Search


What can we do to improve how the public is able to search for federal content, via federal websites and commercial search engines?

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SEO as standard practice

Ensure that every new site follows the basic principals of optimizing its content for search engine ranking. Too many sites don't even contain the keywords commonly used by most people to describe the primary subject area of the site.

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56 votes
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Users should be able to find gov services based on location

I should be able to give my zip (opt-in) or my GPS location so I can find nearest gov offices and services

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29 votes
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enable findability by using sitemaps and robots.txt

For search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) to be able to properly index websites it helps for the website to publish a sitemap http://www.sitemaps.org/ Sitemaps are a vendor neutral way for websites to list URLs that they would like crawled and optionally when the resources were last updated. Additionally a robots.txt http://www.robotstxt.org/robotstxt.html is used to identify the location of the sitemap, and also ...more »

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27 votes
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Metadata process

Build metadata management as a key part of any web project. It can enable searching, sorting, audience personalization and content reuse. We must stop forcing the visitor to weed through pages of content that are not relevant to them, and help them search and find the content that is relevant.

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21 votes
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Index Website

Create a website with simple html text such as that used in www.craigslist.org that subdivides all the ".gov" websites into one page. For example all the science category such as NASA, NSF, NOAA, DARPA, and others would be under one section. Knowing what the federal government provides and where to find is important and should be easily accessible. One example that comes to mind is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) ...more »

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21 votes
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All Gov sites should use search.usa.gov to power site search

All gov agences should use centralized services to provide the most relevant content the citizen quickly

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18 votes
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Localize search results

Allow me to narrow search results by my zip code, or create a Search.usa.gov account that remembers my personal info (like age, zip code, search preferences) and returns specialized results based on that.

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16 votes
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Speed

Institute best practices for speed (cache pages, use CDNs and so on) so that content loads quickly on any device with any connection.

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13 votes
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Dedicate a defined portion of your web team hours to search

Dedicate a defined portion of your Web team hours to search. The amount of resources assigned would of course depend on the size of the site, the frequency of new content being added. Very often, we set up the search engine, do some initial tuning and testing, and then just let it run. Its important to periodically review search results on your site, review the top searches on your site and provide insights to content ...more »

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12 votes
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Cross-departmental searchability

Have a main search engine that will search the infromation and data on all governemnt sites. Sometimes it vague which department has the infromation on a subject. A general search based that uses key-word tag technology would eliminate the user having to navigate multiple government websites to find what they are looking for.

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10 votes
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Search Becomes Strategic - Tied to User Experience

With the recent changes at Google, fixing the search functionality for .gov websites becomes more closely tied to the user experience. This means bringing in user experience professionals who have deep knowledge/expertise in search technology (that powers the site search for these sites) OR search professionals who has a strong background in user experience and information architecture. All too often, designing a successful ...more »

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9 votes
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Require Meta Descriptions

Make meta descriptions a requirement for all pages. Believe it or not, pages like http://www.irs.gov/faqs/content/0,,id=199831,00.html have no meta description to help search engines create better snippets.

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8 votes
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