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December 29, 2007

Democrat Chris Dodd: 2008 Presidential Candidates & Online Marketing Strategies

By Li Evans

Chris Dodd for PresidentConnecticut Senator Chris Dodd's Presidential Campaign website is the next candidate we'll be examining for their online marketing strategy.  A 5 time senator, Dodd according to his biography, has had public service in his blood, because of his father's, Senator Thomas Dodd, days in office and their influence upon him as a child.

Chris Dodd Presidential Campaign Site: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategies

Compared to the other sites that have been previously reviewed, (Hunter, Kucinich, Biden & Thompson) Chris Dodd's site actually appears to have some form of optimization to it.  Now with that stated, it doesn't mean that it's great, it just means compared to the other sites that have been reviewed, it's a step or two above the previous efforts that were displayed.

Chris Dodd for President Main PageFirst, the Chris Dodd official presidential campaign site doesn't have a URL that's only part of the candidates name - chrisdodd.com spells it quite well who the site is about, just like Joe Biden does.  Second, thankfully, there is no splash page to hinder a visitor getting to the information about Chris Dodd. 

It does seem that the Dodd Campaign team put a little thought into some kind of optimization for the site.  Each page actually has a unique title tag, however there is no meta description, so while they are cognizant of the title tags, they are letting the engines actually pick what should be displayed in the snippets in the search engine listings.  They are also missing keyword meta tags, but since that isn't as an important of a optimization element, the fact they aren't including them won't really hurt much with the site and its rankings.

Chris Dodd for President Meet Chris pageThe most positive thing I can say about the site, is that they realize that the candidate is "Chris Dodd", not just "Chris" or not just "Dodd".  You see that throughout all the pages.  It's even in the alt attribute of some of the images on the page (surprise they are even utilizing that!).  There is also limited on page optimization - use of H1 tags in the right way help to round out the minimal optimization that's been put forward.

The common theme through out 99% of the candidates, is that it seems that all they care about is there names.  There's been no keyword research into what else people are searching on for information on the candidates.  Sure, the name is going bring in the biggest amounts of traffic but what about those long tail terms, or those terms people use that don't know your name?  Someone in New Mexico might know Bill Richardson, but not know who Chris Dodd is, how do you get their attention?  That's what all the candidates are leaving on the table, including Dodd.
SEO Grade: B+

Chris Dodd Presidential Campaign Site: Social Media Strategies

Chris Dodd for President Social Media PromotionOut of all the candidates reviewed so far, Dodd has the most extensive social media strategy, and actually keeps most of these profiles up to date and current with new information from his campaign.  Dodd actively promotes connecting through his campaign through Facebook, MySpace, Eons, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, MyGrite, MTV's Think, Gather and UStreamTV.

Believe it or not, this candidate campaign staff is really putting the effort behind utilizing the social media.  Most of the profiles are up to date, and include fresh content from the ChrisDodd.com website.  Most of the profiles show that they've been logged into within the last few days, and they are even utilizing Twitter with messages that Chris Dodd recieves - they "tweet" them out to the followers.

Chris Dodd for President Video PageWhere Thompson and Biden incorporated Flickr for their photo galleries on their sites, Dodd is doing the same with YouTube and UStreamTV.  You can watch the videos in the channels right from the ChrisDodd.com website.  That's a nice touch, it would be even better if they incorporated Flickr in as well since they have such an active account.

Again though, there are some disappointments, a common one so far, no social media "meetup" sites are included in the promotion.  Then, if they could make their social media widgets/buttons open up in a new tab/window, that'd be a great added touch (even if it is for usability).

In general Dodd's campaign team is doing a great job on the Social Media front.
Social Media Grade: A

Chris Dodd Presidential Campaign Site: PPC Strategies

The weakest spot of this online marketing strategy for the Chris Dodd Presidential Campaign is the PPC efforts.  There is none to speak of - not in Google, Yahoo, Ask nor Live.  Like Biden, Kucinich and Hunter, they leave so much opportunity behind without a PPC campaign.
PPC Strategy Grade: F

Chris Dodd Presidential Campaign Site: Blogging Strategies

Chris Dodd for President BlogChris Dodd's site has got a very active blog.  Matt Browner-Hamlin, is the Campaign's chief blogger, and the man is a writing machine.  The blog puts out as many posts as Joe Biden's blog does.  These blog posts are chalk full of pictures and relevant information about the campaign.

Chris Dodd's blog is also the first Presidential Campaign Blog I've reviewed that is optimized.  In fact it's more optimized than the rest of the site.  Title tags are in line with the blog post titles, on page optimization is present, it makes me wonder why this didn't follow through the rest of the site.  They also allow visitors and readers to comment on blog posts.

Chris Dodd for President Blog - No RSS Button for BlogWhile they have a very active blog, its still lacks in a few areas.  There's no RSS button for just the blog.  Half way down the page (throughout the site) on the right hand side, there's an RSS button for the site itself, not the blog.  Then there's no social news, social bookmarking or any kind of other promotional options like "send to a friend" or to submit to StumbleUpon.  Not having these blog promotional tools lets a lot of networking opportunities behind.
Blogging Strategies Grade: B+

Overall the marketing strategies for this democrat presidential candidate are that bad.  If they implemented some sort of small PPC campaign, this would be the best review so far, but unfortunately there's none to review which brings down their overall assessment.
Overall 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 Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich.

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