What does SEME mean for you?

By Henri Makembe on 08.27.15

There has been a lot of news recently about how Google could control upcoming elections using the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) after a recent study by Robert Epstein and Ronald Robertson found that the order of results in a web search affects candidate preference.

In lab experiments with a Google-like search engine, Epstein and Robertson found that the order of search engine results can change the preferences of undecided voters between 20 and 80 percent, depending on the demographic group.

What does this mean for your campaign?

It means that you want your candidate’s website to be the first thing prospective voters see when they use Google to find out more about your race. The best way to do this? AdWords.

Google “Hillary Clinton.” The first thing you’ll see is an ad for www.hillaryclinton.com/join. It comes up on your search page before the news about her emails or her latest stops on the campaign trail.

By purchasing AdWords for your candidate’s name and other words relating to your race (like your opponent’s name), you can ensure that the link you want voters to see is at the top of the page. This will increase the likelihood that voters will click on it and learn more about your candidate.

Adwords aren’t just for big campaigns. They’re actually great for small campaigns because it is easy to micro target your ads and the cost is fairly low.

If Epstein and Robert’s findings are as sound as they seem, ensuring that your website is at the top of a Google search will not only increase your page’s traffic, but will also sway undecided voters toward your candidate.