I recently was Googling some information on California’s recent proposition 23, which if passed would have banned a ground-breaking clean energy bill.   The ‘No on 23’ site pops first in the results, above two ‘Yes on 23’ sites.  For anyone looking for information on whether to vote ‘yes or no’ on this proposition, the search results could have made a difference in their decision.

As more money goes into political campaigns it makes you wonder how much is going towards search engine optimization efforts.  Meg Whitman put a record $141 million into her governor’s campaign, and it shows on the SEO side of things.  Googling ‘California Governor Race’ you find megwhitman.com on the 1st page of results but jerrybrown.com is no where to be found.  Although Meg Whitman ending up losing, she may have made gains through SEO.

Large corporations and political organizations both have recently made use of Google Adwords.  BP had the infamous case of trying to clean up their mess by sending users searching for ‘oil spill’ to their clean-and-tidy PR web portal.  This past midterm election also was inundated with Google ads for search terms on various candidates and bills. As more and more people go online to retrieve their information, the battle for political search engine supremacy is sure to become more competitive.

There are quite a few SEO standards that come naturally with a popular candidate’s web presence.  If the race is getting news coverage, getting link-backs to a website should already be there.  The same goes for their Twitter and Facebook presence – if a politician has a following it will already be reflected there.  However, there are some items that may not be accounted for normally, such as the use of anchor tags in links, getting a political page up as early as possible, and determining which search terms are most likely to garner traffic when election time comes around.

It will be interesting to see how SEO evolves next time around for the 2012 presidential election.  The jobs issue is clearly at the forefront – will new sites pop up targeting keywords like ‘obama jobs’ or do old bastions like Change.org already serve that purpose?