There is no doubt that government websites have loads of information and people tend to believe the content on such websites more than they do on others. Right from federal governments to state governments to local authorities, all have information posted on the web which is for the consumption of the general population. It has been noted that almost 20 percent of Google search is for local information and there is no better place to find this than a local government website. In view of this fact Google Search Quality team recently spoke to webmasters of government websites to know of their questions and concerns. In this interaction a few questions kept coming up again and again. Therefore Google decided to share these FAQs for the benefit of other government webmasters.
Question 1: How to fix incorrect phone numbers or addresses in search results or Google maps?
This is the most common question that Google comes across. The easiest way for government webmasters to correct phone numbers and addresses is by claiming their Google+ Local listing. Any information can be fixed this way as most locations on Google Maps have a Google+ Local Listing.
Question 2: I have claimed the listing for our office, but I have more than 40 city parks to claim in Google Maps and none of them has a phone number or mailboxes?
In this case use the bulk up-loader. You have to use a specially formatted spreadsheet. To get this sheet go to www.google.com/places and click “Get started now” and then look for “Bulk upload” link. In case you have any problems use the Verification Troubleshooter.
Question 3: We are changing from .gov domain to .com domain? How do you move the site?
There is a detailed article on this issue in the Help Center. Read the article and follow the steps. The article will guide you on changing domain in easy steps. However, it is recommended that you retain control of your old site and issue redirects to the new site for at least 180 day or more.
Question 4: We have created unique descriptions and titles for several pages? How do we get Google to pick them up?
Better titles and descriptions are immensely helpful for users and influence their click thorough rate. As it is known to everybody Google’s generation of page titles and description is fully automated. This is based on the content on the page and references on the web. Changes if any are picked up by Google when they crawl the website. To further speed up the process you can inform Google about the URLs in question. You may also submit an updated XML sitemap to Google so that they are aware about all the pages on your site. You may also use the Fetch as Google feature in webmasters tools and have your URL indexed.
Question 5: How to get into the YouTube government partner program?
The government partner program has been discontinued. However, the good news is that most of the features on this erstwhile program are now available in the regular YouTube account. You can now broadcast live streaming video via Google Hangouts. You can also make your site the official channel by linking your YouTube account with your Webmasters Tools account. Automatic captions now support more languages on YouTube.
These are some of the FAQs that were deemed very important. There are more and we recommend that you visit the Webmasters Academy to learn more about making your website search engine friendly.