Election SEO ( Search Engine Optimization )

There are quite a few names for Political SEO. Election SEO, SEO for Politicians and a dozen other variations.

The end result is always the same, a politician or his operative hires an SEO firm to help build a brand that they could trade on. To actively monitor and work with Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social and search outlets to keep control of the message their client is trying to maintain and build.

This becomes a literal full time job for many people especially close to election. At that point people are searching to high levels trying to figure out who to vote for. They heard rumors of X or Y and are trying to see if that rumor is true.

This is when Political SEO becomes the central piece of any political campaign. Your client needs to be ranking for that term , that night. So not only does the SEO have to monitor what’s happening , but they also have to respond and rank in time for the rush of voters that want to know the true story.

This type of SEO isn’t normal, this is Political SEO and this type of SEO makes typical business SEO look like Checkers compared to Chess.

Most businesses don’t require to respond by election night. Though that occasionally does happen, it’s typically called Crisis Management SEO or an advanced version of reputation management.

Though this work is similar, it’s typically narrowed to one specific instance. A bad review on Yelp or an event that took place that individuals are discussing on social media and blogs. However Political SEO is this, but on many fronts, way too many fronts in recent elections.

Yooter InterActive can guide you though this minefield and help get your client elected.

Political SEO Guidelines for a campaign manager doing it on their own

A checklist of sorts for a Political SEO operative. Nothing like this exists right now in a report format, so this might help you if you are doing digital campaign for your candidate.

1 – Adopt a blogging platform, We suggest WordPress. The reason for this is that you need a rapid response tool that normally is indexed quickly in Google, has the ability to push out onto Social Media automatically such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools via free plugins. Technically speaking, you could voice to text to your phone, press submit and it will display in Google, Twitter, Facebook and every other social media outlet you have connected it to. With one button you can update your response in short order. WordPress can also be configured to have it automatically mail journalists if you desire. In other words the platform is nearly perfect for what you are trying to accomplish in many instances.

2 – Monitor others, you need to keep an eye on what the competition is doing. You can of course just search daily or read news reports. But a more proactive way is to get notifications from Google when certain keywords are mentioned.

3 – Setup some notification from Facebook and Twitter as well , the google one works fine for legit or somewhat legitimate news sources, but if you want to understand what is going on in the social media front you need to monitor each social media outlet. You can do this via many tools available, even WordPress has plugins that do this for you to an extent in the dashboard. But you really should check up on this yourself and don’t rely on tools.

4 – Start Blogging, you need to outline your candidates position clearly. On Fracking I believe X and Y. On Abortion I believe X and Y. On Legalization of Marijuana I believe in X and Y. Be factual don’t fluff it up to the point where another candidate can start calling you “wishy-washy”, a “flip-flopper” or any other type of distraction from the message. These posts need to be very clear on what the candidate believes.

5 – Continue blogging, your candidate wanted to run for office because he or she believes in something. In these set of posts please make sure that your candidates values are being shown in a positive light. Use stories on why your candidate takes that position. Photos and images should correspond to that message.

6 – Donations. Let’s face it any campaign is dead in the water without funding. You need to make it easy to donate. Paypal, Credit Card, all these should be options, and all these should be easily reached from any page on your site. I suggest a third party processor such as Paypal because you don’t want to store credit card numbers on your candidates site. The last thing you need is a security problem being publicized in the middle of a campaign.

7 – Contact – People that vote want to know if the candidate they contact will care about their issues. Please make it easy for them to contact you AND be good about responding.

8 – Respond – to what you believe is needed to be responded to via your Blog. It should be the defacto go to site for anything concerning your candidate. Since it is tied into your social media, one post there populates many areas, such as Facebook and Twitter. Responses, if setup in a similar fashion, quick and easy and casts a big net.

9 – Attack – If you want to go on the offensive, please note that the same tools you use for defense can be used offensively. If your adversary is trying to cover up something he or she did in the past that relates directly to the election, by all means make sure it’s there. Just remember when campaigns go negative they have a hard time going back to the high road. Be prepared to go on the defensive just as quick. Negative campaigns turn expensive with pay per click, hulu ads, youtube ads, TV ads and everything else you can afford. This is not the route one normally desires but is forced into.

10 – Go back to step one.

Political SEO – The timeline of expectations

Why do political operatives hire SEO firms?

The reason is simple. Political Elections require super fast turn around between attack ads and responses. They require 24/7 vigilance over what is being said about the candidate and a way to respond within minutes within Google’s results. If a competitor launches an attack ad saying “Joe approved a fracking project next door to the water supply” You need to rank with a truthful article for “joe fracking water supply” in Google. That article should be ranked well when the individual is searching for those terms that night.

This is not traditional SEO. This is Political SEO. A completely differing animal. Most businesses have a set of keywords they want to rank for, and they work towards that goal. In this case it’s not a set of keywords, it’s a set of responses (or attacks) on their competitor. These keywords change by the day, the hour or the minute depending on how the story is unfolding and how people are searching to get the real answer.

This type of SEO isn’t cheap, but it’s the type of SEO that politicians need. Typically attack ads are designed to hinder the ability of the opposition to respond quickly. With a Political SEO on your team that nullifies that ability.

We are taking select political SEO clients now. We only take one candidate per election, so oftentimes it is the first one that contacts us is the first one to get the advantage. We reserve the right to refuse any candidate should we deem them not a proper fit. We do not discriminate between parties, we service both Republican and Democratic tickets.

Enjoy the new reality on Political Elections moving forward. This is a developing industry that only grows every few years and only the smartest politicians with experienced SEO teams win that battle.

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.

Political SEO Services and Fortune 500 Social Experts