Even thought he primary campaign will continue for at least another three weeks, and probably another two months, the time has come to start seriously working on defeating John McCain in the general election. As part of that effort, one of my main campaigns this cycle will be to reprise the 2006 search engine optimization campaign, Googlebomb the Elections, in an expanded, long-lasting, and more thoroughgoing fashion against John McCain. From now through the November elections, I will have at least two articles a week on this campaign
The premise of the campaign is simple. The most common political action Americans take online is to look for information on candidates, and so directing them toward negative, trustworthy information on John McCain during those searches will be worth millions, even tens of millions, of effective voter contacts. Due to Google's search ranking algorithm, and because many of us have our own websites, this is a form of direct, electoral action that bloggers are uniquely positioned to carry out through the widespread use of identical embedded hyperlinks.
Today, I would like to open the soft relaunch of the campaign with an eye on which McCain related YouTube videos we would most like voters to see. Already, YouTube is the fifth result for Google searches on "McCain", and the fourth result for searches on "John McCain". This extremely high search engine ranking for YouTube on the most common searches on McCain makes optimizing the best McCain related videos essential to this SEO (Googlebomb) campaign. Already the two videos that appear on these searches have 1.6M and 550,000 views respectively. Here they are:
The first video is an Obama supporter video that satirically mocks McCain for his position on endless Iraq occupation. The second is a video from Brave New Films that focuses on McCain's double-speak on easy victory in Iraq, pandering to the religious right, the South Carolina state flag, and gay marriage. Both have pretty high production values, and use humor to attack two of McCain's perceived strengths: Iraq and "straight-talk." Really, not too bad at all.
Still, there is reason to think that there might be better videos out there to optimize on Google, especially considering the extremely prominent position these two videos currently hold on searches for McCain. For one thing, neither video comes from a source that many people have heard of or would consider "objective." Second, neither video mentions McCain's ties to lobbyists, which should be an important message point this campaign cycle. Third, attacking McCain for flip-flopping on gay marriage and the South Carolina flag feels, well, really 2004 and 2000 respectively. Hard to imagine that either issue is forefront in the minds of voters these days. When the country is collapsing around us, those issues feel kind of trite. Finally, neither of the Google result for either video clearly identify themselves as being informative about McCain, making people less likely to click through to watch the video.
So, what I am asking is, with the literally hundreds of YouTube videos out there on McCain, are these the two we want to be the most prominent on Google searches? During the seven months between now and the general election, literally millions of people will see Google search results on McCain that will include two links to YouTube videos. Is this the best we can do? They aren't bad, but I am strongly inclined to look around for some others. So, today, I am asking you to sift through YouTube, and find other videos that you would like voters looking for info on McCain to watch. If you have any ideas, please send me an email or post them in the comments.