The two main party leaders are failing to protect their personal brands in the search results, with unofficial and negative websites ranking in the first page of Google.
The results for searches for both Labour and Conservative are in general relevant, containing many official websites, with the only negatives being a Labour PPC ad questioning George Osborne’s spending plans.
However, it’s a different story when you search for either David Cameron or Gordon Brown. Each set of results has an unofficial blog (davidcameron.com and gordonbrown.com) which is highly critical of each leader.
Both of these sites rank highly too; fifth on the first page of Google in the case of Cameron, and eighth for Gordon Brown.
In the case of Gordon Brown, the fact that an estate agent from Chester-le-Street has the same name as the PM means that it takes up three of the first page results.
There is also the issue of social media. While Gordon Brown has a Twitter account under the DowningStreet name, there are no other Twitter accounts in the name of either Brown or Cameron, though there are plenty of imposters.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg seems to be more on the ball, with both an official website in his name and a Twitter account, both of which show up on the first page of Google.
Since profiles on social media sites can rank very highly in the search engines, both party leaders are missing a trick by not having official accounts.
People are talking about Brown and Cameron on Twitter, and this can often be negative, as the screenshot below shows, and these results will be showing up regularly on Google searches:
With the introduction of real time search, politicians, as well as brands, need to take social search optimisation seriously. Simply opening Twitter and Facebook accounts in the names of senior figures can make a difference.