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.