Australia’s top 100 government websites

Ash Nallawalla

8 May 2008


It is useful for an SEO to check from time to time which Australian government websites are considered by Google’s ranking algorithm to have trust and authority. These sites show good toolbar PageRank and have quality backlinks. Well done to their webmasters!

According to a search for “www” and limiting it to sites, here is Google’s verdict:

2. Department of Immigration and Citizenship
3. Medicare Australia
4. Parliament of Australia
6. Centrelink
7. Australian War Memorial
8. Australian National Maritime Museum
9. Australian Taxation Office
10. National Museum of Australia
11. National Parks and Wildlife Service
12. City of Melbourne
13. Better Health Channel
14. Department of Veterans’ Affairs
15. Australian Bureau of Statistics
16. Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
18. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace
19. Bureau of Meteorology
20. Customs
21. Department of Health and Ageing
22. Office of the Privacy Commissioner
23. Austrade – Australian Trade Commission
24. Department of Human Services
25. Department of the Environment, Water and Heritage
26. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
27. Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service
28. IP Australia
29. National Library of Australia
30. Australian Securities and Investments Commission
32. Biotechnology Australia
33. ACCC
34. AusAID
37. Department of Climate Change
38. Community Water Grants
39. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
40. Reserve Bank of Australia
41. Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
42. Northern Territory Government
43. AusIndustry
44. Going to Uni
45. Victoria Police
46. Geoscience Australia
48. Food Standards Australia New Zealand
50. Victoria Online
51. ACT Government
52. Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
53. Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
54. Queensland Government
55. Workplace Authority
56. City of Sydney
57. ACMA
58. Australian Sports Commission
59. National Archives of Australia
60. Australian Antarctic Division
62. National Health and Medical Research Council
63. Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
64. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
65. NSW Government Portal
66. Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)
67. Internet Visa Services Australia
68. Superannuation Complaints Tribunal
69. HealthInsite
71. Therapeutic Goods Administration
72. Attorney-General’s Department
73. Australian Electoral Commission
74. Wagenet
75. Prime Minister of Australia
76. NOIE (AGIMO redirection page)
77. NTIS
78. Art Gallery of New South Wales
79. Government Education Portal
80. Endeavour Awards
81. The Treasury
82. NT WorkSafe
83. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
84. National Gallery of Australia
85. Productivity Commission
86. Australian Federal Police
87. Department of Defence
88. Australia Council for the Arts
89. GreenPower
90. South Australia Central
91. Australian Institute of Criminology
92. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
93. SCAMwatch
94. Australian Government Emergency Management Australia
95. Brisbane City Council
96. Australian Institute of Marine Science
97. Australian Museum Online
98. ComLaw
99. Energy Rating
100. NSW Health

Since government departments tend to follow similar guidelines within their own level, e.g. a particular state or the Federal government, it was interesting to observe a variety of labelling practices. Not surprisingly, many webmasters still use the phrases “Welcome to …” or “home page” in the title tag. There is nothing wrong being neighbourly to web visitors, but SEO best practice advises against wasting this most valuable part of a web page on something non-essential.

There was no consistency with the way the titles were phrased – many used the official name, e.g. “Department of Blah”, while some used the contraction. Do you know what is AIATSIS? Now I know it is the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. My preference would be to see the official title first in the title text. Since Google does not show more than 62 characters in the results heading, the viewer is left guessing what comes after “The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development …”

The Federal government and national heritage websites have done a lot better than have the state governments when it comes to ranking. This is probably because they have a lot of quality incoming links, including from some state websites and large companies, whereas not many Federal sites would link to the various states. Local government has fared very poorly, again because of a lack of quality inbound links. At a quick glance, the first city council websites appear below #400.

This ranking is largely of academic interest, as the query looks for trust and authority. It does not attempt to show where a site would rank for a targeted search, such as “Waverley council rates enquiries” – the NSW council of that name ranks in the top two results. Each marketing manager of the representative departments should identify such important keyphrases and see if they rank in the top 20 results in Google, Live, Yahoo or Sensis. This is not something for the “IT department” to solve, even though they might nominally control access to the website.

Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. Ash's Google+ profile

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