SEO Tips for Political Campaigns

The only thing that is worse than not having a campaign website is having a campaign website that no one can find. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way of building your website pages to make them search engines friendly and give them the best chance to rank for related searches.

Here are some basic political campaign SEO tips for your web pages:

Watch your page titles

On web pages, the page title is an important search engine ranking element. The primary keyword or phrase related to the page should be featured at least once in the page title.  For this reason, page title tags in your page HTML should clearly relate to their page. To ensure that your full title tag shows in Google search results, your title should be about 65 characters or less. You can create longer titles, but they may be truncated in the results.

The page title is displayed in the top border of the web browser when a visitor views your website. This serves as an anchor so that the visitor knows where he or she is on your website.  Most web browsers only display the first 95 characters of your title tag. For title tags longer than 95 characters, browsers will simply crop the tag.

Each page title should include the candidate’s name. Put the page type, such as Issues, Contact, Contribute at the front of the title, followed by a hyphen or delimiter of some sort.

Examples:
<title>John Smith for TinyTown, NJ Mayor</title>
<title>Issues | John Smith for TinyTown, NY Mayor</title>

Page descriptions count, too

The description meta tag is what usually displays as a link description in the search engine results. Create individual meta descriptions for each page. This tag is intended to be a brief and concise summary of your page’s content. If you do not insert a description, the default description in the Site Setup will be used. One or two sentences is best. Anything longer will get truncated by the search engines.

Examples:
<meta name=”description” content=”On November 5th, vote John Smith for TinyTown Mayor. Principled, effective leadership.” />
<meta name=”description” content=”John Smith is ready to tackle the big issues facing TinyTown. Learn more about John Smith’s campaign platform.” />

Forget the keyword meta

The meta keyword is essentially useless. Google does not use it in its’ ranking algorithm, and other search engines give it little if any weight these days.

Content counts, too

If the copy isn’t in the page, the search engines aren’t going to find it. All of your website pages should contain enough copy for the search engines (and site visitors) to know who you are and what you are running for. This information should include your full location (including state), the elected position sought, the primary or election date, contact information and any appropriate disclaimers.

With a little work, a little SEO strategy in your political campaign website will help others find you online and attract more traffic. That means more people to see your message – and the potential for more volunteers and donors.

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