A politically curious web searcher, seeking information about Republican candidate Rick Santorum, may be shocked at the first result Google turns up when searching using only his last name. For people living in Pennsylvania and comedy circles, its old news but with the candidate’s strong showing in Iowa, thousands of civic-minded Americans may be stumbling upon this right at the top of the Google pile:
Santorum 1. The frothy mix of… I better just have you perform your own Google search for this one…
So if you decided to search Santorum that’s the explanation for the definition…. Yup… I am glad my last name is Supple, at least it doesn’t have anything to do with frothy mixes.
Being from Pennsylvania and a full blown Daily Show addict I’ve known about Mr. Santorum’s search engine issue for over 2 years. But it’s highly unlikely that the average voter who isn’t a political junkie knows that. And many, after seeing the definition, may not bother to click through to the site. Indeed, Buzzfeed has a post called “25 People Who Just Googled ‘Santorum’ for the First Time.”
Last year, Santorum complained publicly about this, blaming Google in part for the definition showing up so high in the search results. But as an SEO expert explained in September on Search Engine Land, this problem isn’t limited to Google. It happens on Bing, Yahoo and even Chinese search engine site Baidu.
While this SEO expert is not a fan of Santorum as he explained in the article, he manages to overcome his own political biases to provide a detailed analysis of the problem, including some history on the art of “Google Bombing” efforts that snared George W. Bush and Michelle Obama. But the author points out that Spreading Santorum isn’t a Google Bomb — it’s not simply popping up in search results because of a gimmicky links posted in a concerted effort.
Spreading Santorum isn’t ranking just because there are links pointing at it that say “santorum” in it. It’s ranking because in addition to this, it is indeed relevant to Santorum in terms of its content.
As you may have noticed it’s not positive about him, but it’s still relevant in the same way that if you search for Coke, you get the “Killer Coke” anti-Coca Cola web site.
In other words, Spreading Santorum has a lot of information about Rick Santorum. It’s also been around for quite a while. And it updates rather frequently. Unlike Rick Santorum’s official site, you can actually argue that as of now Rick Santorum is making his Google problem even worse.
One of the problems Santorum has had in ranking tops for a search on just his last name is that until relatively recently, he didn’t maintain a dedicated website about himself, a place independent of his elected office where those who wanted to know about Rick Santorum could discover more.
With that being said his campaign website has helped, but by dropping the web site and pointing everything over to the donation form, it’s as if the Santorum campaign has taken all the “votes” its earned over the past few months and tossed them all away.
There’s also the matter of duplicate websites. The “support.ricksantorum.com site that was created continues to run with all the same content as with www.ricksantorum.com.” Duplicate content can cause Google or Bing not to know which page it should list in response to a search, which, of course, hurts search results.
Santorum obviously did a stellar marketing job in Iowa, partly by being the anti-Romney, partly because his message rings true with hard-core social conservatives, and partly because he spent a great deal of time in the state, making personal appearances crucial to winning the caucuc. That strategy will likely not be as viable as the primary moves forward. Whether or not Spreading Santorum is bad for the country or negative on Google’s reputation is irrelevant.
Being that Mr. Santorum was once a representative for the common wealth of Pennsylvania we would like to offer some advise. So this is what you have to do Rick:
Analyze your current position –
When you’re first trying to improve your online reputation, you need to know your current keyword-and search-result situation. You can type your name in search engines and set up Google Alerts for your name. However, since we’re pretty sure you already know where you stand, so you can go ahead and skip this step.
Start posting positive content –
If you want to make negative websites about you appear lower in search, you’ve got to create relevant, positive content about yourself. We have noticed that you attempted this but as I mentioned above it is duplicate content, and as you know that is not the right move. Publishing more information about the positive aspects of your campaign might be a good start. You should do this on your social media profiles as well.
Create a central location or a main site –
You’ve got to make your site the go-to destination for all things Rick Santorum. You’ve already claimed your domain name. Next, you have to mention yourself A LOT, link back to your own content, post often and use several different social networks.
Go to “Robo-Posting” –
Your digital team is probably aware of the various tools, like Brand-Yourself and Vizibility, which can help an individual or a brand with SEO optimization and issues. If you haven’t considered using them already, you should.