Why Government Websites Need SEO

May 2, 2013

As the SEO Specialist for Brighton College, I have come across many frustrating, un-optimized, information-rich government websites which are difficult to find on the Internet. Although government websites may have an advantage over commercial websites pertaining to search engine optimization (SEO), without an intentional SEO strategy Internet users may not be able to find what they are looking for.

Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo regularly favor government websites over others based on the natural trust factor which their algorithms may take into consideration. If the website is optimized correctly, Google and other search engines will spider and index the pages and their respective keywords, allowing the government website to show up high on search engines when a user is searching for related information. However, not all government websites are optimized for SEO, as webmasters assume the site will naturally be ranked due to the weight of the trust factor for the .gov domain. While in some cases this may be true, without telling the search engines what keywords the page should be ranked for, the website may not rank for the specific keywords which users are typing into Google, Bing or other search engines.

Nearly everyone looks for government-related information on the Internet at some point. However, with millions of government Web pages, users get frustrated when sifting through irrelevant information. Unfortunately this is an everyday occurrence as people use government websites for many different reasons including:

  • Obtaining information on statistics and government research
  • Downloading government forms or applications
  • Finding information pertaining to government sponsorships and visas
  • Using specific services provided by a government agency
  • Paying fines online
  • Applying for government benefits
  • Researching public policies or issues online with the local, state or federal government

Having a website which correctly ranks for keywords pertaining to the site information will help people find the information quickly and easily, which is why government websites need good SEO.

By guest blogger, Stephanie Stover, Search Engine Specialist for vocational training school Brighton College located in Vancouver, B.C.