The Out-Googling of Governments

I just googled Louisville and was surprised by the result. The first hit? Louisville.com, an entertainment Web site. Number two? The University of Louisville. ...
by | July 7, 2008

I just googled Louisville and was surprised by the result.

The first hit? Louisville.com, an entertainment Web site.

Number two? The University of Louisville.

Third? The Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Up fourth? The city's Wikipedia page.

Finally, coming in fifth is the city's official homepage.

This is a trend I'm starting to notice. Government Web sites are slipping down in search engine results (Try googling New Orleans, for example).

In some sense, I'm sure that's gratifying to municipalities. It means that there is enough going on in their jurisdiction that someone other than the government has a well-visited Web site.

However, the trend also deprives governments of a form of message control. The person who knows nothing about a place and wants to get a bit of information will, quite likely, get that first bit of information from somewhere other than the government's Web site. And how will anyone know that Louisville is "Possibility City" if they don't visit the city's official homepage?

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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