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January 04, 2008

Republican Ron Paul: 2008 Presidential Candidates & Online Marketing Strategies

By Li Evans

Ron Paul Republican for PresidentWith all the fervor in the air tonight, it's really exciting looking at all that's gone on in Iowa.  Tonight I'm going to review a candidate who FoxNews apparently doesn't consider a real candidate, like the front runners, but did get 10% of the caucus votes in Iowa.  Tonight I am going to review the "Internet Phenom", Congressman Ron Paul of Texas.

Ron Paul has a huge internet presence, anyone who's an online marketing professional cannot go one week without running into Ron Paul on some social media site.  Whether that translates into actual votes or not will only been seen at the polls, we're here to look at what the Ron Paul for President campaign has put together online.

Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Site: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategies:

Ron Paul for President website The is definitely some efforts to optimize the Ron Paul for President campaign site.  There can be definite tweaks that can be done, but over all this site is in a decent spot for optimization.  Unlike the rest of the candidates reviewed before, the campaign is not missing out on the "Republican" side of optimization, however, it's more about how people are linking to Ron Paul that helps Ron Paul's site.  Believe it or not, Ron Paul's site is the only Republican candidate's site that ranks in the top 10 for "Republican Presidential Candidate".  Although that's "good", it should be tempered with the fact that the DNC's site ranks higher for that phrase than Ron Paul's site.

The Ron Paul presidential campaign site is utilizing only some basic optimization.  Title tags are good, each page has its own title tag that addresses what the page is about.  Although these could be more finely tuned, they are much better than the other sites we've reviewed.  The header tags (H1, H2, etc.) are being used in the proper manner, as well.  Looking further into the code though, the meta description and the keywords are the same throughout the pages on the site.  Also what was curious is all the other meta tags on the site that hold no value but being used.

As you go through the content on the site, it is actual content.  They actually realize that this candidate's name is "Ron Paul", not just "Ron" not just "Paul".  It's very apparent throughout the site, when referring to the candidate you'll more than likely see Ron Paul, or Congressman Paul rather than just a first or last name.

Ron Paul Presidential Campaign websiteThey could use some tweaking, adding alt attributes to the images on the page would be a nice help, as well as unique meta descriptions.  The site could use some keyword research to help Ron Paul really hit those sweet spots where people who are not familiar with him, find out about him.  I do think the Ron Paul interactive videos on top of the issues page are a great addition, if they could put some kind of page that translate what he says, it'd be great additional content to the site.
SEO Grade: B+

Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Site: Social Media Strategies:

When it comes to Social Media is the Republican powerhouse.  This campaign understands social media and knows how to use it.  From photos and videos to networking and meet ups, Ron Paul is everywhere.  You cannot go on any major social media site and not run into something that is about or for Ron Paul.

Its not just that Ron Paul is on these sites, the profiles are active and the profiles have followers.  We're not just talking about a few hundred followers, we're talking about sometimes over 10k in the number of followers.  When you look at the popularity of him within these sites and compare the other candidates to him, it's amazing, he is truly utilizing these networks for promoting his grassroots efforts.

Ron Paul Stumbleupon PageHe's got YouTube, JustinTV, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, LinkedIn, MeetUp and the IPhone Network.  Ron Paul even promotes the Stumbleupon review of his site.  When you look at his Meetup profile, there are over 90,000 members, with over 8,000 waiting for RonPaul Meetups.  That dwarfs the closest followers, Mike Huckabee & Barack Obama by well over 85,000 members. 

When it comes to utilizing social media, promoting their networks and communicating through them, all of the candidates on this 2008 trail, can certianly learn a lot from the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign website.
SEO Strategies Grade: A+ 

Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Site: PPC Strategies:

The PPC strategies for this campaign are its weakest spots.  Just like most of the others reviewed, there is no PPC to speak of - not in Google, Yahoo, Ask nor LiveDodd, Biden, Kucinich, Hunter and now also Paul just leave so much opportunity behind without a PPC campaign.  (Note: as of tonight Dodd & Biden have now dropped out of the campaign)
PPC Strategy Grade: F

Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Site: Blogging Strategies:

Ron Paul for President BlogRon Paul's got a blog, it's a little difficult to get to it on its own, but it is there and it is active.  It's not quite as active as some of the others that have been reviewed.  It's also hard to tell who's writing the blog posts, which is a big help when trying to understand who's perspective the information is coming from.

There's social media promotion on the blog, links to submit the posts to Digg, StumbleUpon and Delicious and others are provided.  Also helpful, is the RSS feed button is displayed in the lower portion of the left column.  So having these on the blog help to promote the blog even further in the social media outlets.

Probably the most disappointing thing about the blog is that they do not allow comments.  The candidates who do allow the comments, it really gives the candidates a more "open" feel and the perception that their blogs are really read and are interactive.  Right now, it just seems like Ron Paul's blog is just "there'.
Blogging Strategies Grade: B+ 

Overall Ron Paul's got a decent website and an awesome social media strategy.  If they could maybe spend a little money in PPC it might just help out the campaign a little.  Sure they have a blimp, but there might be more people searching for presidential candidate information than looking up at the sky in New Hampshire.
Overall All Grade: B+

Interested in seeing the other reviews so far?  Check out the online marketing strategy reviews for Republicans Fred Thompson & Duncan Hunter, and Democrats Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich.

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Comments

I was looking at Fox News this morning... well, that little news stream at the bottom read "Despite his 5th place in the voting, Ron Paul vows to continue campaign into New Hampshire..." Wow, a loaded term: "despite". All this "despite" his running over Guiliani and his very close numbers to both Thompson and McCain in a race in which FOX had predicted him as getting 2% takes hutzpah. FOX, compelled to mention Paul, managed to put a nasty spin on the news. Fair and balanced as a guillotine.

Just a note, this review is just of his online marketing efforts.

However, I do have to point out, when I watched Fox, both Greta and Shep said he was 4th place in Iowa, and beat Guiliani, and that he's credible. Then they also went on to question why he wasn't in this debate, even saying they could be stepping on treacherous ground. Thought it was kind of brave of the two of them to venture out on that limb and publicly question the network they work for.

LOL I wonder how quickly your blog will outrank Paul's site for important terms. ;)

I would like to know if any candidates of the past were elected president and had the same beliefs as Ron Paul. If so I would like to compare that then president to the time and circumstances surrounding his election and what effect it might have if we elected someone like Ron Paul in our day and time. Would it work?

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