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As part of the new coalition government's budget cuts, they recently made the decision to cut one quarter of government websites, saving the Treasury around £100million every year. That quarter of websites amounts to around 600 seperate .gov.uk sites about to disappear.
A recent report by the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) suggested that some government sites were too expensive and that up to one third failed to meet the governments' own accessability standards. You can see the full report here.
The worst offending website included the government's Business Link website, which was set up to provide advice to businesses in the United Kingdom. The site cos a massive £35million last year, attracting 16.7m visitors in the same time frame.
Another government website, the UK Trade and Industry website, cost £4.7million to build and run last year, attracting just 399,501 viewers in 12 months.
That works out to £2.15 per visit for the Business Link website, and £11.78 per visit for the UK Trade and Industry site.
What i personally find extremely surprising here is the quality and impact of a website that cost £35million to build and run. You would expect for that kind of money to find the most visually impressive, useful and up-to-date website imagineable. Unfortunately, that's not what you get.
The web design is outdated, and a surprising amount of the information is no longer relevant. But how is this possible with a £35million budget? No wonder our deficit is so high with spending choices like this. In financial terms this can only be a good thing, and the new government should be applauded for cutting such unnecessary spending.
Some 'SEO' bloggers have been stating that this could have a huge impact on sites that rely heavily on these .gov.uk links; dropping them way down the SERP's after the deletion of these sites takes place.
While there may be some truth to this (Links from .gov.uk are amongst the most trusted links available, and losing them may have an impact), i can't imagine that any site is sitting high in the rankings for any competetive keyphrase and is doing it purely relying on .gov.uk links.
If your site does rely solely on these links to keep the rankings up, then you haven't been doing a proper SEO job. I think anyone who knows how to properly SEO a website won't be too worried about the change, and will have genuine link diversity.
If you'd like to enquire about our SEO services, you can get in touch with us for a chat.