When you’re looking at search traffic and trends, it’s inevitably important to consider the season and the current events surrounding your industry. I wrote up some detailed thoughts on the impact seasonal search has on Automotive shoppers for L2TMedia, and we’re seeing these same ideas play out now with the 2012 Presidential Race. As the debates and endless news cycle give us continually fascinating new reasons to search – like last night’s contentious, heated, viewing pleasure of a debate – volume of search is going to see large spikes. Hardly groundbreaking, but many businesses, from small local shops to global brands, occasionally overlook the impact and reality of seasonal search.
I believe I’ll be returning to this space to share a few thoughts on the search trends we’re seeing in this election year, but in the meantime, you can gauge search marketing’s impact on the election here: http://seovote2012.com/.
The obvious takeaway from any analysis of search traffic related to the election is that October marks a significant increase in volume. As the race heats up around September, search volume for “election 2012” reaches its highest totals since the start of summer.
I’m sure this search growth comes as a surprise to no one managing either candidate’s web presence. For a local business, though, it can be very important to have a sense of these search trends for your industry, and for your area. If your business has a similar “election season,” it’s imperative to have your website in prime position, both organically and paid, during that time. You can also temper your expectations for traffic in months that simply don’t have the same search volume. If interest in your product or service is down certain seasons, that may be a good time to cut back on the PPC, maintain your organic rankings until volume returns, and plan on new ways to generate increased volume. It’s hard to make people be interested in searching for your product, but it’s very possible there are offline advertising campaigns – or even creative online content ideas – that can supplement those down months.
The Presidential debates also provide a clear example of how current events can impact your potential search traffic. The mere presence of the debates leads to an increase in search volume as shown above. The less predictable component is what actually happens during the debates; the gaffes and sudden surges in global memes.
The first of these to occur was “Big Bird debate.” Immediately following the debate, millions wanted to see why Sesame Street’s yellow leader was on death row:
As you can see, that’s a limited shelf life for that search term, but it’s huge for the few days it hangs around. So what’s the search approach? Well, unless someone in Romney’s camp is a precog, there’s really no way to have organically prepared for this. It wasn’t exactly a targeted campaign issue, I’d imagine. The possible solution could come through a paid ad with a targeted landing page on Mitt Romney’s site that explains his proposed cuts in more detail. If this content doesn’t exist already, it certainly would have taken some quick work, but this could have been a clever way to deflect some of the snark that naturally follows anyone who threatens to murder a beloved childhood icon.
End of the day, it’s cool to see just how involved search has become in events as significant as our presidential election. With Adwords spends approaching $100,000, it’s clear both candidates are establishing a search engine presence. Guess we’ll find out who did it better in November.