What people are saying about you on the Internet is important—whether you’re a job seeker, a successful business owner, or even just a private citizen. It might be especially important for those seeking public office, however. Indeed: Reputation management firms provide their services not just to businesses and individuals, but even to political campaigns.
What’s more, the state of the 2012 presidential election reveals many important truths about the state of online reputation management. By looking at the state of the campaign, in pure search terms, we learn many invaluable reputation management lessons—lessons that aren’t just critical in a political context, but have ramifications for all of us who work in this space.
Search Terms for the Obama Campaign
First, let’s look at the most common search terms that contain the keyword “Obama.” The top search terms, ranked in order of search volume, are:
Obama approval ratings
Obama birth certificate
Barack Obama biography
So what are the takeaway messages here? For starters, let’s look at the last one on this list—a search term that reveals many Americans don’t know how to spell the first name of their own president. What this tells us is that, for reputation management professionals, including an array of search term variants is often vital. If you’re working for a client or a brand with a potentially difficult-to-spell name, you need to plan for the contingency that many users will implement alternate spellings.
We might also note that Michelle Obama receives a significantly higher volume of search terms than her husband’s healthcare reform act. This is a good reminder of the kinds of things that tend to do well, from a search content perspective. Putting a personal angle on your content is something any reputation management pro should consider.
Search Terms for the Romney Campaign
Now, we look at the top search terms for the presumed Republican nominee—the top terms containing the “Romney” keyword:
Mitt Romney 2012
Mitt Romney new worth
Mitt Romney wiki
Mitt Romney news
Mitt Romney biography
Mitt Romney dog on roof
The takeaways here? Well, for starters, notice the including of “Mit Romney”—another reminder of the same spelling point we made before. Also, we see once more that personal stuff ranks well—notice Ann Romney in slot #3. Finally, we see that controversy is always a good way to generate some search results, as the “dog on roof” incident, now more than three decades old, makes clear.
Reputation management professionals should also make note of the fact that there is a much greater interest in Romney’s biography (or his Wikipedia entry) than we saw for President Obama. This is a good reminder for those of us working for clients who are not very well-known; starting with the basics—a good, solid bio, for example—is often the best approach when it comes to our content and keyword strategies.
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