Image is everything in the world of politics, especially when so many voters aren’t as informed as they could be when choosing which candidate or bill to support. And since so much research happens online these days, politicians need vigilant online reputation management to stay on top of their game.
These basics provide a solid online image foundation for everyone, but are especially critical for anyone working in politics.
Although Wikipedia does not allow politicians (or their associates) to create their own Wikipedia pages, having one is a tremendous asset to a politician’s online reputation. Wikipedia articles are almost always the first or second result in a search, meaning they are known for being generally trustworthy and receive lots of search traffic.
Additionally, most constituents begin their online research with reputable, neutral resources like Wikipedia, so having a Wikipedia page is crucial to educating undecided or independent voters about you. If someone else hasn’t created a page about you on the site, your online marketing or reputation management agency should be able to create and monitor a page for you.
A politician’s own blog and website are the perfect places to further educate curious voters and make clear their message, values, campaign actions, and other important aspects of their image.
A personal blog is an especially powerful political online reputation tool for several reasons:
- It allows you to explain your views, ideals, and message
- You can quickly and easily publish campaign news, such as press releases, videos, or news events that support your point of view
- A regularly updated blog makes you seem trustworthy and keeps constituents interested and informed
- Blogs tend to rank highly in search results, so searchers are more likely to find you
- You are in complete control of what’s on your blog and website
A regularly updated blog won’t rank well on its own. Politicians must also employ search engine optimization (SEO) techniques for their blogs and websites to rank well. And the higher your own content appears in search results, the more people will visit your official site, blog, and other channels instead of seeing negative content.
The most important SEO tactics for politicians to be aware of include:
- Using your main keywords (such as your name and campaign issues) in page titles and descriptions, URLs, headings, alt image tags, and throughout the content of the page
- Updating your site regularly so search engines crawl your website more often (one reason blogs are powerful)
- Link to trustworthy, helpful resources to benefit site visitors
- Get links from trustworthy, helpful resources, such as your Wikipedia page and your party’s official website
A politician’s social media accounts often appear high in search results, pushing negative results out of sight. They can also make the candidate appear more human and help disseminate his or her message. But they can be disastrous if handled wrong.
The most important thing to remember about social media is to not post anything that could reflect negatively on you in the first place.
As this Politico article states, “You are what search engines and social networks say you are. A bad online reputation can cost you the election.” Use these basics of online reputation management for politicians to keep a sharp image online.