California Storms Perfect for Local News Webmasters

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

This post is not about the week and weekend weather that is pummeling California. That information can be viewed via the California storm news article posted earlier today. This article is about how quickly information on the Internet can travel, and how independent news web sites (unlike major outlets like the New York Times and Reuters) can deliver up to date and relevant news pieces, that oftentimes result in significant bursts of new traffic, and fresh inbound links.

As I write this post the rain is pouring down hard on my beach adjacent home in coastal Los Angeles. Earlier today I was home for a lunch break from my chiropractic office and there had not been much rain falling locally. That was not the case for areas such as San Francisco and other parts of Northern California. News reports were coming on pretty heavy regarding high winds, potentially record snowfalls, and a significant amount of precipitation. Is was only natural that people would soon be searching (many already were) for information regarding airports and flight delays, power outages, and other storm related information. In the face of an oncoming storm, opportunity was presenting itself.

When Matt Cutts of Google was asked this past December about building web sites, he suggested making a compelling service. So how does a site that has a primary focus on the topic of chiropractic (likely not compelling to a large audience) make that happen? Find out what people seek and deliver it (and if possible, tie it to your niche).

I’ve talked about these methods before (received national press this summer regarding the same topic) and I’ll likely talk about it again. During my lunch break I was wondering how much rain was potentially going to fall in Los Angeles this weekend so I checked the news. There was not much information available as nearly all articles were focused on the Sacramento and San Francisco areas. There were reports that this ferocious storm could force millions to lose power and could possibly be one of the strongest to hit the Golden State in decades. The next thing I did was check a service by Google called Hot Trends. At the time I checked there were a handful of searches related to the storm. I figured if the weather reports were right things were going to get increasingly worse and people were going to be searching for more information.

California weather

The steps i took required some research since in order to provide compelling information I wanted to create a piece that would actually be of value for people seeking California weather related info.

I collected information about airports, traffic and weather maps and quickly built a list of resources. I live in Southern California and have traveled through many of the state’s airports so those were easy to recall. I also practice chiropractic in West LA and I know that increased rain equals increased auto collisions and people coming into health-care offices and hospitals suffering from weather related slips and falls. I felt I had a general idea as to what people would be searching for as the day went on (and possibly through the weekend).

I haven’t checked website traffic stats yet but preliminary data I’ve seen looks good so far. I grabbed some screenshots in my office earlier but I forgot to save them to my USB drive so I grabbed two more when I got home.

The ones I had earlier showed the terms california weather and california storm being spicy hot (these screenshots show the terms listed as hotness: medium). What was spicy to me was that Planet Chiropractic was listed as one of the top sources for news related to both topics (notice it’s listed with two major news networks in the lower screenshot).

California storm news power outages Taking a look at some of the related searches and then looking back on the article that was published earlier I discovered the terms Los Angeles weather, San Francisco weather, California storms and California weather (as well as others) were popular keywords likely driving traffic to the web site.

I could claim that I planned it that way but I really didn’t have that much information available when I wrote the article so I basically relied on my innate instinct as well as the data at hand. The reality is that you can write an incredible article and no one may find it so timing is also important.

As predicted the weather has continued to worsen in the Los Angeles area (considerable winds are blowing now) and news regarding millions losing power, traveler delays, airport closures, auto accidents and injuries, Caltrans sig alerts (California transportation information), and other storm related topics, will undoubtedly be increasing throughout the weekend.

The take away here is that with the right amount of effort and the applicable knowledge, independent blogs and web sites can provide journalistic reports of current events, providing people searching the web with valuable and relevant information, thereby increasing traffic and the potential for inbound links and future visits.

This method applies to storms, fires, falls, rock bands, stars, celebrities, politicians (like Ron Paul and Barack Obama), and almost any newsworthy topic you can think of.

So widen your nets webmasters and start building a path to your homepage.