Can Majestic SEO call the US Election?
There is more than one way to do a poll.
Well read on…
Some time back, Majestic SEO found a great correlation between links to a political candidate’s official page and the result. Well something really interesting has happened between Romney and Obama:
The last month has seen a MASSIVE swing to Mitt Romney. While the polls are suggesting this is a close fought race, the closeness may well be dependent on whether the incumbent’s past “branding” will keep him going past the winning post, because cumulatively, Obama has more sites linking to him than Romney does, but the rate of acquisition suddenly changed last month.
So what has happened?
If we look at links seen during the last 60 days, rather than all time, we can look at the links seen day by day:
As you can see, the whole game seems to have changed immediately before the first Presidential debate. Ever since that point, Mitt Romney seems to have kept up the online brand messaging. Here is the same chart on a cumulative basis.
During the London Mayor election, we used back link history (the way in which website link to each other) as a proxy for opinion between the two main candidates. Boris Johnson – now known around the world after the Olympics – won reasonably convincingly and our graph mapped the opinions of the public well… Spot the similarity?
Boris finally won the elections in London by about 6 points. Right now, I have to predict that unless Obama changes the dynamics a bit, Romney will do rather better than the “pundits” are saying on election day.
…But read on…
Is Crowd-sourcing a better predictor than polling?
Using Majestic SEO as a prediction tool may have some advantages over other more traditional methods.
- The data contains a massive sample. Majestic SEO sees about 3 billion URLs every day
- The data is international in nature, but since all URLs are checked against a Geo-targeting database, detailed analysis could break down data by country. (In this case, the data is US centric mainly because of the subject matter and the two sites compared.
- The data is FAST! We update our index constantly although these charts are currently being updated every day, other data updates most hours.
- The polling does not JUST have to be looking at electoral Maths. Many other concepts can be visualized through link analysis.
…but read on…
This data was collected at a top level. At the top level it is only a good predictor if the data was not manipulated. In a democratic election, manipulation is infact the whole name of the game! Knowing where all these links came from may dramatically change one’s opinion on what this data means. Luckily, we can easily see where Mitt Romney acquired all his links over a three day period through the New links tab on our Site Explorer. OK – this requires a $49 subscription… but that’s GOT to be cheaper than phoning 3,000 people to try and get a sample.
You are welcome to register with Majestic (it only takes a minute) to see where these thousands of links came from. If you are just here for the read, here are a few:
- There were some on CNN
- There were some on The Atlantic
- There is one to Mitt Romney’s shop… on the GOP Privacy page! (Oh… the irony)
However – closer inspection reveals that the vast majority of links came and went in the same day (or over a short period). This suggests a specific form of marketing – a heavy PR campaign – which resulted in a spike in the results which rapidly left the home page of websites, but may still be on these news and blog sites somewhere:
So I take my hat off to a PR/SEO team that must have spent years preparing that push. I am sure it had an effect, but because the links arrived SO quickly, they stand out and in this instance may not represent the change in fortunes Mitt Romney may have hoped for and suggested at the top level analysis. Even so – the idea of using link analysis to predict an election still holds true. Just beware of wild spikes.
If you are interested in other ways in which Majestic SEO’s data might be useful within your own predictive modelling, either consider a web based account or contact Majestic’s support for more information about our Enterprise level APIs.