UK Government Embarks on Link Farming!

7 comments

I have just had a knockabout email exchange with an UK official government web site, that showed how .gov.uk sites are now trying to manipulate search engines by getting links from (non government) authority sites, but themselves having a policy only to link to government sites. Good old fashioned link farming!

Unprompted in any way by by me, they emailed me asking me to link to them from an acknowledged authority website of mine in a very competitive term. I took a look at the government site that they asked me to link to, and thought it odd that the only links were to other government sites - and not that relevant government sites either. When I pointed out to them that I could not see any indication of their linking to anything other than government sites, the interesting quote from the civil servant in replying to me was:-

"As we receive many requests for links from businesses and enthusiasts who have produced sites about (this subject) to avoid having to either list them all (which would clutter the site), or justify why some are included rather than others, we have taken the decision not to include links to any (non governmental site)"

I have no idea whether this is a new policy by the UK government, nor do I know how strictly it is enforced, but it does indicate that the search engines should perhaps be looking at the weighting they give to UK government site links, if all UK government sites are in effect just part of a big link farm. They are not passive in merely rejecting link requests from non-government sites, but are themselves proactive in trying to get authority links for their sites. They pay civil servants to find authority sites (like mine), and then email to ask for a link. However they never themselves offer the punter anything other than links from their internal government link farm.

This is IMO just as much gaming the Search Engines as old fashioned link farming. So what is a .gov.uk link really worth, same as a link farm?

Comments

I think you just got ,,,,

... a rogue department.

Many .gov.uk do link out to external sites

for instance
http://www.hants.gov.uk/links/buslink.html#retail

Okay most are not quite that accommodating but most UK local government sites are good for a few strategiic links.

I have completely

I have completely unsolicitied links from .gov.uk sites - but I have received a "link exchange" request for businesslink, which was being run via a third-party marketing company.

I think it makes perfect sense for any major government website to be extremely careful whom they are linking out to, because of the human user perception of such validation.

To be honest, complaining that .go.uk's are link farms sounds like bad eggs on your part. :)

I think there are two parts

I think there are two parts to cornwall's post.
OK the second part just sounds like a department policy and I'm not that surprised.
But the first part of a government department actively seeking links?
That IS new to me and I think and interesting development

I don't know why they're bothering ...

The UK government is set to shut down over 500 of its own websites in an attempt to consolidate info for the public:
More from BBC News

You may lose your links Brian!

MM

I thought it might be an attempt to bloster there website to avoid being culled - just didnt get time to post.

Nah, it's just the useless

Nah, it's just the useless junk sites from central government that are going - they had over 3000 at one point. Regional authorities are much happier to recommend useful resources from third parties if they see a need for it.

Not sure what the story is?

I've done link building for .gov.uk sites before and I'm sure many others have also. I also don't think it's surprising that some Government sites only link to other .gov.uk's for quality control and legal reasons. With regards to why they link build -
Links/Ranking = Traffic
Traffic = Popular
Popular = More Budget
More Budget = The hidden agenda of every Government department

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.