2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Websites Ranked

2020 democratic debate featured image

Campaign 2020 is here and it’s so early. But we love it right?

The second round of the Democratic Party presidential debates are coming up tonight. For my first post back at 720 Strategies, I’m going to do an objective analysis of all 20 candidate websites. And, not surprisingly, the sites are overwhelmingly powered by WordPress, the leading open source content management system.

For sake of fairness, it’s driven by search engine optimization (SEO) metrics using SEMrush for overall site assessment and PageSpeed Insights to measure download speeds.

The metrics I’m looking at through these tools are:

  • Avg. visit length: Length of time people are on the website.
  • Unique visitors: Total unique visitors to the website in the last month.
  • Pages/visit: Number of pages visitors view per visit.
  • Bounce rate: Percentage of people who view only one page.
  • Organic keywords: Number of keywords for which the website ranks.
  • Organic traffic: Number of visits to site from search in the last month.
  • Branded traffic: Number of visits to site searching specifically for the candidate.
  • Non-branded traffic: Number of visits to site searching for anything other than the candidate’s name.
  • Backlinks: Number of links on the Internet back to the website.
  • Referring domains: Number of unique websites linking back to the website.
  • Indexed pages: Total number of website pages in Google’s index.
  • Authority score: Strength and popularity of the domain according to SEMrush.
  • PageSpeed mobile: Mobile download speed score according to Google.
  • PageSpeed desktop: Desktop download speed score according to Google.

Before you dig into the details of this piece, the Council on Foreign Relations posted something great about the candidates that you should check out … And away we go with the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary candidate websites.

20. Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan 2020 campaign website
Tim Ryan 2020 campaign website

At the bottom of the list is Ohio Representative Tim Ryan with the 20th ranked website.

Like the majority of the campaign websites, it’s built using WordPress. They went with cloud-hosting platform Pantheon and fronted it with Cloudflare for performance and security. Congressman Ryan is an underdog both with his website and in the race.

We all know that page speed is a ranking factor for Google, so it’s absolutely critical to optimize your website, especially for mobile. For Ryan, his website is super slow, registering PageSpeed scores of 7 for mobile and 37 for desktop, worst in both categories.

That, coupled with a low number of indexed pages (just 63), low number of referring domains (525) and a weak domain authority score (42).

All of these put together means a sad score of 17.1%.

The Good:
  • 2:20 avg. visit length (7th)
The Bad:
  • 503 organic keywords (14th)
  • 65K unique visitors (16th)
  • 0 branded traffic (16th)
  • Non-branded traffic (16th)
  • 42 authority score (17th)
  • 525 referring domains (18th)
  • 4.8K backlinks (19th)
  • 63 indexed pages (20th)
  • 1.56 pages/visit (20th)
  • 77% bounce rate (20th)
  • 7 PageSpeed mobile (20th)
  • 37 PageSpeed desktop (20th)
  • 1.6K organic traffic (20th)

19. John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper 2020 campaign website

Sharing room at the bottom of this list is former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Unfortunately, there’s not much positive to talk about here, with every score at or below 15th place. Adding insult to injury, this website is painfully slow as well on mobile (20) and desktop (65).

Governor Hickenlooper comes in at a weak 18.8% total score and no bright spots to speak of.

The Good:
  • Nothing
The Bad:
  • 1.95 pages/visit (15th)
  • 61% bounce rate (15th)
  • 5K organic traffic (15th)
  • 0 branded traffic (T-16th )
  • 5K Non-branded traffic (T-16th)
  • 560 referring domains (17th)
  • 20 PageSpeed mobile (17th)
  • 65 PageSpeed desktop (17th)
  • 6.1K backlinks (18th)
  • 41 authority score (18th)
  • 1:24 avg. visit length (18th)
  • 56K unique visitors (19th)
  • 86 organic keywords (19th)
  • 97 indexed pages (19th)

18. Steve Bullock

Steve Bullock 2020 campaign website

Governor Steve Bullock of Montana lands at number 18 with a website score of 27.9%.

Bullock does have one thing going for his website in the 2:21 avg. visit length which is 6th overall. That’s not bad at all. But, all the other indicators are quite weak.

Page speed scores are fairly mediocre, backlinks across the Internet are thin and organic traffic is extremely light. The Governor has a long way to go to catch up with his primary competitors. Although, he is the first on this list to crack into the top 10 with one measurement, the avg. visit length.

The Good:
  • 2:21 avg. visit length (6th)
The Bad:
  • 55 PageSpeed mobile (11th)
  • 90 PageSpeed desktop (12th)
  • 59% bounce rate (12th)
  • 93K unique visitors (15th)
  • 379 indexed pages (15th)
  • 0 branded traffic (T-16th )
  • 1.7K Non-branded traffic (T-16th)
  • 1.93 pages/visit (17th)
  • 114 organic keywords (18th)
  • 1.7K organic traffic (19th)
  • 367 referring domains (20th)
  • 2.7K backlinks (20th)
  • 36 authority score (20th)

17. John Delaney

John Delaney 2020 campaign website

Maryland Congressman John Delaney also has a site well below the top 10 in the majority of categories.

The good news is that he has a site with a fair bit of content, which is all indexed by Google (1.4K). It’s not surprising that he cracks the top 10 in ranking for 941 organic keywords.

Unfortunately for Delaney, that isn’t translating into a barrage of organic traffic, ranking 12th with about 22.1K visitors arriving via search.

The Good:
  • 1.4K indexed pages (6th)
  • 941 organic keywords (10th)
The Bad:
  • 22.1K organic traffic (12th)
  • 22K non-branded traffic (12th)
  • 94K unique visitors (14th)
  • 24 branded traffic (14th)
  • 69 PageSpeed desktop (14th)
  • 22 PageSpeed mobile (16th)
  • 9.2K backlinks (16th)
  • 791 referring domains (16th)
  • 43 authority score (16th)
  • 1.62 pages/visit (19th)
  • 1:07 avg. visit length (19th)
  • 73% bounce rate (19th)

15. Marianne Williamson (Tied)

Marianne Williamson 2020 campaign website

Author Marianne Williamson has a decent showing, cracking into the top 10 with four indicators.

Her website visitors have a relatively high number of pages/visit (2.66), a good amount of branded traffic from search (1K), and a large number of unique visitors with 326K.

On the downside, fairly weak overall organic traffic, despite the branded searches. Page download speeds are incredibly slow and likely hurting the site’s SEO considerably.

The Good:
  • 2.66 pages/visit (4th)
  • 1K branded traffic (7th)
  • 326K unique visitors (8th)
  • 2:01 avg. visit length (10th)
The Bad:
  • 840 indexed pages (11th)
  • 1.3K  referring domains (12th)
  • 11.7K backlinks (14th)
  • 8.8K non-branded traffic (15th)
  • 45 authority score (15th)
  • 64% bounce rate (16th)
  • 3.5K organic traffic (17th)
  • 16 PageSpeed mobile (18th)
  • 46 PageSpeed desktop (19th)
  • 82 organic keywords (20th)

15. Michael Bennet (Tied)

Michael Bennet 2020 campaign website

Senator Michael Bennet, the second Coloradan on this list, has four bright points and quite a number of weaknesses to his digital presence.

He comes in quite strong with page speeds, ranking 6th for mobile and 9th for desktop. His bounce rate is a respectable 53%, so about half of his audience sees more than one page.

On the downside, the domain has very weak authority, likely due to the lack of backlinks and referring websites.

The Good:
  • 66 PageSpeed mobile (6th)
  • 53% bounce rate (7th)
  • 2.34 pages/visit (7th)
  • 92 PageSpeed desktop (9th)
The Bad:
  • 1:43 avg. visit length (12th)
  • 283 indexed pages (16th)
  • 174 organic keywords (16th)
  • 0 branded traffic (T-16th)
  • 6.9K backlinks (17th)
  • 65K unique visitors (18th)
  • 2.2K organic traffic (18th)
  • 2.2K non-branded traffic (18th)
  • 462 referring domains (19th)
  • 38 authority score (19th)

14. Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio 2020 campaign website

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has a lightning-fast website. He comes in with a score of 93 on mobile (1st) and 98 on desktop (2nd).

Unfortunately for him, not that many people are coming to the website, ranking 20th with 28.9K unique visitors. And, those that come have shorter visits than any other candidate’s website, the only one under a minute.

Mayor de Blasio has a long way to go in order to catch up with the rest of the candidates. But, definitely some kudos are deserved for the website’s speed.

The Good:
  • 93 PageSpeed mobile (1st)
  • 98 PageSpeed desktop (2nd)
  • 1K indexed pages (9th)
The Bad:
  • 14.1K backlinks (13th)
  • 47 authority score (13th)
  • 1.1K referring domains (15th)
  • 3.6K organic traffic (16th)
  • 0 branded traffic (T-16th)
  • 3.6K non-branded traffic (17th)
  • 165 organic keywords (17th)
  • 1.67 pages/visit (18th)
  • 66% bounce rate (18th)
  • 0:59 avg. visit length (20th)
  • 28.9K unique visitors (20th)

13. Julian Castro

Julian Castro 2020 campaign website

Julian Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, comes in at 13th out of 20 candidates. He’s one of only two candidates not using his full name or putting 2020 in the domain name.

A strong showing in five categories, especially page speed, lead to a fairly high-quality website.

On the downside, Castro is still weak on ranking for organic keywords (368), bounce rate (65%) and the number of indexed pages (164).

The Good:
  • 99 PageSpeed desktop (T-1st)
  • 87 PageSpeed mobile (2nd)
  • 2:19 avg. visit length (8th)
  • 472 branded traffic (9th)
  • 220K unique visitors (10th)
The Bad:
  • 17.4K organic traffic (14th)
  • 17K non-branded traffic (14th)
  • 1K referring domains (14th)
  • 46 authority score (14th)
  • 1.95 pages/visit (15th)
  • 368 organic keywords (15th)
  • 10.7K backlinks (15th)
  • 65% bounce rate (17th)
  • 164 indexed pages (18th)

12. Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbar 2020 campaign website

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard isn’t even the youngest candidate running this year. That honor belongs to Mayor Pete from Indiana. More on him later.

Gabbard’s site is creeping close to the top 10 with strong showing in six categories.

The avg. visit length is an incredibly impressive 5:30, which makes me wonder, what are people doing on the website for over five minutes? 2.44 pages/visit is also strong, ranking 6th overall.

On the bad side, there isn’t a ton of content with only 283 pages indexed by Google. The page speed is also quite slow, which is probably negatively impacting her SEO.

The Good:
  • 5:30 avg. visit length (1st)
  • 2.44 pages/visit (6th)
  • 336K unique visitors (7th)
  • 29.4K organic traffic (10th)
  • 29.4K non-branded traffic (10th)
  • 48 authority score (10th)
The Bad:
  • 1.5K referring domains (11th)
  • 17.4K backlinks (12th)
  • 40 branded traffic (13th)
  • 580 organic keywords (13th)
  • 59% bounce rate (13th)
  • 25 PageSpeed mobile (15th)
  • 67 PageSpeed desktop (15th)
  • 283 indexed pages (16th)

11. Cory Booker

Cory Booker 2020 campaign website

New Jersey Senator and former Mayor of Newark Cory Booker is on the cusp of the top 10. He’s the first candidate with more good than bad.

His bounce rate is 2nd best at 41%, so nearly 60% of visitors see more than one page. Organic traffic, both branded (11.9K) and non-branded (206.9K), are incredibly strong, being in the top five.

Despite a decent bounce rate, the avg. visit length is fairly average for this group. Interestingly, there aren’t a ton of pages indexed by Google; however, he’s still getting incredibly strong organic traffic.

The Good:
  • 41% bounce rate (2nd)
  • 218.7K organic traffic (5th)
  • 11.9K branded traffic (5th)
  • 206.9K non-branded traffic (5th)
  • 51 authority score (6th)
  • 62 PageSpeed mobile (8th)
  • 1.8K referring domains (9th)
  • 91 PageSpeed desktop (10th)
  • 24K backlinks (10th)
The Bad:
  • 1:48 avg. visit length (11th)
  • 553 indexed pages (12th)
  • 602 organic keywords (12th)
  • 136.9K unique visitors (13th)
  • 2.11 pages/visit (13th)

10. Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar 2020 campaign website

Kicking off the top 10 list is Senator Amy Klobuchar, the senior senator from Minnesota. She has a respectable 59.6% score for her website.

The good far outweighs the bad on her website. A very strong mobile PageSpeed score of 70 (4th) and desktop of 95 (7th). Download speeds are incredibly important signals for Google rankings.

The number of organic keywords is also quite strong with 2.5K leading to a respectable 41.5K visitors via search, most of which is non-branded (41.5K).

The four negatives for the website are very mild in comparison to the rest of the field. Unique visitors are still decent at 187.5K, backlinks at 20.5K. Page/visit and avg. visit length are pretty soft.

The Good:
  • 70 PageSpeed mobile (4th)
  • 51% bounce rate (5th)
  • 2.5K organic keywords (6th)
  • 95 PageSpeed desktop (7th)
  • 1.3K indexed pages (7th)
  • 920 branded traffic (8th)
  • 42.5K organic traffic (9th)
  • 41.5K non-branded traffic (9th)
  • 1.2K referring domains (9th)
  • 48 authority score (10th)
The Bad:
  • 187.5K unique visitors (11th)
  • 20.5K backlinks (11th)
  • 2.17 pages/visit (12th)
  • 1:37 avg. visit length (14th)

9. Jay Inslee

Jay Inslee 2020 campaign website

Governor Jay Inslee of Washington has a surprisingly strong showing coming in 9th place.

The environmental candidate from the Pacific Northwest has an even balance of good and bad, but placed this high because of very strong scores on the good side.

A lot of content indexed by Google (1.3K), a ton of organic keyword rankings (3.3K), a great domain authority score (52) and decent PageSpeed scores work in favor for his campaign.

On the downside, there are an equal number of mediocre scores across the board that keep him from cracking the top 5 candidate websites.

The Good:
  • 3.3K organic keywords (4th)
  • 1.3K indexed pages (5th)
  • 52 authority score (5th)
  • 2.34 pages/visit (7th)
  • 65.4K backlinks (7th)
  • 95 PageSpeed desktop (T-7th)
  • 1.8K referring domains (8th)
  • 60 PageSpeed mobile (9th)
The Bad:
  • 138.3K unique visitors (12th)
  • 1:36 avg. visit length (15th)
  • 60% bounce rate (14th)
  • 18.4K organic traffic (13th)
  • 112 branded traffic (11th)
  • 18.3K non-branded traffic (13th)

8. Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg 2020 campaign website

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana finished a strong 8th with a lot of good and a little bad about his campaign website.

The candidate with the most difficult-to-pronounce name (boot-edg-edge) has great pages/visit, backlinks (93.4K), and unique visitors (536.7K). His domain authority score is an impressive 50 for a politician who wasn’t really nationally recognized earlier this year.

Strangely, his PageSpeed is split between good (97 on desktop) and bad (54 on mobile).

Not too much on the bad side. The only seriously negative indicator is the avg. visit length of 1:27, ranking 17th.

The Good:
  • 2.73 pages/visit (3rd)
  • 97 PageSpeed desktop (4th)
  • 93.4K backlinks (5th)
  • 536.7K unique visitors (6th)
  • 51% bounce rate (6th)
  • 50 authority score (8th)
  • 45.8K non-branded traffic (8th)
  • 2K organic keywords (8th)
  • 46K organic traffic (8th)
The Bad:
  • 1:27 avg. visit length (17th)
  • 192 branded traffic (10th)
  • 1.8K referring domains (10th)
  • 410 indexed pages (T-13th)
  • 54 PageSpeed mobile (12th)

6. Joe Biden (Tied)

Joe Biden 2020 campaign website

Former Vice President Joe Biden comes in a strong 6th place, tied with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

The good far outweighs the bad for Vice President Biden, really good PageSpeed score on desktop (98) and mobile (84), ranking a strong 2nd and 3rd respectively. His domain authority score is a high 51, not surprisingly.

On the downside, he’s right in the lower middle of the pack on organic keyword rankings (786) and branded traffic (16), which is strange for the former Vice President. I guess people just type in joebiden.com and skip Googling him.

The Good:
  • 98 PageSpeed desktop (2nd)
  • 974.3K unique visitors (3rd)
  • 84 PageSpeed mobile (3rd)
  • 51 authority score (6th)
  • 1.9K referring domains (6th)
  • 54.7K organic traffic (7th)
  • 54.7K non-branded traffic (7th)
  • 54% bounce rate (8th)
  • 2:06 avg. visit length (9th)
  • 33.9K backlinks (9th)
The Bad:
  • 786 organic keywords (11th)
  • 2.00 pages/visit (14th)
  • 406 indexed pages (14th)
  • 16 branded traffic (15th)

6. Kirsten Gillibrand (Tied)

Kirsten Gillibrand 2020 campaign website

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is knocking on the door of the top 5 candidate websites with a 66.7% score.

She has an incredible 23% bounce rate on her site, which means a full three-quarters of visitors see more than one page. I almost find that hard to believe, given the other scores.

The number of backlinks to her website is impressive at 290.8K from 1.9K referring domains. What seems odd is that comes out to an average of 153 links per website. That sounds like a lot.

On the bad side of things, there isn’t that much, except weak traffic with 65.5K unique visitors (17th).

The Good:
  • 23% bounce rate (1st)
  • 290.8K backlinks (3rd)
  • 3K indexed pages (4th)
  • 2.53 pages/visit (5th)
  • 2:37 avg. visit length (5th)
  • 1.9K referring domains (7th)
  • 1.1K organic keywords (9th)
  • 48 authority score (10th)
  • 59 PageSpeed mobile (10th)
  • 91 PageSpeed desktop (10th)
The Bad:
  • 23.4K non-branded traffic (11th)
  • 23.4K organic traffic (11th)
  • 56 branded traffic (12th)
  • 65.5K unique visitors (17th)

5. Beto O’Rourke

Beto O'Rourke 2020 campaign

The darling Democrat from Texas who almost took down Senator Ted Cruz in 2018 is making a big run for president. If websites were a key indicator of success, we’d say he’s doing quite well. Let’s see how he performs in the upcoming debate.

O’Rourke is in the top 10 on every indicator, except one. So close Beto! It’s like taking a no-hitter into the bottom of the 9th inning, only to lose it on a bloop single with his 1:41 avg. visit length (13th).

On the good side is everything, especially 1st place in pages/visit (2.24) and branded traffic (28.4K). I guess a lot of people are Googling Beto by name, but maybe can’t figure out how to spell his last name?

Way to go Beto’s campaign team. Great job!

The Good:
  • 2.24 pages/visit (1st)
  • 28.4K branded traffic (1st)
  • 339.2K organic traffic (3rd)
  • 310.7K non-branded traffic (3rd)
  • 97 PageSpeed desktop (4th)
  • 2.6K organic keywords (5th)
  • 2K referring domains (5th)
  • 66 PageSpeed mobile (6th)
  • 1.3K indexed pages (8th)
  • 42.3K backlinks (8th)
  • 49 authority score (9th)
  • 258.3K unique visitors (9th)
  • 54% bounce rate (9th)
The Bad:
  • 1:41 avg. visit length (13th)

4. Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris 2020 campaign website

Senator Kamala Harris came out strong against Joe Biden in the last debate. The California senator is also the only candidate not using a .com, opting instead for a .org. I’m curious to know why the campaign went that way.

She impressively has nine indicators in the top five. A deep bank of 108K backlinks really helps drive her strong domain authority score of 53. An incredible 405.8K non-branded organic traffic visits lands her in 1st for that, in addition to organic traffic overall.

On the flipside, a weak avg. visit length of 1:32 seems strange, but maybe is related to a pretty slow PageSpeed score for mobile?

The Good:
  • 405.8K non-branded traffic (1st)
  • 418.9K organic traffic (1st)
  • 13.1K branded traffic (3rd)
  • 108K backlinks (4th)
  • 2.6K referring domains (4th)
  • 46% bounce rate (4th)
  • 53 authority score (4th)
  • 667.7K unique visitors (5th)
  • 1.3K indexed pages (5th)
  • 2.4K organic keywords (7th)
The Bad:
  • 2.27 pages/visit (10th)
  • 1:32 avg. visit length (16th)
  • 38 PageSpeed mobile (13th)
  • 85 PageSpeed desktop (13th)

3. Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang 2020 campaign website

Now, for the most surprising results of the study. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang comes in 3rd place with 70.4%.

The only thing working against Yang is a painfully slow website. He ranks 18th for desktop and 19th for mobile. If the campaign team figures out a way to accelerate his page downloads, he easily jumps to 1st.

Now for the good … just about everything. Incredible domain authority score for a virtually unknown candidate. People visit his website and stay a long time, 4:58 avg. visit length and 3.25 pages/visit.

If you aren’t impressed by these numbers, you should be. His campaign is doing something right.

The Good:
  • 3.25 pages/visit (1st)
  • 20.5K organic keywords (1st)
  • 4:58 avg. visit length (2nd)
  • 18.2K branded traffic (2nd)
  • 57 authority score (3rd)
  • 3.9K referring domains (3rd)
  • 800.2K unique visitors (4th)
  • 166.5K non-branded traffic (6th)
  • 184.7K organic traffic (6th)
  • 82.2K backlinks (6th)
  • 56% bounce rate (10th)
  • 978 indexed pages (10th)
The Bad:
  • 59 PageSpeed desktop (18th)
  • 15 PageSpeed mobile (19th)

2. Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren 2020 campaign website

And, in the category of not-so-surprising is the 2nd place finisher, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

She’s also the only candidate using Contentful to power her website.

Again, we’re so close to a candidate with nothing ranking out of the top 10. Her website’s Achilles heel is her PageSpeed score. She squeaks by in 9th place on mobile with 28, but desktop is slow at 67 for 15th place.

On the upside is just about everything else. Incredible traffic numbers at 1.3M unique visitors, 2nd place in pages/visit after Andrew Yang and the 2nd highest domain authority score of 60.

It’s clear this team knows what they’re doing, but not quite as much as our 1st place finisher.

The Good:
  • 724.3K backlinks (2nd)
  • 4.9K referring domains (2nd)
  • 11K indexed pages (2nd)
  • 60 authority score (2nd)
  • 1.3M unique visitors (2nd)
  • 2.91 pages/visit (2nd)
  • 46% bounce rate (3rd)
  • 9.7K organic keywords (3rd)
  • 2:51 avg. visit length (4th)
  • 271.5K organic traffic (4th)
  • 266.9K non-branded traffic (4th)
  • 4.6K branded traffic (6th)
  • 28 PageSpeed mobile (9th)
The Bad:
  • 67 PageSpeed desktop (15th)

1. Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign website

No candidate is perfect in the digital world, but Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders comes pretty close with his campaign website.

An impressive four 1st place finishes in backlinks (966.3K), referring domains (11.9K), indexed pages by Google (27K), domain authority score (64) and unique visitors (1.4M). His campaign team is doing a phenomenal job at beating out the competition. Now let’s see how Sanders performs in tonight’s debate.

Everything about his scores is impressive. The one sad weakness is the bounce rate of 57%, which puts him just under the top 10 for that category.

So, unfortunately, no candidate website is perfect in all categories.

The Good:
  • 966.3K backlinks (1st)
  • 11.9K referring domains (1st)
  • 27K indexed pages (1st)
  • 64 authority score (1st)
  • 1.4M unique visitors (1st)
  • 12.7K organic keywords (2nd)
  • 340.6K non-branded traffic (2nd)
  • 353.2K organic traffic (2nd)
  • 4:16 avg. visit length (3rd)
  • 12.5K branded traffic (4th)
  • 68 PageSpeed mobile (5th)
  • 96 PageSpeed desktop (6th)
  • 2.31 pages/visit (9th)
The Bad:
  • 57% bounce rate (11th)

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