SEO presidential elections france, media's vote

With the French presidential elections hovering on the horizon, I decided to take a closer look at the links leading from key media sites to the main candidates to see if they’ve picked their winner.

I’ve already delved into the links behind the sites of the right-wing primary candidates. But this time I decided to get a complete overview of the 5 main contenders before breaking down the results by media type e.g. regional press, magazines and pure players.

Curious to know who’s voting for who? Read on…

In terms of the total number of domain names, the winner is…Mélenchon with more than 1,700 domains pointing to his site. It seems that criticising the media pays big (SEO) rewards! Marine Le Pen takes second place followed by François Fillon, Emmanuel Macron and finally Benoit Hamon. However, it’s worth mentioning that Mélenchon had extra link-building time as he launched his site in October 2015, while the other candidates waited until summer 2016.

referring domains all candidates
Domains linking to websites of presidential candidates

When it comes to links, Marine Le Pen has the advantage that numerous current and former FN websites send huge numbers of links to her campaign site. This also applies, in varying degrees, to the other candidates who’ve been around for a while (newcomer Macron, logically, lags behind a little):

backlinks all candidates
Links to websites of presidential candidates 

If we take a closer look at all the different media sources, Mélenchon is still one step ahead with 613 links, closely followed by Fillon with 503 links and then Hamon. Fillon’s impressive score is without doubt linked to the numerous scandals clouding his presidential bid in recent months (wife and children’s fake jobs, expensive suits etc.)

summary links per media per candidates
Total links per media type and candidate


In terms of media type, we see that national publications have generated the most links followed by pure players and magazines.

links from all media to all candidates
Links from media sources to candidate sites

Analysing “votes” by media source

Let’s now look at cultural publications. Le Nouvelobs generated the highest number of links particularly to Fillon and Mélenchon, but also the two other candidates. However, Les Inrocks has only published links to Macron and Fillon, and Télérama only Hamon and Le Pen

details links to candidate

French magazines have also had their say. The Express has published a massive 144 links to Mélenchon and Le Point 8 to Fillon; while Challenges has taken a shine to Macron and Capital seems to prefer Fillon and Le Pen.

As for the national media, Le Monde and Libération have published the biggest number of links, particularly to Fillon. Hamon takes the second place for Le Monde, Mélechon takes the 2nd place for Libération. L’Humanité, on the other hand, clearly supports Mélenchon (with no links to any other candidate). Le Pen is boycotted by La Tribune and Les Echos has made a stand against Le Pen and Mélenchon by not linking to either of them.

links national media to candidates

Looking at the pure players, Médiapart has published the most links, particularly to Mélenchon, and certainly not Le Pen (only 1 link). Slate puts Macron in the No.2 spot behind Mélenchon, while Le Huffington Post ranks Macron at No.3 behind Mélenchon and Fillon. Macron gets his best score from the pure players with a total of 30 links, vs. 22 from national media sources.

At a regional level, once again, Mélenchon takes a clear lead with the help of Nice Matin, La Voix du Nord and Ouest France, which publish few links to the other candidates. On the other hand, the Parisien links to Le Pen more than anyone else.

Overall, the national press gives most votes to Mélenchon, Fillon, Le Pen and Hamon, while the pure players opt for Macron. Are the online media and its former digital start-ups “En Marche”?

The winner of the battle of the links: Mélenchon

 Mélenchon is the big winner in this analysis, which reinforces his position as the “prophet of digital strategy”, to borrow the words of NovaPlanet:

In just a few months, he has become the pope of YouTube politics, the prince of the big blue thumbs-up and the prophet of digital strategy in the French political landscape.

“Méluche” (to his friends) has gradually metamorphosed from the grouchy politician into the futurist candidate who turns up to meetings as a hologram.

 He has successfully used traditional media sources, which he fiercely criticises for their partiality, to build a powerful online reputation.

What do you think of this analysis? Some surprising results? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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