Every election year in the United States, whether it be a midterm election or presidential election, law-related and government websites see wild swings in their SEO campaigns. Some of our law firm clients are running (or have run) for political office, and we’re breaking down how election year trends affect SEO and what you should know.
From rankings and conversion rates to traffic and relevant keywords, it’s important to understand what these mean, why they matter, and how to qualify these changes as we move through another election season. If you run for office, drawing a clear line between an election, your business, and your stance on the issues will make all the difference.
Roles in politics and how they affect SEO
Whether running for a specific position in government or simply handling some of the hot topics as practice areas at your firm, your role will determine how your website is affected. The effects run throughout the entire SEO campaign: local SEO, on-site SEO and off-site SEO, content marketing, and more.
Running for government office
If you’re running for a government office, you likely have a campaign website that is separate from your law firm or business. Despite this separation, you may experience significant SEO changes on your business’ website.
From a search perspective, people use Google and other search engines to research your name and your background. Of course, your business website is going to be pulled into search results, and some users will click on the business website when it pops up, especially if you’ve done a great job of brand building and working on your E-A-T (Expertise – Authority – Trust) by showing your site’s relevance and authority to Google.
Not only will interactions with your website influence your SEO campaign, but they can also impact your presence in local organic searches and Google map listings (local SEO). The more times your name comes up and isn’t clicked on, the more Google begins to understand your listing is not relevant to what users are searching, even if it’s your own name.
Additionally, be highly aware of smear campaigns and the damage they can do to your business reputation as well as your political clout. You may see website conversions and interest in your business site decrease if a competitor decides to release a smear campaign or assigns particularly detrimental ideals to your identity or political campaign.
Representing clients in hot-topic fields
Running for office and voters looking up your qualifications aren’t the only ways you can be impacted by election year searches. If you or your business ranks for specific practice areas that are a hot topic of discussion for election years, more people may be coming to your site for information about these topics as opposed to your services around them.
What does this mean for you? It could mean increased visibility and clicks, but also higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates due to the changed intention of the visitors to your site. People are looking for your role or stance on the laws and issues instead of looking for actual professional services.
Hot topics for fall 2022 elections
The focus on decisions made earlier this year on Roe v. Wade means an increased awareness of reproductive rights issues in this election cycle. In 2022, some political candidates are taking a heavy stance on one side of the fence or the other regarding abortion, and voters are absolutely paying attention.
Whether your business is representing survivors by taking on #MeToo cases or going after medical malpractice issues after a procedure goes wrong, when people are looking for information on these issues, you’re sure to see a few more visitors as well.
Local taxes and inflation are among the highest concerns for voters in the November 2022 midterm elections. Of course, no one wants to spend more money, and price hikes are always a concern as people navigate their budgets and how to maintain the lifestyle they desire. This may result in spikes in searches for mass torts and commercial litigation.
Additional areas in employment law may also see a rise in search volume as the economy ebbs and flows with employment rates.
Violent crime punishment
According to Pew Research, 61% of voters are looking at politician’s stances on violent crimes as a deciding factor in who they vote for. Tied into this subject are criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors, and even civil rights lawyers. Those who represent the wrongfully imprisoned are also sure to see an uptick in hits to their professional sites.
Takeaways and strategies
- If you’re running for political office, consider dedicating a page on your business website to direct those searching for your political involvement to a specific page to minimize effect on SEO for the rest of the site and conversion stats. Likewise, on your election website, consider mentioning your business site and the practice areas your firm handles.
- If hot topics matter to your personal brand, blog about it or highlight your site pages that show where you stand. Calling attention to these articles on your site (and on your Google Business Profile as posts) can help you make the most of visitors searching for this information.
- Additionally, if you have significant wins or landmark cases in hot topic areas, boost them by revamping an older blog post or by creating a new page to make the increased interest in these topics work in your favor with those looking for similar successes.
- Expect lower conversion rates as interest in related topics increases. This happens because visitors are likely looking for more information or understanding, versus an actual service from your company or firm. Reviewing year-over-year data in these cases can help adjust your SEO expectations on user behavior and conversion metrics.
What to consider in the future
As always, the Google search environment is forever changing and doesn’t operate in a bubble. Everything from politics to social media trends can dictate major swings in what Google is offering to users as search results.
Taking into consideration how these topics shift and understanding how they affect your business directly should dictate how you react. Knowing how to pivot your strategy in a swift and appropriate manner can be confusing, which is why an open and transparent relationship with your digital marketing agency is important to continued success in your industry.
Ensure you have access to the best knowledge about branding, marketing, SEO, PPC, and more by carefully selecting an agency with informed strategies you can trust and believe in!