We love this photo that Search Engine Roundtable has on their site! As big Star Trek Fans we love it even more!
We love this photo that Search Engine Roundtable has on their site! As big Star Trek Fans we love it even more!
There are reports coming out of Europe that the SERPS are changing wildly.
We in the United States are waking up to some wild changes for some of our clients, and minor if any changes for others.
We have not seen wild changes in Google’s rankings in quite some time. Over the past few years Google has rolled out slowly any modifications to how it ranks websites. However today it appears that they just pushed out something considerable and this was not rolled out, this was pushed out.
It appears at first glance to be Real-time Penguin. Search Engine News reported earlier this month that all the disavow links will be filtered out in real time.
This most likely means that all those disavows that people have been submitting to webmaster tools are now implemented at the same time. Causing chaos in the SERPS for the next few days.
This is wild, but most likely will settle down in a few days.
It’s fantastic opportunity to see how the results change so quickly. We have not seen these types of fluctuations since the mid 2000’s.
This is a question that many CMO’s think about. If you were to hear it from many traditional advertising firms you’d think that SEO is somewhere along the lines of an afterthought. If you were to hear it from a PPC firm, you would think that SEO is a bunch of tricks that can’t ensure a steady ROI as it constantly is moving up and down. However, if you were to hear it from an SEO firm, the warcry is that SEO has the ability to deliver the highest ROI of all forms of marketing. All these are true and not true at the same time. All the views are valid. But the one that never sticks out, yet is the most positive about it is that SEO is a valid branding strategy.
In all honesty there is no such thing as a digital campaign without including and prioritizing SEO as one of the keystones. SEO is a branding strategy. When someone searches for X and sees your brand, then they search for a variation on X and still sees your brand the client is being exposed to a “self inflicted” branding campaign. As far as the end user knows Google is “suggesting” your site as valid for that search query.
If the potential client is exposed to your brand in several searches, eventually the potential client remembers that your brand is associated with that search. You’ve launched a rudimentary branding campaign with only SEO as the tool.
Many marketing managers don’t think about this, but Wikipedia was nearly fully branded by SEO. Without SEO Wikipedia would never have achieved the same level of traffic and reliance as it has today.
So when someone says “SEO isn’t branding” ask them how it’s not branding every time someone searches for the generic version of your product, and your name appears.
Search Engine Land just published an article that basically states that real SEO’s comply with Google’s Guidelines.
Google declared war against SEO, or better said old school SEO. 10 years later Google shaped the SEO industry to the point where SEO’s now align themselves with Google rather than “against” the search engine.
Google’s victory has been so sound, in fact, that they’ve remade an entire industry and turned their former enemies into allies. Rather than working tirelessly to trick search engines, modern SEO practices more or less work for Google — fighting spam (instead of producing it) and creating great content for Google to dish up to their users.
That is the truth. Though for the record many firms stuck to the guidelines the entire “trip”. The ones that tried to “bend”, “break” or flat out go blackhat had a rough ride over the past few years. But that was in the past, today hiring a professional SEO agency means you are hiring copywriters, technical skills and individuals with the sole mission of making your website Google Guideline compliant.
This isn’t the relationship we had (we as in SEO firms in general) had with Google all though the 2000’s and early 2010’s. SEO firms had internal tricks to rank better, they refused to share those tricks with other SEO firms and tried to hide their methods from Google itself. Of course each of these tricks were discovered and penalized in the search engine when the next update occurred.
It made for wild variations whenever an update occurred. In fact they were named (and still are) similar to hurricanes. The reason they made so much noise was two fold. The first was because the way they rolled out, from datacenter to datacenter over the course of a day or two. The second was because 1/2 the highest ranking websites were specifically targeted to get demoted because they ranked well due to a trick that they were doing.
As Google came down on each of these “tricks” a large percentage of the SERPS would drop out of favor for new ones. These were massive changes. Now however the algorithms are slowly put out in a rolling format over the course of weeks and months. We don’t have rapid world shattering changes from day to day anymore. Now we notice slight changes over the course of a month or two. It’s not like it used to be, where you would do your search and your company drops from #1 to #200 in a matter of 30 seconds. That drop still will occur, but it appears to float down rather than drop like a rock. Vice versa for a site that is starting to climb in the rankings. It doesn’t shoot up like a rocket, more like a slow moving hot air balloon over the course of a few weeks.
This type of SEO is actually more interesting and fun than the rapid change SEO that use to take place.
Welcome to Modern SEO.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reading solid post by @thefounder re good SEO hygiene – thanks for delving into how it's supposed to work. http://bit.ly/bzIeRV
— Google (@google) February 25, 2010
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.
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.