By Li Evans
If you've been paying attention to the presidential race on the Republican side, you probably know that Rudy Giuliani is banking a lot on "Super Tuesday". That hasn't stopped the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign site though, it's been operating since last year. They have a site that updates its headlines frequently, blogs often and participates in both PPC and Social Media.
So how does Rudy's campaign stack up against the presidential contenders that we've reviewed in the past few weeks? Surprisingly, not bad at all. There can be tweaks here and there, but in general the online strategies that the Giuliani Republican Presidential campaign has put together isn't bad at all. So lets take a closer look.
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign Site: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategies
Looking at Rudy Giuliani's site, the SEO is probably the weakest "link" in the campaigns entire online strategy. There's some SEO, but it's more by happenstance than by actual planned strategy. Like almost every other candidate that SearchMarketingGurus.com has reviewed, they have title tags, but, the ending of the title tag just changes to what the title of the page is. There's nothing remotely optimized with the title tags of the pages of the Rudy Giuliani for President websites, but at least they have them and at least they are not the exact same thing from page to page.
Moving onto the meta description and keywords, unfortunately these are the same throughout all the pages of the website. Like all the other candidates, it really seems like their presidential campaign teams all went to web designers but never bothered to consult a true search marketing expert to help them capitalize upon those areas that might be able to reach out and get their message to other people - who aren't searching on their name. Like I said, the SEO is happenstance here - some use of alt text for images (but not optimized), some use of header tags (but not optimized), no meta descriptions so the search engines decide what the snippet is to display in the search results.
Content is hit and miss on some of the pages for the JoinRudy2008.com site. There's some pages which are content rich, for example the About Rudy page. Thankfully there's no splash page here. However, their main page is flash and image heavy with hardly any real content for the search engines to grab onto and decide "Hey this guy's a REPUBLICAN presidential candidate".
SEO Grade: C+
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign Site: Social Media Strategies
The Rudy Giuliani campaign team is making a real effort in this area. In particularly in Flickr, YouTube, BlipTv and believe it or not iTunes. They also have Facebook and MySpace pages, but the real effort and action seems to be in the other "sharing" social media sites. They also have a Digg profile, but I wonder about "why" they are promoting it, especially when there's not much activity on it at all
They are really working with Flickr. Of all the past reviewed candidates, there hasn't been a real effort to use Flickr to the extent that Rudy's campaign has. They have great photo titles and actually have great descriptions about each photo that is put into their account. They also use Flickr to produce the photo stream of pictures that is on the campaign's photo page on the official Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign website. The campaign is actually tagging the photos, too, and using relevant and meaningful tags. The only thing they are lacking on the Flickr account - links back to Rudy's presidential campaign site, and I bet that's more because they don't realize they can do it, rather than them not implementing that piece.
They are really active with the videos too, utilizing both YouTube and BlipTv. Unlike the other candidates however, they really use BlipTV to promote the videos when you are on the campaign site. It's probably because the interface is a lot nicer and it doesn't show the videos all blurred or just as a black box before the user hits the play button. BlipTv also gives the user a bit more control over which videos can be displayed with a more configurable player that can be embedded in the website. That doesn't mean though the campaign doesn't utilize the YouTube player - I've seen that utilized in their blog mostly and the account has well over 500 videos in it - only Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have more.
Although I don't know that iTunes is really "social media", it's interesting to point it out, because no other candidate is really promoting it. Other candidates have podcasts, but they aren't promoting it the way that Giuliani is, as part of his social networking mix. Clicking the iTunes icon on the site, brings up iTunes if you have it installed and takes you directly into Rudy Giuliani's "store". It's recent and has all the latest podcasts, commercials and information the campaign releases.
Social Media Grade: A+
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign Site: PPC Strategies
Yeah! Another candidate who understands that they should have a Pay Per Click campaign. Rudy's campaign team is active on Google (Ask by Google PPC default) and Yahoo!. I couldn't find ads on MSN/Live for Rudy's campaign site. I found he wasn't buying "Republican Candidate" or words like that. He also does not purchase his competitors names, like McCain and Huckabee are currently doing.
What Rudy's campaign does do, which is very smart, is buy the misspelling of his name. Trust me, I had trouble spelling his last name right up until about 2 months ago. How many "i"'s would I miss when I first started, would be my daily game! He's got a tough last name to spell and if it's not right in front of you, you'll likely spell it wrong the first couple of times out of the gate.
PPC Grade: A-
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign Site: Blogging Strategies
Rudy's site had a blog, and they really use it to communicate what's going on in the campaign. They integrate videos into blog posts from YouTube, they talk about upcoming events (right now mostly in Flroida), they tag their entries with relevant keywords and they display how many times a blog post has been viewed. They also allow you to subscribe to the feed through RSS, but as a person who reads blogs (this is more a usability issue), the RSS button is not readily visible at first, it's all the way down at the bottom of the navigation of the page.
Unfortunately that's where the "pluses" stop with the blog. There's no interaction with the audience beyond knowing how many people viewed the blog post. There's no comments allowed, you can't email the post to a friend and there's no social media promotion. Even though Rudy's got a Digg account and promotes that in his social networking area - there's no Digg buttons (I'd argue though about Digg - Diggrz seem to hate Rudy as much as Bush).
It's like the blog is just a megaphone, or a better way to get what they don't have on the main page, out to the masses. While that's not a bad thing, it really doesn't give users a reason to come back and participate - adding comments would. If you look at the other candidates' blogs, you can see what I mean, Barack Obama's, John Edwards' and Fred Thompson's (even though he's dropped out) all have comments and all are very active.
Blogging Grade: B+
Overall, if the Giuliani presidential campaign team could tweak a few things, they'd have one heck of an online marketing strategy. They could really, seriously outshine the rest of the candidates and possibly get their message out even better and farther than they are right now. Would that translate into votes? It might, I think Barack Obama's efforts online show it does (how he reaches the younger crowd and energizes them), however Ron Paul's efforts almost shows the opposite. It's more about knowing which audiences to reach that will actually vote and knowing which online strategies will reach them effectively, if Rudy's team could do that, it definitely wouldn't hurt their campaign!
Overall Grade: B+
Interested in seeing the other reviews done by Search Marketing Gurus? Check out the online marketing strategy reviews for Republicans John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Fred Thompson & Duncan Hunter, and Democrats Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich.
We've also done reviews on both the Democrat's online strategies for their debate in Nevada and the Republican's debate in South Carolina.