How you do it--an example: For an example of how to do this, conduct a Google web search on car salesman Tom Ganley, who is challenging progressive Betty Sutton in Ohio’s 13th congressional district.
Most Google searches for candidates will be on the first and last name of candidates. As such, focus on searches like "Tom Ganley," rather than "Ganley for Congress," or some other variation. Also, make sure you are not logged into Google during your search. While your results will still be somewhat personalized even when you are not logged in, they will be less personalized.
The first search result you will probably see is Tom Ganley’s campaign website. Don’t click on that. While there is no chance we will ever knock it out of the top spot, sending traffic to a candidate’s website is the best sort of web traffic they can get. So, just don’t go there.
On my Google search, the next two results are, first, another page on his campaign website "About Tom Ganley – The Community" and, second, a Politics Daily article titled "Ohio Candidate Tom Ganley Tells of Role in Taking Down the Mob." Don’t click on either of those, as they seem pretty positive.
After that, news results for Tom Ganley appear. The first one of those I see is "Ganley Stops Broadcast Buys" from Politico. For a candidate to stop ad buys three weeks from an election seems like a bad omen, so I click on that story and open it in a new tab.
After the next two news results, both of which I ignore, I see an article from Cleveland.com titled "Tom Ganley's sex assault accuser lodges employment discrimination ..." Wow--that seems like some bad press. So, I click on it, and open it in a new tab.
After that entry there are two video results. One is "Tom Ganley – His Story." That’s probably a campaign ad, so I ignore it. The other video result, however, is an ad from the DCCC. It’s titled "Millionaire Used Car Salesman Tom Ganley ..." Doesn’t sound good for Ganley, so I click on it, and open it in a new tab.
Next up is "Tom Ganley on Facebook." Pass--don’t want to send traffic to his Facebook page. After that come image results for Tom Ganley. Not going to click on any of those, either. The next five results are from:
--A right-wing blog called Right Ohio (pass)
--What looks like a bland news wire profile on Ganley from Associated Content (pass)
--A profile from a local paper (pass--profiles are usually puff pieces, and I noticed in the news results that said newspaper endorsed Ganley anyway)
--An article about Ganley entering the campaign (pass)
--An article apparently from USA Today that appears to be pointing out Ganley’s hypocrisy on the Cash for Clunkers program. Score! I click on that one, and open it in a new tab. It turns out to be an article on Plunderbund about Ganley’s hypocrisy, but that’s fine. Glad I clicked on it.
Now we are at the bottom of the first page, and are presented with "blog posts about Tom Ganley." The first two focus on Ganley being accused of sexual assault, so I click on those, and open them in a new tab. The third one is from Real Clear Politics, and looks like a bland profile piece (or worse, given that it is Real Clear Politics). So, I don’t click on it.
To continue, I click to the next page of results. Among those ten, I see articles from The Huffington Post, Crooks and Liars, and TPMDC. I click on all of those, in addition to a website called "The Real Tom Ganley," which is probably produced by a Democratic committee of some sort. Otherwise, I ignore the rest of the search results.
Finally, I repeat this process through all of the first 50 results on Tom Ganley’s name. In the end, it only took me about two minutes. If I wanted to, I could go all the way through the first 100 results, and it would only take another couple minutes.
That’s it. It took me much longer to write about this, or for you to read about it, than it took me to do it. It’s something you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, while you are sipping coffee, reading email, or just surfing. Given how quick and easy it is, it will not detract from any other activism you are doing. Best of all, if even a few hundred dedicated progressives do this once a day, it will make a big difference in the search engine results for Republican candidates and Republican members of Congress across the country.
Take note: don’t bother with clicking on the same link multiple times, or doing it multiple times for a single candidate in a single day. You don’t want to make this boring or repetitive, and Google frowns upon that anyway. If you want to do it more than once, find another Republican candidate or member of Congress you want to target.
Finally, because clicks on searches matter, the very first action we took in the Grassroots SEO campaign--searching for negative articles on Republican candidates--is an act of SEO in and of itself. We have already improved the search engine position of several negative articles just by looking for them--a few have even been pushed into the top ten. This is because you actively influence search engines every time you use them. It is a power search engines themselves have given you, and we should all use it.
So, go back to the candidate target list, and conduct a search on a candidate’s name. When you find negative articles in the results, click on those results. Do this once or twice a day. If you find a particularly juicy one, send it to me at SEO@dailykos.com. We will learn about other ways to use those articles later in the week.