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Can Google predict the 2013 Federal Election?

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26.3.2013

Search engines are so engrained in our life that they are no longer nouns but verbs; it seems like you hear someone say “Google it” at least once a day.

Google  opens up many doors for the work we do for our clients; we use it to research about our clients, their competitors and their audience and we use it to advertise.  Google Adwords is the advertising you see in the yellow box at the top of your search results or the results that appear in a smaller column on the right. The way it works is when a user searches for something, paid advertising offers a result.

When we develop campaigns for our clients we research which keywords will generate maximum traffic, which ones will reach the most appropriate audience, and use this research to forecast what we should be bidding on our keywords, based on various factors.

The selection and keyword quality directly relates to our clients website quality taking into account trends over time including past campaigns, it’s therefore important to optimise and group keywords into segments e.g. Brand keywords vs./ Product/Service Keywords.

We work collaboratively with our clients to ensure all campaign objectives are reflected in our search strategy.

Further, SEO has an impact on SEM, that’s why when building websites it is important to think about your search ability and refresh the website content REGULARLY as Google spiders will find you and your keyword page rank/position will be primarily influenced by this.

Building a  Google campaign targeting college/high school students around the time they get their ATAR results can be tricky as often that search traffic is low; when the traffic on the keywords continually changes, so does the cost of the advertising, making it tricky to budget for.   

Google Trends Graph: ATAR  and HSC 

When Google predicted the result of the US election it showed the world that Google isn’t just a search engine but a research and forecasting tool. You may all think of course Google is a research tool, I use it to look up facts all the time but that’s not what I mean. Google can track human interest issues and predict trends, just do some research on Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake and you will see the patterns.

Google Trends Graph: Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake

Although these tools cannot ultimately predict the outcome of the election, the search traffic can provide useful insights into popularity and interest in certain candidates. This popularity did equate to election prediction in the recent French election.

Google Trends Graph: Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott

According to Google Trends, at this point in time Julia Gillard is leading search traffic on Tony Abbott, but then again there is still months before the September 14 election.

Watch this space to see in the coming months if we can predict the election result before the official announcement.

 

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