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Search Isn’t Finding Candidate Stands On Issues

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Though it is estimated 42 percent of voters use the Internet to find information about Presidential candidates, those voters are not being served as well as they could be.

Search Isn't Finding Candidate Stands On Issues
Search Isn’t Finding Candidate Stands On Issues

Only television has a broader reach with voters than the Internet, yet the people who would be President have been missing out on both paid and organic search. Voters, particularly the 18-34 demographic that uses the Internet more than newspapers, want more from their candidates.

Research by iCrossing presented in their ‘How America Searches: Election ’08′ report found that candidates have yet to find the best way to present their stand on issues online. People have turned to traditional news sites and social media sites far more often than to the sites run by candidate campaigns.

In particular, iCrossing found that issues matter to voters, but the candidates are not responding. Their research found nearly all candidates ranking poorly for issue-based search visibility, despite trends indicating a desire to find that information.

During May 2007, searchers sought information on a number of issues. The top five were the war in Iraq, gas prices, health care, global warming, and the war on terror. When people search for candidates, the most frequent reason involved finding their stances on issues.

That interest isn’t being rewarded, according to the report:

iCrossing found all key candidates ranking in natural search results for their own names, which is to be expected. The surprise is that very few of the candidates are visible in natural search for issue-based terms or other candidates’ names.

Issue-based content is really the key to a robust natural search engine optimization strategy for 2008 presidential candidates (based on the volume of searches for and interest in political issues), and right now the visibility for candidates on issue-based terms (all referenced in the appendix of this document) is minimal at best.

Out of 126 terms, iCrossing found only two major candidates visible in natural search (each for one term):

•  Obama ranked on the 3rd page of MSN for Iraq •  Clinton ranked on the 2nd page of MSN for DNC

It’s easy enough to find a candidate by name, as iCrossing noted, and from there get to a website soliciting contributions for those White House hopefuls. Searching for what they might do when they get there, and a lot of voters are searching first, has been less effective than it could be.

Search Isn’t Finding Candidate Stands On Issues
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