in that public yahoo chat room from Germany.  Oh the chances... And things have certainly evolved, in real estate, and otherwise.  But like you, my old posts still rank and bring business to me.

Jan 20, 2024 09:51 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

When it works, it works!

Jan 21, 2024 09:26 AM