Search: A Defensive Strategy

Rachelle Hansen, Paid Search Manager, Advertising Solutions

With the election less than a month away, our Google feeds, searches, mail inboxes and personal conversations have been infested with politics and constant debate on the right candidate for this nation. All this media coverage has only pointed out the obvious, that no matter what news channel you support they are all bias in one shape or form. So as a voting American, I encourage the people of America, especially the youth , to turn to the internet. Search, gather information on what is important to you and find resolution. Also, what better way to learn more about the candidates then to Google them?

The last few months we’ve heard a lot about the issues and I think we can all agree that we know what each candidate stands for on the major issues. What about the things we don’t know? Search is our only way to find out what those issues are and form an opinion amongst ourselves rather than someone else forming the opinion for us. Dan Kuthy’s post “Search Behavior on the Campaign Trail – A Lesson for Marketers” went into a deep analysis on how people are searching during this time as a result of campaign actions. I would like to go into some of the search strategies I’ve seen to date that combat negative press, bias media through search.

Obama Wright:
We all know what happened here and how the media had a field day with this hot topic. Using Dan Kuthy’s example “Obama Pastor”, we can see that search volume was almost off the charts.

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Obama Wright Search Traffic

People were searching for information, truths, and facts. Search ads can help companies, or in this case politicians, combat that negative press with a compelling message to draw searchers in, learn more and to learn another side of the story. After all, in politics, there are two sides to every story.

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Obama Google Results

Highlighted in yellow is the defensive tactic used to lure searchers in to the official campaign website with messaging to invite searchers to learn about the truth.

Barack Ayer:
Below, another example depicts one of the many issues that we hear about, but still don’t understand. Barack’s campaign team has been able to steer searchers to the right path once again with compelling messaging. Barack and team know what they are doing in the search landscape.

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Barack Ayer Google Results

McCain Keating:
While looking for that same defensive strategy on these issues by McCain and company, it was unfortunate to find nothing in the search results page to bring in the “other side of the story”. What can be seen is another Obama ad inviting searchers to learn more about their side of the story on this particular issue.

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McCain Keating Google Results

Pretty soon, these ads will disappear once the election is over and these stories that brought such hype in the news media will eventually die away.

What can we learn from this? If you’re a company dealing with negative press, isn’t it in the best interest of the company to steer people in the direction that you want them to hear, to your side of the story? There are endless strategies to search, defensive only being one of them. Dan Kuthy was right in his post when he states “Search behavior isn’t only valuable to political junkies; it is an incredibly powerful form of market research that business leaders should be tapping regularly.” The next step is how you are going to learn from that search behavior and apply it to the needs of your company during a time when the company’s voice needs to be heard.


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