Political

Got a webpage for an event? Use an evergreen URL

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the part-science, part-art skill of making your content appear high in search results. Do that and you get more web traffic (just as those businesses who did SEO before the internet existed got more business).

There are many factors which go into getting your content performing well in search results. That’s why there are whole books written about it and people who work full time doing just SEO.

But there are also plenty of small and simple SEO tactics you can follow. One of the most common which is not followed is how to go about naming pages for events which happen more than once.

For example, you might have a page called www.AmazingNewCentreParty.org.uk/autumn2018conference. Seems a sensible web address. Nice and readable if it gets printed in offline material. Contains the sort of keywords people might be searching for online (e.g. “Centre Party conference”).

Why search engine optimisation (SEO) is important for political campaigns

One group saw positive articles about one candidate first; the other saw positive articles about the other candidate. (A control group saw a random assortment.) The result: Whichever side people saw the positive results for, they were more likely to vote for - by more than 48 percent. more

But what happens when the conference is over and the next one comes around? Chances are you’ll create a new page with a new web address. Quite often too the old page will at some point get dropped from your site.

That causes problems. First, if you build up a few links (which help with SEO too) to your conference page then you lose that benefit for next time as your next conference page is back to starting at zero links. Better, therefore, to use an evergreen or permanent web address such as www.AmazingNewCentreParty.org.uk/partyconference. This way, each time you can update the page to be about the latest conference, keep the benefit of the links from previous efforts and accumulate new links on top of that.

Second, often – especially when people running a website change or the site changes systems (e.g. from NationBuilder to WordPress) – older pages get dropped. That means you end up with leaving broken links to your site. That’s a missed opportunity for you and also not nice for those who have put in those links (as the broken links hinder those other sites in their own SEO quest). If you’re getting links from colleagues, that’s not good neighbourly behaviour.

Third, if you update and resuse pages, it’s easier to accumulate extra and better content over time as rather than putting time into creating content from scratch each time you can start by updating and adding to what’s already there. What you can do after a repeating event is create a new subpage to archive the old content, whilst keeping the main page ready for the next occurrence of the event.

Do this, and rather than going round in circles, you can progress time after time, getting better at SEO and more people to see your content.

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