Modelry - A Random Walk through Internet Real Estate: The Value of Blogging on Current Events: Hurricane Irene Update

The Value of Blogging on Current Events: Hurricane Irene Update

Hurricane IreneOn Thursday, our Kerrie posted this blog talking about the value of blogging on current events.  On Tuesday August 23, we saw that the a large percentage of our pageviews were related to the East Coast Earthquake, earthquake preparedness, and earthquake inspection.  There is significant value that real estate professionals can add to their community (and their business) by blogging about current events.   Kerrie suggested on Thursday that Rainers should be blogging about Hurricane Irene.  In 24 hours, we had 783 blogs about Hurricane Irene on ActiveRain.

I just checked our Google Analytics for the top keywords driving traffic to ActiveRain.  See below results with hurricane evacuation in Brooklyn, New Jersey and New York driving the top consumer searches.

Top 25 Searches on ActiveRain Friday August 25, 2011:

brooklyn evacuation zones
active rain
hurricane evacuation zone finder
brooklyn evacuation
brooklyn evacuation zone
evacuation zones brooklyn
hurricane zone finder
garden state parkway webcam
brooklyn hurricane evacuation
nyc hurricane evacuation zone
evacuation zones in brooklyn
evacuation zone brooklyn
brooklyn hurricane evacuation zones
brooklyn hurricane zone
delaware flood zones
long beach island
trader joes spokane
evacuation zone in brooklyn
garden state parkway webcams
hurricane zone brooklyn
garden state parkway web cameras
brooklyn hurricane evacuation zone

Michele CadoganIf you Google, "brooklyn evacuation zones", Michele Cadogan's blog shows up on page 1 of Google,  It is a simple blog, but well SEO optimized and targeted toward NYC Hurricane Evacuation and Brooklyn Hurricane Evacuation.  According to her statistic tabs in her account, she has received 10,808 clicks on her blog in 2 days. 

That blows my mind.  Great work Michele.  Way to support your community and increase the visibility of your blog.



Nikesh Parekh

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Comment balloon 61 commentsNikesh Parekh • August 28 2011 02:19AM


Hi Nicki, I did a post about a day ago regarding water restrictions here at home that go into effect on Monday, I know it's not the magnitude of a Hurricane, but besides the Hurricane on the news, all they have been talking about is the upcoming water restrictions next week, type in :  tarrant county water restrictions  on Google and you will see yours truly smack dab in the middle of the page.....even above the site....pretty darn cool. 

Posted by Hrisco & Associates, Roanoke Homes for Sale - Roanoke Neighborhoods (Hrisco & Associates ) about 9 years ago


I've found that Active Rain often has more current information about local events, including disasters and potential disasters, than the rest of the internet!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 9 years ago

Wow Michelle, that is awesome.  It makes perfect sense and something for us to bear in mind on a going basis.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 9 years ago

Hi Nikesh,

Interesting post!

I have been annoyed at all the posts about the hurricane (living in Seattle)

You put it into perspective for me.



Posted by Phil Leng, Phil Leng - Retired (Retired) about 9 years ago

No doubt blogs on current emergencies can be useful - for the moment.  In the longer term, we have to think about what our overall blogging  purpose is.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 9 years ago

Congrats to Michelle.  I saw a lot of good current events posts, Mitchell, Lisa and Bob and others but did not see Michelle's.

We had a local current event in early August that really boosted traffic on one of my Outside blogs (and I am sure on the AR version of the content) and it started with old posts from 2006 and 2007 about something similar.   

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) about 9 years ago

Nikesh, Thank you for the information . I will write a post today about the hurricane. Congratulations Michelle.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 9 years ago

That is an incredible amount of clicks! I guess my question though is did she get any business? And did folks stay on the blog or just click out? Was there a way for them to register and if so how many did?

Clicks are just clicks. I'd rather have 1 click from someone that hired me than 10,000 from folks in evacuation mode.

Traffic is a good thing but I truly believe if has to be relevent traffic. But I could certainly be wrong.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) about 9 years ago

Congrats to Michelle, that is just amazing and shows the power of great blogging with good SEO!!  I hope people come back to seek you out after the storm...

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Wow! You posted the obvious here, but it's the obvious that we often ignore. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us!

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) about 9 years ago

I have several relatives impacted by the storm, and I am reading everything I can about the storm. This is an excellent suggestion.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) about 9 years ago

Hi Niki - The search terms give me several blog post ideas for the future that are not hurricane related since we rarely get hurricanes in the Toronto area.  Our last hurricane was Hurricane Hazel back in 1954.

Posted by FN LN about 9 years ago

Impressed!  I knew bloggin current events woudl be big - just the time...I was so consumed with preparing my family for the hurricane and I didnt have time. Now I am busy posting before we loose power -

Posted by Linda Edelwich, Glastonbury Office's #1 Top Producing Agent-not on (William Raveis Real Estate) about 9 years ago
Impressive an that is the power of SEO. Congrats to Michelle.
Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) about 9 years ago

Thanks for the update, Nikesh. Congratulations Michelle!
My post hasn't gotten anywhere near that response (only a couple of hundred clicks) & I don't know where it ranks in searches but I did text chat with someone now in Spain that saw my post and is concerned about some of their property here in Howell. That was nice.

Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) about 9 years ago

Thanks for the encourgement.  I live about an hour from the epicenter of the earthquake we had last Tuesday.  It was easy to write about that one.  8-)


Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) about 9 years ago

Niki, this shows you the power of blogging on ActiveRain. Thanks.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 9 years ago

Niki - This is too cool. We've been blogging about Irene as well and we are showing within minutes on page 1 consistently at the top of the page even out ranking and other pages.... Heck we even beat Governor Christy in NJ ranking... Awesome the power of Active Rain!

Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Christie's International Real Estate ) about 9 years ago

That blows my mind too, but I know when we had wind storms here I blogged about it and got a lot of extra hits.

Posted by Chuck Carstensen, Minnesota Real Estate Expert (RE/MAX Results) about 9 years ago

NP...good encouragement and directional post for bloggers to optimize their goods...thank you

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 9 years ago


Thanks for the suggestion of writing about current events.  And don't can always offer us Bonus points.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) about 9 years ago

Great way to make search results as relevant as can be.  We never expect to waste a persons internet search time.  SEO creativity is never ending.

Good stuff, thanks for sharing it. 

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) about 9 years ago

You are alwys right up to date with information for us. A question though... is there a way we can see what is the most searched words of any particular day?

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) about 9 years ago

Blogs about current events help you to be multi-dimensional  - "all work real estate and no play make Johnny a dull boy" - and help with the SEO that is so important to successful internet marketing.

Posted by Susan Thompson-Solomons, Southern MD Real Estate-Solomons Specialist (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services McNelis Group Properties) about 9 years ago

Niki- appreciate the info and congratulations to Michele!!  And a huge thank you to Kerrie for putting the reminder out there for us. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 9 years ago what was that featured post about not getting points for non-real estate posts and its effect on Activerain?  I think this post by itself sums up the fact that people search for local info whether its about real estate, restaurants or Hurricane Irene and here on Activerain is where they find their information.

Posted by Gina Chirico, Real Estate Agent - Essex County, New Jersey (Lattimer Realty) about 9 years ago

Knowing your keywords and staying ahead of your competition on current events is part of the game :)

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) about 9 years ago

Hi Nikesh,

As Renee indicated, it is so vital to be on top of the local events as well as your own target keywords, not combining the two can be a bit of a waste of time and energy.

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC about 9 years ago

These results are so amazing. Since not having enough time to blog when you are preparing for an hurricane as someone mentioned, the next best thing to do is to have one in draft form, for the next one. And there will be another one! Then when the warnings come, you have the preparedness list and just have to add some important local information links and post!

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) about 9 years ago

Bryant has it right in #8. "Clicks are just clicks ... Traffic is a good thing but I truly believe it has to be relevent traffic."

Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) about 9 years ago


The blogs about the hurricane are fascinating, even for an west coast person like me.  Getting a first person perspective on the storm is the best.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) about 9 years ago

It is amazing how the SEOs work.   Good Job to you!


Posted by Anonymous about 9 years ago

Well, I guess so. Who's going to argue with those results? I'm sorry I missed the opportunity.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) about 9 years ago

You make a very good point -- something to be considered when writing blog posts!

Posted by Sarasota & Manatee Counties FL, - Listings In Paradise (SaraMana Properties - about 9 years ago

ActiveRain makes the difference for google placement. That is impressive! Great job,

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) about 9 years ago

I happened to read Kerrie's blog. I thought it was Bob's. I took her advice and I got 3 blogs out of a hurricane.

I agree with those about clicks are just clicks. So my hurricane blogs were real estate related rather than weather reports.

I wrote one aimed at consumers living in apartment buildings and one aimed at the industry landlords, builders, clients.

Congrats to Michele in Brooklyn

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) about 9 years ago

It's very interesting to see what links are getting the traffic and I'm not surprised by the weather on the east coast this week what is pushing it towards activerain. 

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 9 years ago
The power of blogging on activerain Good post!
Posted by Adam Kutchuk Murrieta, Short Sale Specialist Rated 5 Stars (Realty Works) about 9 years ago

Nikki, like Broker Bryant said, 1 click that turns into a client is better than thousands that don't. Unless you can somehow start selling ads because of it.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) about 9 years ago
That is really interesting to see the results of her SEO optimized current events slanted post.
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge about 9 years ago

Niki - That's an amazing number of clicks in a very short period and shows how important local news is.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) about 9 years ago

Very inspiring. This will have a profound impact on my blogging.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) about 9 years ago

Great reminder that many come here to know about their local area since localism posts are such a big part of what we do here!!!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) about 9 years ago

It would be great to get reports like this more often for major topics that come up so we have a taret to write about.  Could we make reports like this a regular topic?

Posted by Bryan Robertson about 9 years ago

Talk about becoming the Local Expert LOL! Great job Michelle & it's true, writting about Current Events brings ppl to your site & will have them keep coming back.

Posted by Samantha Smith, Sam I Am Houses, Simply Texas Real Estate (214.422.0729 about 9 years ago

I'm not surprised, I've done searches myself only to find that it leads me to Active Rain.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) about 9 years ago

I have to agree with Bryan. This is good information to have. Could we get reports of this nature on a regular basis and perhaps they could be area specific (which would really help). Thanks

Posted by Bobbie Smith, 570-242-1891 about 9 years ago

Niki, wasn't even thinking about the SEO of writing about the storm as it approached us here in NC.  All I thought about was some of my new clients that hadn't experienced a hurricane before and what they needed to do to prepare.  I emailed the link to them just as a heads up!

But now thinking about it of course these posts would have gotten pulled in by Google.  Google LOVES us here in the Rain!

Posted by Lee & Pamela St. Peter, Making Connections to Success in Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522) about 9 years ago

And this is interesting also in light of the "points debate" going on. None of those post would get points if we switched to a real-estate-only points system....yet look at the traffic. Consumers getting real information from AR. That's a huge plus

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) about 9 years ago

This also attests to the amount of "juice" that Active Rain has as an authority site!

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) about 9 years ago

Well that certainly shows the power or pertinent, local blogging!  Thanks for the info - I'm on it!

Posted by Caryn Baker (Realty Pros & Assoc.) about 9 years ago

I did my first ever 4th of July post and attracted 5,000 hits to my blog......and the bounce rate went through the roof because they were not looking for mortgage or real estate info. 


Isn't bounce rate an indicator to google SEO and page rank? 

Posted by Brad Yzermans, Temecula-Murrieta-Menifee FHA/VA Mortgage Lender (First Time Home Buyer & Down Payment Assistance Specialist in So Cal.) about 9 years ago

NICE post.. I really appreciate how you provided this data. 10 clicks in that short of time is insane!

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) about 9 years ago

Irene was such a huge draw that it's no wonder the headlines/SEO! Watched it all weekend.  Our weather here is so boring - hot, hot and more hot.  I doubt I'll write about our weather, but when the weather shifts to our wonderful winter patio season, I may write about the best patio dining.  Thanks for the initiative!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) about 9 years ago

Great advice. Thank you.

Posted by Jim McCormack, Nashville Short Sale REALTOR - Stop Foreclosure (Nashville Short Sale Specialist - Jim McCormack - Edge Advantage Realty, LLC - 615-784-EDGE (3343)) about 9 years ago

I suppose many of these people will be needing new homes soon too.  Good work.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 9 years ago

The local point of view from a natural disaster is terrific. The news pretty much distorts everything. The Hurricane could have been much worse. Guess thats what cold ocean water does for you. Here is Destin, Fl. the Gulf is about 84. Much different consequesces.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) about 9 years ago

While the question of relevent clicks is important, we all do know that during a hurricane asking if business came from it is  more of a rhetorical question, RIGHT?? 3 months from now I'd be curious if any of the clicks turned into anything. I know of blogs that get great traffic, and those that get traffic and results, it's how the author positions the information, and IF they include a call to action. Good info to know, regardless, thank you!

Posted by Marie Graham, Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager (Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY) about 9 years ago

comment #56 says:


"I did my first ever 4th of July post and attracted 5,000 hits to my blog......and the bounce rate went through the roof because they were not looking for mortgage or real estate info. 


Isn't bounce rate an indicator to google SEO and page rank? "

Twisted?   So he invited people to his site to find out about  local 4th of July and they bounced right off?  Doesn't that make you want to go see what he said about the 4th of July in his area that would repel people?  I went looking for it... I have to wonder when search engines deliver traffic why would the people bounce. He seems to think that although it was a 4th of July post, and they came from search engines... they were looking for mortgage info or real estate info (?) and that's why they bounced?  Really? Why? They searched for the 4th of July, or an event?  I went looking for the 4th of July post.  It's not here on ActiveRain unless he has more than one blog.  I went to his website, the front page is a blog.  WordPress?  Maybe.  There is no navigation so I can not get to the post.  Not without a lot of work anyway.  I am not able to find the post to see any hints why people looking for info about the 4th of July would bounce.  Perhaps it is a wonderful local post and the reason would remain a mystery. 

If people found Michelle's post via a search engine for local info on the hurricane would they expect to find information on real estate in that post? Or the hurricane?   How long they stay depends on the content, doesn't it?  

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) about 9 years ago

Maureen, I shared info about where they can view fireworks.  I do not post on AR very often.....hope that doesn't bother you too much.  I did not suggest they were looking for mortgage info, and all came from organic searches looking for fireworks info. And my blog post gave it to them....and they left.

My point is that my stats now show a really high bounce rate because they do not click through to read other info.....which turns into a high bounce rate, and that tells google you are not delivering other content related to what drew them to the post.....which is then bad for SEO, right? 

The point of the comment was that although you can draw traffic to a real estate blog about community events/news, that it can possibly harm your SEO and bounce rate. I was asking a question, as this was my first time posting a community related event unrelated to mortgage/real estate.  And no, I KNOW they did not come looking for mortgage info......what's the point of posting totally unrelated content to our sites? community events?

Bounce rate on a real estate site that writes about news events will result in high bounce rate as well, compared to a blog post on the weather channel where there is other related current info about the blog post that drew them there.

How long they stay depends on many things, and content is one, related content, purpose for the site, and how engaging the aricle is.  How engaing is it to read about where to view fireworks?  

My stats show my avg. time on site is almost 2.5 minutes....that is very high for a mortgage blog site.  Real estate holds people longer because they spend more time looking at then turns into lower bounce rates. 

Stats on a mortgage site are much different than a real estate site.

here is one of the posts.  All you had to do was type fireworks in the search box on my site.  I don't create special links in my navigation for old outdated community events....and it was my first one.



Posted by Brad Yzermans, Temecula-Murrieta-Menifee FHA/VA Mortgage Lender (First Time Home Buyer & Down Payment Assistance Specialist in So Cal.) about 9 years ago

Doesn't bother me in the least.

Looking for an excuse not to blog about events?   He's given you the perfect excuse.   They should have  stayed.  Local event blogging does not work (he says.)

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) about 9 years ago