I am not an overly political person. I actually enjoy reading about marketing, technology and Internet topics a lot more than politics. But all this election talk made me think that perhaps I should become more politically informed. After all, there is an election coming up. Then I thought, well what if I combined the topics I love with the presidential race? Maybe that would make me interested in learning more in depth info about the candidates?
So, I took the 3 leading democratic and republican candidates and visited their websites and did some other simple research to see what they were doing and what was happening on the Internet for each. All of the source data I gathered is listed at the bottom of this article.
Here are some interesting highlights from my research:
1) The Internet marketing race within each party is pretty close. For each party, the sites for each candidate are seeing similar amounts of traffic, as well as similar stats on other key Internet marketing metrics. John Edwards was lagging behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but recently has been doing well and currently has more traffic than they do. For the republicans, the Internet race looks like a dead heat at this point. Of course individual candidates see some spikes on days where there is key news, especially when they announced their candidacy. But the general trend seems to be that they all have similar levels of traffic. Below are graphs of traffic for the major candidates, shown by each party.
2) The democrats are dominating the battle of the Internet. All of the major democratic candidates were well above all the republicans in website traffic by a big margin. It made me wonder if Alexa (or the Internet itself) is perhaps skewed with democrats. Or perhaps there is a large republican voting population that does not go online much? Or perhaps republican voters in general are less politically engaged and less likely to visit a candidates’ website, but will still vote? A graph showing the relative traffic for each party’s top candidate (in terms of website traffic) is below.
3) All of the candidates scored reasonably well (80 or above) on the Website Grader Reports. Clearly the success of Howard Dean in using the Internet to mobilize grassroots support got the attention of everyone in politics and all of the candidates have spent some time (and I bet money) on making their websites effective marketing tools. But, the scores did show that a couple of the republicans could use some work. Copies of the individual reports are available at the bottom of this article.
4) Only 2 candidates are making use of Google AdWords. Barack Obama and John McCain are advertising under terms like “presidential candidate” and “presidential election”. No one is advertising under the term “president”. That would be a gutsy move, I know… but I think once the mainstream media picked it up you could get a ton of buzz for it. Maybe someone will try it later when they are behind and the end of the race is approaching. Plus you could get a top rank with a low bid since you have no competition! I do give Barack Obama major points for being the only one to advertise under the search term “next president”.
5) Interesting organic search results for “next president”. What I also find interesting is that in the organic search results on Google for “next president”, a Christopher Walken (loved him in Pulp Fiction) website gets the #1 organic ranking, the Dilbert Blog (who doesn’t love Dilbert) gets #4 and John Kerry (less loveable I think, but I still like him for being a Boston guy) gets #5. Clearly there is an opportunity for some of the major candidates to optimize around that term.
Overall, I think Barack Obama gets my “vote” for being the candidate who is using the Internet for marketing his website best. He has the strongest traffic, has the most inbound links, he is doing the most with AdWords, and has the best Technorati ranking.
Below are the data and reports I used as well as some links if you want to explore yourself:
One of the tools I used to compile this data was the Website Grader on Small Business Hub. Below are links to PDF reports from the candidate’s Website Grader reports: