Jul 31 2008

The July 2008 Los Angeles Earthquake Effects on Google Search

Immediately after the Los Angeles earthquake of July 29th 2008 people started to report about their experience on Twitter (including myself). Once again the news spread faster on the net than through all traditional media channels. Finally the media caught up and earthquake news were live on all channels for the rest of the day. From an online marketing perspective this was interesting to me since an event created a fast buzz that spread like a viral marketing campaign.

I was wondering how large the effect of the earthquake was on Google searches that day and user behavior in general. Here are the results:


Keyword “Earthquake” on Google


Keyword “Earthquake California” on Google


Keyword “Earthquake Los Angeles” on Google

All these examples show that searches about the earthquake shot up the day of the event, while before the event there were almost no searches at all. So how is this relevant? I think this show very nicely how a large event (for example a product launch in online marketing or a press release) can create an enormous buzz in a very short time.

The buzz gets bigger since more and more users use social media to communicate it. If your business sells earthquake related products like preparation kits this would have been the perfect opportunity to generate large amounts of traffic in no time.

Of course we can’t predict events like this, but to me it shows how important it is for companies to constantly monitor online conversations and have plans ready if event happen. This way you can leverage outside news and events to advance your business and in this case to help people be better prepared for earthquakes.

This might also be relevant to SEO, since “in case” optimization would ensure that your website comes up in the top results for event related keywords. If your product can help people I believe this would be a great way of event related marketing.

Btw I found some really good (and free) information on the subject. Here are some good links about earthquake preparation:

The Earthquake Preparedness Handbook

www.redcross.org/services/prepare/0,1082,0_241_,00.html

www.amerrescue.org/quakprep.htm

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