SEO and the Presidential Candidates, Part 2


American Flag Presidential Candidates SEO

With the Presidential primaries well under way, it’s time for a follow-up to my March 2007 post about how the Presidential candidates rate for SEO. Conveniently the same top 3 candidates in both parties are both considered the top 3 candidates, so I’m going to stick with the same in my new analysis (Democrats: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards. Republicans: Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and John McCain). In my previous post I looked at a few points that haven’t changed, like age of domain and the choice of domain URL, so refer to that post for that analysis.

This analysis looks at basic SEO metrics and compares data from January 2008 to March 2007. A few new measurements are given following these, including PPC branding and a new metric called IndexRank. And for fun we’ll come up with the winners from both parties in terms of their effectiveness in SEO.



Backlinks, or inbound links, are how many sites link to your site. These figures are from Yahoo.

Candidate March ’07 January ’08 % Increase
Barack Obama 119,909 734,395 612%
John Edwards 15,498 581,823 3754%
Hillary Clinton 79,219 501,415 632%
Rudy Giuliani 38,236 348,025 910%
Mitt Romney 39,245 291,470 742%
John McCain 7,428 199,813 2690%

Barack Obama leads in backlinks by about 150,000 backlinks. John Edwards started with having almost 6 times less than Hillary and beats her by 80,000 backlinks.
In the Republican field, John McCain started off with very few (comparatively) backlinks and still ends with 100,000 less than Mitt Romney. Romney leads Rudy by about 50,000 links.

Technorati Links

This is used as a measure of popularity in the blogosphere world. The more the better.

Candidate March ’07 January ’08 % Increase
Barack Obama 6,527 22,662 347%
John Edwards 4,952 21,766 440%
Hillary Clinton 3,710 20,933 564%
Mitt Romney 1,756 11,019 627%
Rudy Giuliani 342 8,206 2400%
John McCain 670 6,172 921%

Obama again leads on Technorati links and John Edwards and Clinton keep their same position, with Hillary having the most percentage increase.
Mitt Romney started well ahead of both Rudy and John (2.5 X more and 5 X more respectively) and still leads in Technorati links. Rudy surpasses John McCain with a larger increase in links.

Alexa Rank

I know Alexa isn’t perfect, but it’s an interesting comparison. The lower the number, “the better”. The number represents the rank of the website out of the top websites on the Internet in terms of traffic. The most visited site on the Internet is ranked 1. A zero (0) means either an error or not enough traffic to rank.

Candidate March ’07 January ’08 Change
Barack Obama 12,581 17,303 -4,722
Hillary Clinton 18,727 32,729 -14,002
John Edwards 33,485 69,182 -35,697
Mitt Romney 129,490 63,734 +65,756
Rudy Giuliani Not Ranked 92,963 unknown
John McCain 178,788 99,639 +79,149

All of the Democratic candidates have seen a drop in their Alexa Rank since March 2007, with John Edwards taking the worst drop. Barack Obama leads with the best rank.
All of the Republican candidates see a better Alexa ranking, although anything was better than Rudy’s rank in March 2007. Mitt Romney leads with the best rank.

Page Strength

Candidate March ’07 January ’08 Change
John Edwards 6.5/10 8.5/10 +2
Barack Obama 5/10 8/10 +3
Hillary Clinton 5.5/10 6.5/10 +1
John McCain 3.5/10 7/10 +3.5
Mitt Romney 4/10 7/10 +3
Rudy Giuliani 3.5/10 6.5/10 +3

All candidates made significant strides, as would be expected. PageStrength is not a measurement of how good the pages are, but of how well-known, cited, visited, and linked to a site is.
John Edwards has the highest PageStrength while Barack jumped the most, moving from third to second.
John McCain made the most stride but also started as the lowest in PageStrength. Both McCain and Romney end up with the same PageStrength, both beating out Hillary’s PageStrength.

Indexed Pages

Google and Yahoo both give a different number of pages in their index, so I’ll show both, Google/Yahoo.

Candidate March ’07 January ’08
Barack Obama 148/525 302,000/315,000
Hillary Clinton 387/1133 39,100/19,900
John Edwards 4,230/66 31,700/209,000
Rudy Giuliani 91/34 6,400/3,650
John McCain 457/155 4,940/19,400
Mitt Romney 309/157 4,190/4,980

These numbers are all over the place, it’s hard to say who reports more accurately (Google vs. Yahoo). However, there’s no doubt that Obama has created tons of content (probably a lot of user-generated content).

PPC Branding

I’m not going to recap the PPC from March 2007 because the keywords I looked at were only used by 2 of the candidates. This time I chose to look at the use of PPC for their own name, which I feel is a reflection of their PPC campaign. If you’re not running ads for your brand (your name) you’re probably not running much of a PPC campaign.

Barack Obama – Ads by Obama and Rudy
Hillary Clinton – Ad by Rudy
John Edwards – Ad by Rudy
Rudy Giuliani – Ad by Rudy
Mitt Romney – Ads by Rudy and Mike Huckabee
John McCain – Ads by McCain and Rudy

Rudy clearly comes out a winner, but keep in mind this is only a snapshot. If you follow these links at different times of day and different geographical locations you may see very different results. These are coming from the West Coast.

IndexRank – a measurement of content freshness

This metric is from 0-10 where 10 is the highest. The higher the number the better the content growth, freshness, and the more indexed the site is by Google.

Hillary Clinton – 8
Barack Obama – 8
John Edwards – 5
Mitt Romney – 9
John McCain – 8
Rudy Giuliani – 6

Mitt Romney wins out with a 9 above even the Democrats. Hillary and Obama are both at 8 and John Edwards lags way behind the whole group with a 5. Rudy lags behind the Republican candidates with a 6.

The Winners

Back in March 2007 there was no clear SEO winner in either party. After 10 months of campaigning, you can really see a lot of changes in all the candidates, some more than others.

In the Democratic party, Barack Obama clearly trumps both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards in the growth of their site and the pursuit in SEO.

In the Republican party, its not as clear but Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani both have made great strides, but I think Mitt Romney’s advantage in traffic, IndexRank, and Technorati links gives him an edge over Giuliani.

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