How to Vote Re: Will’s post : Politicians don’t get it!

Will Critchlow’s post on Distilled’s blog yesterday piqued our interest and got some of us at Evolve thinking. Entitled “Black hat politics: online dirty tricks,” it covers a list of ways political candidates manipulate the campaign process. Politics leave a poor taste in the mouth of the general public, and for good reason. Reading Will’s presentation made it clear that the cheap shots are only amplified with the new digital resources available. You thought elections were messy before? This age, as Will described, provides opportunity for candidates to tactically attack opponents via social media impersonation, the viral spread of rumors, and retargeted ads. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if politicians took a different approach and found a way to spread awareness without succumbing to typical dirty tricks? Derek took some screen shots of the SERP for the query “how to vote.” In the image below, do you notice anything interesting about the results? Look closely.

Screen shot of query

There are no political candidates showing up for this term. Not a single one. Some people might rationalize that it’s not a politician’s job to respond to this question, especially when there are sites like Rock the Vote. As SEOs, though, we understand that the sales funnel is wide open at the top. While answering questions like “how can I register to vote?” may not be on a particular candidate’s specific agenda, it’s still an opportunity for them to respond and deliver a solution, thus gaining some traction. And considering that votes are pretty critical to a politician’s future, perhaps candidates should find a way to squeeze it onto their star-spangled agendas. What’s even more interesting is the competition for these keywords. It’s very low, and these terms are starting to get some some heavy activity.

Keyword traffic screenshot

Screenshot of keyword traffic

My guess is that the numbers of searches is going to rocket in the upcoming months, but what do I know? Actually, looking at the surge in numbers during the ‘04 and ‘08 elections, I think we can safely bet that these terms are going to be extremely valuable.

Screen shot of trends

Screen shot of google trends

Running for office is a full time job, and much like businesses, politicians have to rope in the conversions. That said, we just think politicians would be better off shifting their skills a bit. What greater way to prove you’re qualified to run a country than to make yourself useful for its citizens? Shed some clarity on these subjects:

  • Immigrants and voting
  • Places to vote
  • Voting procedure
  • Conservative vs. liberal beliefs

Politicians should be discussing these keywords to build loyalty among the population; how else are they going to win this thing in November (which, by the way, is a mere six months away)? We made a flow chart last week about this very topic a about how good SEO is directly related to building brand loyalty. Maybe America’s politicians should check it out and rethink their tactics.