This week, another study follows suit. iCrossing published the “How America Searches: Election 2008” study yesterday, examining the 42% of voters who turn to the Internet to inform their voting. According to their study, which looked at candidate- and issue-related keywords, social media sites and news media sites outranked candidates’ own sites:
The candidates’ own Web sites trail behind news and social media sites as preferred sources of information; and candidates are sorely lacking in visibility when it comes to voter searches on specific issues in both natural and paid search.
Ouch. The study also found that “younger online voters” are especially prone to turn to social media: “61 percent of 18 to 24 year olds and 55 percent of 25 to 34 year olds seek answers on user-driven content sites such as blogs, YouTube and Wikipedia.” Feel free to take solace in the fact that these Wikipedia-informed voters probably won’t end up voting, if past trends hold true.
However, the turn to social media sites might come because candidates’ sites continue to disappoint visitors:
Issues matter to voters, but candidates are not responding. Issue-oriented searches dominate over explorations of candidates’ voting and personal histories by a margin of nearly two to one; yet nearly all candidates rank poorly for issue-based search visibility.
Sounds like they need some massive link building. How hard can it be to amass tons of natural links when you already have a legion of fans throughout the US? It could be as easy as putting the platform in blog form, and periodically adding appearances, sound bites and speeches.
And, just for kicks, one little bit of trivia that made it into the press release:
eBay trumps McCain in paid search. John McCain currently dominates the overall paid search candidate landscape, but online auction house eBay still ranks first in paid search [visibility] for the tested issue-based keyword set.
I know who I’m voting for. eBay for president! Actually, their observations must’ve been before eBay’s Google
strike experiment, since I’m having a tough time replicating their results—I’ve only had eBay come up for 1 keyword out of the first 50-60 I checked (they searched for 126). (Though, interestingly, a search for “racism” brings up an ad for Ask.com. Good choice.) Pity, I was really hoping to find “lobbyists” on eBay.