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Googlection 2008

BY Michael Bassik | Tuesday, February 13 2007

As more and more candidates declare their intention to run for president in 2008, more and more Americans will turn to search engines like Google and Yahoo! to find their websites.

After all, who would know that Sam Brownback’s website is www.brownback.com versus www.sambrownback.com or www.brownback2008.com?

So, at a minimum, I expected all 17 of the presumed candidates to have purchased keywords on Google and Yahoo!. For between $.10 and $.25 per click, candidates can make sure they’re directing traffic from potential supporters to the proper website.

To my surprise, only six of the 17 presumed candidates have purchased keywords on search engines. And if you take a closer look, it’s the Republicans who are doing a significantly better job of using search to communicate with the electorate.

For example:

  • Four Republicans (Romney, McCain, Giuliani, and Tancredo) are using search to reach voters compared to two Democrats (Vilsack and Richardson).
  • 57% of the announced Republican candidates have purchased keywords on Google versus just 20% of the announced Democratic candidates.
  • Republicans are purchasing the names of their opponents (i.e. Romney purchased the keyword “John McCain”) whereas none of the Democrats seem to be cross-pollinating.
  • Although not to the same extent, only Republicans are advertising on both Google and Yahoo! search engines.

That said, no candidate seems to be using search to reach voters searching for information on specific issues. For example, no candidate website appears in the top results when searching for terms like “global warming” or “war in iraq” or “energy independence.”

It’s time all candidates recognize the power of search to drive highly-targeted traffic to their fledgling websites. Get cracking, everyone! We’re watching.