Politics and Political SEO

Political SEO is a short term, but high pressure discipline within the general SEO industry.  The problem is that SEO typically is a long term project, however Political SEO is short term, high pressure “must respond to my competitors attack ad tonight in Google rankings”.

The campaigns generally end on or very near after election night.   So it’s one of only a few SEO disciplines that have a firm end date.

This takes a big toll on the SEO. You as the SEO needs to understand that this , as well as your client.  

You will need to put at least 10-12 hours a day especially when you are close to Election Day.

It takes a very special firm to accommodate requirements like this.  In essence the SEO has to allocate it’s life to the client.  This leaves only a small select group of SEO agencies that can service Political SEO clients.  We are proud to say we are one of those firms.

Campaign managers always trust Yooter with their client campaigns.

Guidelines for SEO – Even Google said we’re doing it right.

We work hard to comply with Google Guidelines. Though typically that means you don’t shoot up in the rankings overnight, it also means you don’t crash the next day. Our methods have always earned respect in the industry. Even from Google itself. It’s not everyday that Google gives a nod on Twitter to an SEO firm for following their guidelines for fortune 500 firms. There are several examples, but here’s one from a few years ago.

We believe that following the Google webmaster guidelines is the safest approach to SEO. You stand very little risk of being penalized for playing the rules and your clients enjoy the confidence in knowing that their internet presence isn’t tarnished. We earned a strong client base simply because we play the rules.

Using a “trick” or a “hack” to get better rankings typically means that same hack or trick will be used against you when the search engines decide to penalize any site that is using that method.

Stay clean and your clients will thank you for years.

Political SEO and the problem with SEO and Advertising in General

We all know the difficulties in Political SEO.     The short timeframe, the need for 24/7 rapid response from content to ranking in Google for anything plastered on DrudgeReport,  Digg, Reddit or any other political outlet that casts your client in a negative light.    The work is hard,  harder in many cases than traditional work with Business or Enterprise SEO like for fortune 500 firms.    The rapid response aspect is enough to have a politician have the direct cell phone number of the SEO to be at his or her service 24 hours a day close to the election day and especially in a tight race.

There are cases where the SEO becomes not just a part of the team,  he becomes the team in some specific instances.

The problem occurs typically at the end of the election.    It’s often said by Political experts that “you should collect the last month invoice up front,  because in the case your client loses he will blame everyone but himself and not pay the last month’s bill.”   This makes sense to SEO and Advertising Agencies because we have seen many instances of Politicians skipping the last month’s bill.

From a history lesson from our own experience.   Herman Cain was running for President on the Republican Ticket in 2012.     His campaign signed a contract for our services.   However we couldn’t collect for our services at the end.  The campaign closed and our last invoices were not paid.

We could have pushed the issue, however we chalked it up to experience.    The fact is, if the campaign loses.   No matter whom is running (in this case a GOP Presidential Contender with potential at the time of securing the ticket) the chances are your last month bill will not be paid.

This is part of the landmine of working in the Political SEO space.


How does Business and Enterprise SEO differ from Political SEO

You would think that SEO is SEO. To an extent you are right. Political SEO should not be any different that SEO for your business. The problem is it is not.

Only in very limited cases is reaction time done in minutes, or hours for Business SEO. You see market forces, you develop products or services to match those market forces, and then you work to rank for those new terms of the products and services that you offer to get a return on your investment. That’s business SEO.

For Political SEO there’s a hard time frame, a solid date. There really are no long term clients for SEO in Politics because campaigns are over after the election. That date is literally election day, but that’s not the worst part.

In Political SEO candidates turn nasty, they make “partial truths” or outright lies about your campaign and you individually. From the second these people make that speech on TV, people start searching for that term, and they do search within minutes of hearing it. Right from their phone, right in the audience and right from their recliner at home. Did you really vote to allow fracking next door to the city water supply? Did you really vote to allow to have high power lines run over my kids middle school playground? Did you really vote to raise my taxes 28 times in the past year?

Political SEO is more about having the right information at the right time, ranking well in Google.

Politicians and their team need to be able to respond within minutes, and rank within minutes from the moment the opposition voices a lie. So when the voters search for that term they find the truth rather than the opponents statement portrayed as fact.

So when your voters are Googling your name with the word “Fracking” 15 minutes after they heard it on TV, Youtube or Facebook, Reddit or the Drudge Report that you allowed a Fracking operation next door to the water supply it doesn’t show only the statement that the opposition made, it shows your response that the Fracking operation is 45 minutes away in another county.

Technically you could also use your newfound SEO ability to not just retort, but also launch campaigns as well. If your candidate was doing something he was trying to hide, in this case you could launch a campaign with the truth and make sure that message was heard by voters well before he could respond.

Political SEO is a powerful tool, and over the past few years Google has been able to index and rank well content within minutes. If correctly SEO’ed with the right team this allows you to use this platform to achieve one of the most powerful ways to communicate with your voters.

Yooter InterActive is a leading political SEO team with extensive experience with politicians, Fortune 500 firms and works well with leading advertising agencies.

Political SEO – the demand is there

When elections become heated, ranking or not ranking for a term might be enough to sway a vote. For tight races this means winning or losing an election. Political SEO is now one of the cornerstones of a valid political campaign. It’s as important as TV ads, Print, Signs and other types of advertising.

It’s suggested that a political operative in charge of marketing allocates at least 10-20% of the budget towards SEO, SEM and other online marketing tools. The problem is until recently SEO was never targeted specifically. Advertising agencies that are contracted to do the SEM and Social Media tried to do SEO but that all changed in 2008 and 2012 when organic SEO became one of the biggest income makers.

People would be searching for Obama, Ron Paul or others.. reading news and donating. This has been happening for years but not to the extent shown in the 2 most recent elections.

If you are running for office, you should be considering an SEO with extensive experience.

SEO for Politicians and people running for office

The last thing a politician needs is to rank poorly, or worse, rank well for terms they don’t want to rank for.

We have done extensive work for some of the biggest names in Politics. Typically it’s through their advertising agency that subcontracts the Political SEO to Yooter.

Though we do accept accounts directly though the respective campaign.

Every 4 years this becomes a bigger and bigger issue.

Win or Lose, the campaigns only really run until the election. These are not long term “business building” accounts. These individuals need help, and need it now during the election season. Long term doesn’t cut it during an election. This is why in many cases politicians have hired us though their advertising agency who subcontracted it to us and didn’t realize we were the ones doing their SEO.

We have been “blamed” in some circles for influencing some tight campaigns in favor of our client. We have worked with many of the current elected officials.

Yooter InterActive is opening the doors to Federal, State and even local political campaigns to have their SEO professional managed. We have helped elect people to Washington and state capitals for decades.

Feds Open Antitrust investigation into Google’s Android OS

For some reason, The feds targeted Google leaving their competitor, Apple unscathed by the anti-trust investigation. Even though Apple controls a sizable market and Android is mostly opensource.

Google’s Android mobile software is the world’s most popular. In the U.S. it accounted for 59% of the market while Apple’s iPhone software had 38%, according to research firm International Data Corp.

So Apple is sitting at nearly 40% market share and Google is the one being charged with creating a monopoly?

The issue appears to be bundling Google’s services into Android. Similar to the Windows bundling of IE back in the late 1990’s-2000’s.

It’s a joke, a mess and only stops innovation.

If we were to take this line of thought, I want Siri on my Ubuntu desktop without any hacks not just approved iOS devices.. if Apple won’t release the code, then the feds should sue Apple over being monopolistic. How dare they take a product they purchased and worked on and only include it with Apple Devices newer than X.

The last true successful federal intervention into an monopoly took place over a century before, with the breakup of Standard Oil back in May 15, 1911. That’s over 100 years ago. Since that point it’s been used as more of a political points tool rather than an actual break up. Some argue that the AT&T breakup in the 1980’s was effective, but looking at my phone bill I would argue otherwise.

Google is being unfairly targeted. If you want to go after a monopoly, go after one that counts like Comcast.

Search Optimization – How to measure ROI

Often companies try to measure ROI for SEO for good reason. Because it’s often stated that the ROI on SEO is potentially higher than any forms of marketing online and offline.

But proving it is sometimes difficult without proper tracking. For PPC / SEM it’s easier (not easy, just easier), just measure what you spent vs what you get back. However for SEO it’s not exactly that simple. Things like “branded keywords” might be partially attributed to the overall marketing effort (some argue however that “branded keywords” are also due to the hard work of the SEO effort.

I’ll outline in short form what is the best way to reasonably keep track of SEO and the ROI associated with it.

Consider the nature of SEO. If someone clicks on your Google listing, it does not raise the price of your marketing effort one penny unlike PPC that you get billed per click. This is why SEO has often been labeled the most efficient marketing method possible. There is no direct additional costs for each additional visitor (bandwidth and servers not factored in, since that would be a factor in any marketing method). This means that any additional content that you post, ranks well and attracts potential customers is effectively free after the initial effort of making that content. So measure the “cost” of making that content, and measure how many conversions it creates over a period of time. This period of time should be measured in months or more. It is common for us to get clients from a post that we made 4 years ago. So these content pages though might degrade over time, by no means go away. Then you can measure how many people visited your site from that specific content page, and then came back to your site over the course of the next X months and converted.

Another line of thought is how much did that SEO effort cost you? Well that post did cost you something, you had to have someone (or yourself) sit down and write up that content, or photo, or video. Time is money. But that hour or two of effort can pay off the next day, the next month or even the next year. In essance you have to measure how much effort in a dollar figure that content cost you vs what it returned over the course of a year. Many clients see an ROI on some content they created to be something on the order of over $4,000 dollars returned for every $1 spent on SEO. We had a client that created a content page regarding the launch of a new mobile product. The article simply had the specifications of the device listed, battery life, and a few other items. This content was already published but not together or in a logical format. We advised them to create that page. Their conversion rate was literally over $4,000 return for every $1 dollar invested creating that page when measured over the course of the year. Creating that content page took several people about 6 hours (photos, people to take images, and a short video). They made a fortune from it. What happened was simple, the page ranked well. Was picked up by the technology section of Reddit and became a ROI machine. The point of this is that you can’t measure the success of content in days, it is something measured in months or longer.

The content rule, takes a short time to create content yet pays off continuously over an internet lifetime.

SEO RFP Questions and Template

Often larger firms want to float an RFP out to select vendors for the SEO of their firm. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Mostly because each SEO firm has their own strengths and weaknesses.

We felt that it would be helpful to put out a template, along with some of the proper questions to ask for the RFP ( request for proposal ) so that it makes sense to both the SEO firm and the company that is requesting it.

Template Questions or variations of questions:

Q: How long have you been in business?
A: Typically 10 years would be a good starting point, anything less than that and you are looking at a risk.

Q: What clients do you have or had in XXXX industry?
A: Look for clients that have some experience with competitors or related firms.

Q: Do you have experience with companies of XXXX size?
A: Look for firms that have experience working with a firm your size.

Q: Have you worked with fortune 500 firms?
A: Fortune 500 firms typically outsource whatever costs too much to build internally, Considering they have massive resources if the SEO firm had/has fortune 500 firms as clients, it typically means that they have a skillset that a large firm cannot match internally despite their large resources. This is generally viewed as a good thing.

Q: Do you guarantee results? (if the answer is yes, don’t go forward, these people lie).
A: Unless they own Google, a firm cannot promise that a third party can deliver results.

Q: What is the typical time from start of work to start seeing results.
A: From a person that has 20+ years of experience, 6 months is a good starting number.

Q: Do your SEO firm offer month to month contracts?
A: Any SEO firm worth its salt can offer month to month contracts. Tying a client into a long term agreement only means that the SEO firm is unsure of their capabilities. Insist on a month to month contract. Make that SEO firm earn it’s pay each month. We at Yooter InterActive only offer month to month contracts, and we have had clients since 2004 on a month to month contract.

Q: What are your rates?
A: Companies only charge what they believe they are worth. If a company is charging less than $100/hour it means that the labor is unskilled. This should raise red flags galore if they are offering to optimize your website for pennies. There is no such thing as a “discount rate” when you are paying for skilled labor.

Political SEO Services and Fortune 500 Social Experts