Enhance Your Site Credibility with Authoritative Linking

Oct 12, 2016

Your political campaign website and print materials will appear stronger when they are backed up by creditable sources. Brochures and print materials can use regular print citations, but for the web, you can link directly to the source material.

Credible online sources include newspaper websites, magazine sites, large organizations and think tanks (sometimes, if they are not partisan). Linking out to third-party sites serves two purposes. First, it provides a point of reference that lets you back up your statements. It also allows you to promote selective information that is good for your campaign and not so good for your opponent. (After all, why would you promote positive things about your opponent? That’s their job.)

When writing about a particular event, link to the original newspaper article or web page about the event. When citing evidence or facts, link to the source that back up your statements. Don’t worry about using too many citations. Not everyone will click every link, but for those that do, they will find proof behind your statements and will give greater weight to the rest of what you have to say.

When creating the link to the relevant source, use phrases of text . For example, when talking about a particular issue, actually link to to the page about the issue with text describing the issue.

I supported the addition of new traffic light regulation that has improved the flow of traffic along Route 23.

Well-cited, rational content will win out over opinionated screed any day. Voters that have come to your website to learn more about you and your platform are more likely to appreciate well-cited material. That way they can investigate themselves and make their own decisions.

Best Practices for Linking to News Stories

Use the web to make the most about what is written about a candidate – or their opponent. Here are a few simple tips to promote  news stories and build your online reputation at the same time.

Use a headline as your summary. Whatever you do, don’t reproduce the full text of articles on your website. That’s plagiarism, and it can come back to bite you. Instead, summarize the article in a short paragraph. You can even editorialize if you want.

“… turnout at our fund raising event was a great success. To learn more about what happened, read the article above …”

Don’t just link to material that talks about the candidate, either. Feel free to link to articles or editorials about your opponent – particularly if they are critical. Simply use them to reinforce your own position.

“… as you can see from this article, [opponent] is still having problems with …”

Not only should you link from your campaign web site, but you should also bookmark articles about the candidate or campaign on social bookmarking sites.

From a search engine point of view, the more links a web page has, the higher it is likely to be ranked in search results. If you’re lucky, when a voter does a search for the candidate’s name, not only will the campaign website come up, but also some top favorable articles about the candidate as well.

On the other side, by bookmarking and linking content critical of an opponent, that material may apply when someone searches the opponent’s name! With a little work, this tactic can be very effective, especially with smaller, local political campaigns that are covered by a local newspaper that posts articles online.

Finally, always use target of _blank or new when linking to outside content. This will force open another browser window or tab when the user clicks, keeping your website available when the visitor wants to return.

Code Sample

<a href=”http://www.newspaper.com/article-page.html” target=”_blank”>Story Title Name</a>

Be generous but targeted when linking out to other websites. Sometimes, as in the case of linking to blogs, you may end up with a link back.

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