Search Marketing & The US Presidential Race, Case Study: Sarah Palin

Google Trends: McCain Palin

After reading yesterday about how savvy both US presidential campaigns seem to think they are about search marketing, I decided I’m going to take a closer look at watching them. In particular, I noticed yesterday that both seemed pretty lame when it came to tapping into rising queries that you can spot on Google Trends. That’s what I’m going to be watching in particular over the coming weeks — and today’s a good start. Google Trends is lighting up with searches for McCain’s vice presidential pick, Alaska governor Sarah Palin. How are the campaigns responding? Not so well.

First, here are some of the many searches for her happening now:

And there are many more!

Google Trends: Sarah Palin

Let’s just go for her name and see how the campaigns are responding. For a search on sarah palin at Google (shown as "volcanic" in popularity according to Google Trends), we get:

No Palin Ads

Ooops! Neither campaign appears to have bought her name!

A search for just palin doesn’t bring up ads from either, also. But this got me an ad from the McCain campaign, mccain palin:

McCain Palin Ad

But I still give it a fail. Consider the landing page I get:

McCain Palin Landing Page

All these searches by people clearly trying to learn more about this largely unexpected candidate, and McCain’s site gives me no information about her when I click directly on his ad in search of that? An ad that expressly tells me “Learn More About Sarah Palin.” Nor does the Obama camp even run an ad, much less directly me to a page with their response about the choice?

Yes, the campaigns in 2008 seem to understand more about search than in 2004. Certainly they know about placing the ads, but they seem to have much more to learn about the other key aspect of search marketing — converting people by showing them what they wanted, when they arrive.

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Search Marketing: General


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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