In a major cost cutting exercise the government is to close up to 600 websites in a bid to save over £100m per year in running costs. Some of the numbers being quoted are quite amazing, the Business Link apparently cost £35m last year.
A report from the Central Office for Information, published today, found that £94 million was spent on the construction and set up and running costs of just 46 sites. The Government also spent £32 million on staff costs for those sites in 2009-10.
The most expensive websites were uktradeinvest.gov.uk which costs £11.78 per visit and businesslink.gov.uk which costs £2.15 per visit, according to the COI.
Clearly this is going to cause a huge shakeup in the UK search results, firstly due to the fact that 600 sites with a lot of traffic will disappear (we can be quite sure that 301 redirects won’t be applied) but secondly due to the sudden loss of the most trusted links available.
Sites that rely on lots of .gov.uk links could suddenly face large drops in rankings once these sites stop working.
What will be interesting is to see how many SEO companies start replicating the content of these doomed websites for clients and then contacting everybody who has linked to a particular .gov.uk site suggesting they link to their sites instead. it could be a very big opportunity to get links.