SEO and the Public Sector
Does the Public Sector need to get involved in the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? That’s an interesting question to ask, at a time when the priority within the UK appears to be to cut spending in many areas.
Without delving into the history of those cutbacks are occurring, it’s worth considering whether SEO is an area where public finances should ever be invested. There has been investment in this area in the past – is it right that search engine marketing should be somewhere near the bottom of the pile, in terms of spending priorities?
The answer to this would appear to be a definite “yes!” After all, most people would agree that government spending should concentrate on core areas. In particular, we might wish to focus on elements of “delivery.”
It can be argued that this means:
- Having more doctors and nurses working within the NHS
- Ensuring that there are more police officers out on the streets, maintaining a visible presence
- Attracting qualified individuals to the teaching profession and ensuring that we limit the amount of time that they spend on bureaucracy
Those above points would appear to many people as being “common sense.” There’s little evidence in there of anything that is likely to prove particularly unpopular. The idea that we need better health professionals, police officers and teachers is common ground for many politicians. It’s also frequently argued that they should be left to get on with their core jobs.
Raising the profile of the Public Sector
But it’s also true, of course, that public money is spent on a wide range of other functions. There are some that many people would agree with and there undoubtedly must be a few that would cause widespread concern.
How much do we know about Public Sector spending or activities? How much do we really want to know? This is something that’s certainly interesting to consider. How many of us really understand the work carried out by local government workers, for instance?
Do we know the difference between work that’s carried out by a County Council and that which is undertaken by a District Council? If we want these organisations to tell us more about the work that they are doing, then we clearly need to accept that some sort of budget should be made available for the task.
It’s then a question of how that budget is spent. Do we expect them to spend money attracting television or newspaper coverage? There may be elements of work that aren’t considered “interesting enough” to reach out in this way. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the work is unimportant.
With increasing Internet usage, the idea of taking prime positioning within the search engines does make some sense. It could be said that this would represent an attempt to reach out to tax-payers, without the need for active engagement on the part of the latter.
Ultimately, this must be about all of us. Do we care how public money is spent? Are we interested in finding out more? Do we expect to find this information via search engines? If not, how should such information be made available?
This seems to be a subject that has not attracted an enormous amount of attention. Maybe it should.
With thanks to Mark Pack, who wrote an article on this subject in 2010 and provided the inspiration for us to think about this in more detail.
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