Search Engine Optimization

A Conversation With ITIF About the State of Federal Government Websites

Sep 20, 2017 |

Since it’s been nearly six months since their report was released, we wanted to check in with ITIF and see what they’ve learned, what they’ve heard from agencies and what their future plans are to build on this research. Read »

A Conversation With ITIF About the State of Federal Government Websites

Steps Towards SEO: Meta Descriptions on MedlinePlus

Apr 14, 2017 | ,

MedlinePlus is a consumer health website produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), available in both English and Spanish. As part of our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, we recently added meta descriptions to our health topic pages. A meta description is a short HTML attribute in the head tag that describes the contents of a Read »

New ITIF Report Inspires a Closer Look at Website Performance and Security—Here Is Where to Begin

Mar 24, 2017 |

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) recently published a report, Benchmarking U.S. Government Websites, that looks at the performance, security, and accessibility of the top 297 government websites. ITIF is a think tank in Washington, D.C. whose mission is to formulate, evaluate, and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation in technology and public policy. Read »

Automatic HTTPS Enforcement for New Executive Branch .Gov Domains

Jan 19, 2017 | ,

HTTPS is a necessary baseline for security on the modern web. Non-secure HTTP connections lack integrity protection, and can be used to attack citizens, foreign nationals, and government staff. HTTPS provides increased confidentiality, authenticity, and integrity that mitigate these attacks. In June 2015, the White House required all new federal web services to support and Read »

Help Search Engines Help You: How SEO-Friendly URL Structure Can Boost Your Rankings

Jun 3, 2016 |

Have you ever wished you could get inside the mind of Google? To figure out what makes its search engine tick? How great it would be if that were easy to do. Well, actually it is. I realized that recently when I was doing research for one of my personal passions, which is finding invasive Read »

The Content Corner: How Google Judges Your Content

Mar 7, 2016 |

Every week my main goal is to usually provide new ways to help you feed the content beast. However, today I am going to remind you of why feeding the beast is important, especially when it comes to your search engine rankings and helping users find your content. I’ve discussed key search engine optimization (SEO) Read »

The Content Corner: The Balance Between SEO and the User

Nov 30, 2015 |

I always think of SEO like the dentist—no one really likes it, but you need to do it. Yet, despite my lack of excitement for the topic, this will be at a minimum my second post (here’s the first) about the relationship between creating good content and SEO practices. Today I want to dive a little Read »

HTTPS and Other Ranking Factors: What Impacts the SEO of Government Websites?

Sep 2, 2015 |

Following the recent OMB memo that all publicly available federal websites and Web services must implement HTTPS by December 31, 2016, Web content managers across government are considering the SEO (search engine optimization) implications of the transition, among other details. In August 2014, Google confirmed that HTTPS is a ranking signal in their algorithm. But Read »

The Content Corner: Optimize Your Content

Aug 31, 2015 |

For the past several weeks, I have been writing about fairly cerebral and more technical aspects of content generation and language in general. This week, I felt it was time to get back to a more basic content concept: content optimization. Frequently when content optimization is discussed it is heavily focused on search engine optimization Read »

Trends on Tuesday: The Impact of ‘Mobilegeddon’ on Non Mobile-Friendly Sites

Aug 11, 2015 |

Adobe released its quarterly Adobe Digital Index report this month, which showed websites that aren’t mobile optimized are seeing more than double-digit drops in traffic from Google’s organic search referrals. This is after the leading search engine announced it would start penalizing websites, after April 21st, that weren’t optimized for mobile—also called “Mobilegeddon.” Microsoft’s Bing search engine also Read »

Our Customer is Your Customer: Working Together to Improve Search on .Gov Websites

May 14, 2015 |

We know search engines aren’t Magic 8 Balls, but that’s still how we expect them to behave. We want them to answer our complex and burning questions based on just a few words. And we’ve felt that frustration when the top search results don’t serve our needs, and the results page itself makes us work. Read »

Mobilegeddon: Government Edition

Apr 15, 2015 |

Much is being said and written about the coming Mobilegeddon/Mopocalypse on April 21st—the day Google’s ranking algorithm will begin boosting results for mobile-friendly sites and penalizing mobile-unfriendly sites. While some agency websites are mobile-friendly, a great many are not. We will do well to pay attention—almost 25% of traffic on government websites is coming from Read »

Avoid Weak ‘Links’ in Your Digital Chain

Feb 25, 2015 |

Users don’t like surprises. Unexpected or unwanted content undermines the credibility of your agency and frustrates users who come to your website looking for specific information. Using links appropriately in your website content is one way to build trust with users, according to an article by Kara Pernice of the Nielsen Norman Group. Here’s a Read »

The Best E-gov Websites in the World

Dec 31, 2014 |

In Design Secrets of the World’s Best e-Government Web Sites, the Asia-Pacific online communications powerhouse FutureGov singles out eight national e-government portals as the best-designed in the world, and identifies the best practices these sites exemplify. “Ultimately, these websites are the best in the world because they are designed to Read »

User Experience (UX) vs. Customer Experience (CX): What’s the Dif?

Jul 7, 2014 |

“User Experience” and “Customer Experience.” They sound pretty similar, right? Well, here at the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, we look at it like this: User Experience (UX) deals with people interacting with your product and the experience they receive from that interaction. UX is measured with metrics like: success rate, error rate, Read »