Many of our clients have recently reached out to us asking how to make their campaign website more visible to search engines (like Google). Due to popular request we decided to share a few tricks that we’ve learned from our social media and search engine optimization friends.
Before we jump into the tricks it’s important to clarify a few things.
The art of making your website visible to search engines is called search engine optimization (SEO).
Traditional SEO generally focuses on changing code on your website to target specific words and creating a lot of links to your website from other websites.
With the rise of social networks traditional methods for SEO became less relevant relative to social network signals. According to Searchmetrics, 7 of the 10 of the most important factors in SEO ranking now come from social media.
This means that using social media for your political campaign has a huge effect on whether people can find you on the internet.
Social Media Tricks That Will Help Your SEO
Start A Blog
This is a very important aspect to your strategy because the content you produce on your blog will drive people to your website and social networks.
Use Facebook Correctly
Senator Mike Lee has 62,991 fans. Had the Senator used a personal page he would have been cut off at 5,000.
Search engines not only rank using backlinks, but they also rank by who and how many people you’re connected to. Having more connections on Facebook will impact whether or not you appear in search results.
In addition to this problem…Google doesn’t track content on your personal Facebook page (Bing does though). That means your content being shared on your personal Facebook page isn’t really boosting you in Google’s search results.
Post Content To Google Plus
A lot of people don’t use Google + claiming that it’s worthless to use due to a lack of users, however, from an SEO perspective Google + is one of the most important social networks to be a part of because Google has openly claimed to give posts in Google + preferential treatment as far as SEO goes. Every blog post you create needs to be shared on your Google + account.
How powerful is posting to Google +? Mark Traphagen recently did a test where he got his Google + followers to +1 an article published by Forbes.
20 days and 64 +1’s later…the Forbes article he shared on Google + outranked Forbes.com in Google’s search engine. Don’t believe me? Check out his article here.
Mark Vang is an avid Google + user who has a plethora of knowledge in the realm of Google +. Recently he pointed out several additional benefits to using Google + that need to be mentioned.
In Mark’s words:
“Candidates may also want to consider a Google Community. Public communities are indexed by Google Search, and listed in the G+ community directory. A candidate could set up a Google+ Business Page for their campaign, then have that page act as the owner of the community. A private, unlisted community could serve as a rally point for campaign contributors and supporters. The G+ business page can have a branded YouTube channel which allows community members to host on-air hangouts (think Town Hall meetings). Those on-air hangouts create YouTube videos that would reap the SEO benefits described in this post. Google allows up to 50 managers for a page, so that makes it easy for a campaign to delegate tasks to campaign staff.”
Mark’s suggestions are spot on. If any candidate utilizes this method we would love to hear about it.
Get On YouTube
For example I once had an advertising business and I noticed that my competitors weren’t on YouTube, but they were really good at producing publishing content. To compete with them I produced one YouTube video and included keywords regarding my advertising business in the title and tags.
In less than a month my YouTube video was appearing on the front page of Google and my competitors were never able to catch up (because I had more views on my video).
Target Influencers On Twitter
One of the great things about Twitter is that you can literally connect and talk to anyone. One of the best SEO tricks you should use is identifying, connecting with, and talking to influencers.
You can type in another politician’s Twitter username like SenFeinstein (Senator Dianne Feinstein) or a phrase like “I love politics” or “#politics”.
Some of them will follow you back opening up the ability for you to have regular conversations with them, using the @ tag will ensure that they receive your tweet, and retweeting them will increase the probability that they will retweet you back (creating a powerful backlink).
Grow Your Twitter Account
How many tweets should you send? That’s a tough question. Senator John McCain has the most Twitter followers relative to all other U.S. Senators. He tweets roughly 5 to 7 times a day. You might want to follow his lead.
What we have found is if you follow people on Twitter there is a 15% chance or more that they will follow you back. Many of our clients see a followback rate of 50% or higher.
How does it work? The Grow Tool allows you to type in a keyword like “I love politics” and it will pull up everyone who recently said “I love politics” on Twitter. The tool then has an easy mechanism for mass following of those individuals who love politics.
You can also type in your competitor’s Twitter handle. For example if I am running against Senator John McCain I can type in his Twitter handle SenJohnMcCain and the tool will pull up all of his followers. I can then systematically follow all of his followers on Twitter.
The Grow Tool also allows you to target voters and donors on Twitter. You simply send us your voter or donor list and we will upload it into the system.
The tool will then find all of the individuals from the list and populate them in the Grow Tool allowing you to systematically micro-target every voter or donor in your campaign area.
Get A Wikipedia Page
A cheaper approach is to find a college student that has successfully written several Wikipedia pages in the past and pay them 100 dollars.
We have seen both methods work effectively. The one method that rarely works is trying to write it yourself.
One additional trick to consider is adding your name to your competitor’s Wikipedia page. People looking up your competitor will go to their Wikipedia page and see that you’re running against them. Link your name to your Wikipedia page. In this way your competitor will potentially drive traffic to you.
Add Links To Your Social Profiles On Your Website
Talk To People Who Follow You
|Deborah is a digital strategist in New York.|
Personally it doesn’t offend me.
Make sure that you make your initial contact original and genuine. You’re goal is to create a real connection with your follower.
A quick way on Twitter to do this is to briefly look at their bio and make a comment about it in your first contact with your follower. I recommend keeping these conversations private by utilizing direct messaging on Twitter. I try to always learn from my followers and help them in any way possible.
Watch And Improve Your It Score
Our clients use this metric to measure their online performance. When you see a boost in your It Score you should look at what people were saying and doing in not only the mainstream media but also on social networks.
By increasing your It Score you will also see an improvement in your SEO.
Extra Tips From Readers
What is your experience with SEO and social networks? Feel free to comment below and share with other readers great tips and tricks you’ve found.
(Photo Credit: Flickr via Yoel Ben-Avraham)