Can SEO Help Your Political Campaign?
- December 15, 2021
- Business Marketing, SEO Snapshots
Every election cycle, we at Online Advantages tend to get a few emails and calls about using SEO tools and tactics for political campaigns, including whether we even offer these services or do political campaigns at all.
The short answer is, “Yes, we can help political campaigns!”
But there’s also a lot of skepticism about if or to what degree SEO can help power a political campaign to victory, even after the victories of Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden on the national election scene would appear to have settled the question once and for all. Because of this, we wanted to take some time and discuss SEO specifically geared to the political arena, as opposed to more generalized local SEO or technical SEO optimization for influencer marketing. Here are a few things we use and have told people in the past about using SEO to help boost your political campaign—and why Online Advantages is the SEO consultant you need to make sure your candidate’s name is the search engine result that comes out on top!
SEO 101 for Politicians
Whether you’re running for a city council seat, campaigning to become the next Circuit Court Judge or setting your sights on the Oval Office, the ability of your campaign to reach and resonate with voters is key to your success. In less technologically advanced times, this meant a lot of legwork, angling for media attention, working the rubber chicken circuit and shaking hands with voters. While pressing the flesh is still an integral part of campaigning, the digital revolution means you have more work to do, not less. And it starts with SEO, or search engine optimization.
The premise of SEO is simple: If people searching for information can’t find you, they’re not going to buy from you, whether you’re selling them cupcakes or a campaign ideology.
Search engine optimization is the sum total of everything that happens on-page, where your message gets out to people through your official campaign website and social media feeds, and off-page, where the various signals that determine who is shown your message in search results and how it is prioritized are sent, received, processed and acted upon. This means everything from the domain name, title tags and meta description on your official website to link building and managing your online reputation to make sure you’re seen first in search results as the best choice in the field of political candidates for the office you’re seeking.
Search engine optimization is all about getting your message in front of the “right” eyes.
For local businesses, that means people who live, work and play in their area and are looking for the goods and services they offer, from bakeries to bumper repairs. For people in the political arena, that means reaching not only people who already share your party or philosophical affiliation, but undecided voters who could go either way and help pave the way to victory for you—or your political opponents. Because of this, the urgency and importance of political SEO in your overall political campaign strategy cannot be overstated.
To reiterate, your campaign’s SEO strategies for your political campaign website could make the crucial difference between victory and defeat.
But if you’re busy shaking hands, traveling around and meeting the press and the public at social networking events, how are you going to have the time to do everything successful SEO for political campaigns demands?
Online Advantages has the answer. We are willing to help or work with SEO strategies for political office regardless of party, affiliation or campaign size, from running for local office to managing the SEO for a presidential campaign. As an experienced SEO company, it’s our duty to put our clients’ interests and success first and our own politics and personal beliefs second. We work with your existing campaign’s strategies or can craft one from whole cloth, to give your digital campaign’s presence the traction and leverage you need to attract voters. Whether you just need some simple tweaks to optimize your campaign’s site to make sure your message is clear or you need a complete candidate’s political campaign website and social profile created from scratch to establish yourself as a viable contender, Online Advantages offers a full suite of SEO strategies and tools to get your name out first in search rankings and position yourself in front of the voters who will decide whether you get the job or not.
Online Advantages proudly offers the following services for political websites:
- Targeted Keyword Research to help us identify keyword phrases that will attract the right voters and contributors for you
- Social Media Profiles that keep your message sharp, focused and on point
- Technical and backend SEO to make sure Google’s search algorithms tools see you and your message
- Complete Candidate’s Website Buildout to make sure your digital campaign’s ready for primetime
- Online Reputation Management so you know what your constituents are saying about you and what they need, want and expect from you as a candidate and person, letting you stay out in front with your message
- Social Media Services to keep you in contact with your constituency
- Content Creation including blog articles, think pieces for political websites and press releases that establish you as the premier candidate in a campaign
- Printed Campaign Materials that distill your message down to crystal clarity and razor sharpness to get your message out in more traditional ways
- And much more!
Politics isn’t for the faint of heart, and political SEO is no longer nice to have for a campaign—it’s essential to your campaign’s survival and your ability to get elected.
Online Advantages can help improve your election campaign’s online presence and increase your chances of ranking ahead of your competition. To find out more about how political search engine optimization can help the campaign achieve its goals, click here for a free, no-obligation consultation and SEO audit. And to learn more about political SEO campaign tools and why they matter, keep reading for our FAQs about political search engine optimization from Online Advantages!
Frequently Asked Questions About Political SEO
Online Advantages is here to help with straight talk, real answers and honest information to help political candidates and their managers get the maximum leverage from their campaigns!
Question: Why does SEO matter in a small election? –Anne, Charlotte, NC
Answer: From law firms and real estate offices to presidential campaigns to down-ballot races, SEO can help support your political campaign’s message by making sure it gets top results to reach the right people. While many people still discount the importance of the campaign support SEO can offer, the last three sitting Presidents of the United States were elected in great part because of canny use of the SEO tools available to boost the signal for their campaign messages—and that’s just in the past 12 years. It takes no notice of “lesser” campaigns from Senator to county sheriff. The bottom line is, SEO helps political campaigns rank in search engines so candidates and their platforms are easier for constituents and voters to find. If you want to improve your chances of getting elected, you need your name to rank in your area—and the SEO consultant you choose for this could make or break your campaign!
Question: How do I know if my political SEO campaign is up to scratch? –William, Sturgis, SD
Answer: It can be difficult to make sure every moving part you need for an effective digital campaign is working right. Generally, reputable SEO providers will do a detailed website audit and social media evaluation at the very beginning of your working relationship, looking both at the user-facing content and backend material to make sure everything’s working as it should. But if you want to check for yourself and see if you can identify any technical issues, here are a few points that can impact your rank in search results and the likelihood of your message getting to voters and donors in a timely manner.
1. Google yourself. Generally, the higher your name ranks in search as a candidate, the better it is for your campaign.
2. Check out your backlinks. Who’s linking to your website or social media? What’s their agenda? A good backlink from an authority site can be political gold, while backlinks from your opponents’ websites and social media feeds could be political dynamite.
3. Try accessing your website on different platforms, from a PC to a tablet to a smart phone. Google rankings tend to give pride of place to websites that load fast, look good and work well on multiple platforms because mobile search is such a hot signal in SEO.
4. Does your website feature accessibility for disabled visitors, such as alt text for pictures and closed captioning for video content? If your site doesn’t offer accessibility to the visually or hearing impaired, this will be a huge mark against your site and could make the difference between Google displaying it or not.
5. Are you keeping up with responses and feedback to your recent posts on your site’s blog? Does the message you’re sending jibe with the message you want to be sending? Are you diligent about making sure your content is kept up to date?
Obviously, there’s a lot more to good SEO than just these few items—but they are easy to check on your own and have a disproportionate impact on your online presence. If any of these items are out of whack, it better get fixed fast, or there’s a good chance it will sink you with Google and other search engines and deny you the victory you deserve!
Question: I worked with an SEO reseller and lost in my last campaign. How do I know Online Advantages really helps campaigns themselves? –Andrew, Stamford, CT
Answer: Online Advantages doesn’t outsource our work to SEO resellers or so-called “white label” contractors. Everything we do is done in-house by our seasoned, professional staff of content creation and SEO experts, assuring you maximum results, minimum turnaround time and the best possible outcome. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of a given campaign, we give you our word that we will do everything in our power, consistent with the constraints of the law and SEO best practices, to ensure your campaign’s success.
Question: I’ve already got a Wikipedia page that people can find easily. Is that enough for political SEO? –Charlotte, Arlington, VA
Answer: Sorry to say, but a Wikipedia page by itself isn’t even close to enough. In fact, many people from college professors to SEO experts don’t consider a Wikipedia page to be an authority link of any kind, given that Wikipedia is edited by users themselves and the information may not be wholly accurate. Having a Wikipedia page can be helpful, as long as it’s not tampered with, edited or altered by political opponents or their operatives, but at the bare minimum you should have:
- A dedicated, optimized campaign website that prominently features your name as one of the main keywords
- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts for social media outreach and constituent contact
- Press releases that state your intent to run in a given campaign and give updates on how the campaign is going, including any major successes or coups it’s managed
- Dedicated authority links from trusted websites like local and national news outlets, as well as thought pieces on websites that cater to your specific target voter demographics
If you have these things, congratulations! You’re well on the way to having a great SEO basis for your political campaign. Even then, though, there are other things you can do which will help boost your chances of success. Unless you’re already skilled and knowledgeable about SEO, we suggest engaging an experienced SEO company like Online Advantages to let us take care of all the digital marketing stuff while you focus on the most important business in front of you—getting elected!
Question: Can Online Advantages guarantee I’ll win my election campaign? –Rachel, Lake Oswego, OR
Answer: As it happens, we cannot. The reason for this is simple: Done right, SEO takes time to really pay dividends, in some cases up to six months before people really start seeing results. There are some shady “black hat” tactics that can and do provide instant results—but long-term, these quick fixes usually cause more problems than they solve.
In many cases, by the time someone has decided they want to run for political office, the window has already closed for the best possible results.
This isn’t to say that miracles can’t and don’t happen, but if you’re betting your present and future political career on one, you’re probably going to lose.
The best fix for this is to start as early as possible on the digital side of your campaign. If the race for the position you want to get elected to just wrapped up, now is the time to start crafting your message, burnishing your presentation and establishing your bona fides to run. It’s also a good time to study your existing competition and harden your campaign against surprise threats from both known challengers and dark horse candidates. The more time we have to let the machine work and make the refinements we need, the more likely it is that you’ll have a successful campaign.
Ultimately, however, YOU are the one trying to get elected. YOU are the one with a message and a platform. If your message and platform don’t resonate with your target voters, then all the digital marketing in the world probably isn’t going to be enough to get you elected. This is why it’s important to have a clear, concise, consistent message, a stable platform and a firm, clear vision for your intentions and policies right from the moment you announce your candidacy. We can do all the tech wizardry and create all the content you like—but if your message alienates your constituency, or you put too much faith in the machine at the expense of making sure your target voters feel personally seen, heard, empathized with and understood, then at best you’re going to have an uphill battle. You’ll greatly increase your chances of success, and our ability to assist you in achieving your political goals, if we get started while the incumbent is still giving their victory speech for this election cycle!
Question: What are the top things my political campaign should prioritize to make sure I get the maximum SEO dividends? –Jacob, Clovis, NM
Answer: We get this question a lot, and the short answer is, “It depends.” The longer, more accurate answer is, “It depends on what you’ve already got, where you’re strong and doing well and where your weaknesses are.”
The first thing you should emphasize is a lightweight website that doesn’t use a lot of system resources to pull up. While you may want CGI fireworks in front of your candidacy picture and a 64-bit rendering of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” playing when your website pulls up, every extra thing you have on the page adds to the load time. If you have too much load time, many people are going to get tired of waiting for the lag to clear and move on to the next thing on their agenda. Therefore, a fancy, high-resource website with all the bells and whistles is more likely to be a detriment to your SEO and how your campaign site ranks in algorithms than a benefit, even if the final effect looks cool.
The second thing you should emphasize is your content. Having a clear, consistent message in black and white that voters can easily understand and internalize is pure SEO gold, because search engine algorithms will almost always prioritize great content over any other individual SEO signal. The holy trinity of SEO is authority, trust and clarity. If your website delivers all of these, that by itself will help to cover a multiplicity of lesser sins.
Third, you need to make yourself as easy to find among your target voters as possible. In a local election, such as for the school board, this shouldn’t be too hard. If you’re stumping for national office, such as the Presidency, then you need to rely more on talking points than individual location, although you can’t afford to overlook the importance of local politics and how they might impact even national election bids. “All politics is local,” goes the old saying—and it’s not wrong!
Fourth, you need a dedicated SEO consultant who cares about your success as much as you do. Anyone can take your money, do some keyboard voodoo while you’re watching, pretend it did something and vanish with your campaign’s war chest while you’re giving your concession speech. But a reputable SEO company will be able to demonstrate results in real time, backed up by hard data and numbers that don’t just show, but prove, that yes, they did actually do something worthwhile for your campaign and help you earn your win.
Online Advantages is here to help with all your digital marketing and political campaign needs.
To find out more about how political SEO can help your campaign get off the ground or jump to the next level, click here to contact us for a no-cost, no-obligation SEO audit and website analysis. You have the will to win and the drive to serve your constituents, your community and your country—and Online Advantages has the tools and skills to help you do exactly that, ethically and honestly!
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