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September 13, 2011

Over 40% US online population visited government site in July: comScore

The National Institutes of Health (NIH.gov) ranked first with 9.6 million unique visitors

By CBR Staff Writer

The number of people in the US who visited a government site reached to 87.6 million in July 2011, an increase of 11% compared to five years ago, representing 40.7% of the total US online population, according to comScore.

This increase in five is significantly lower than the 24% growth in the total US Internet users over the same period of time.

comScore senior director Gillian Heltai said despite current efforts to improve their online offerings, government agencies have been unable to keep pace with rapidly-changing consumer expectations and distinguish themselves through their use of technology.

An analysis of visitation to top federal sites in the Government category showed growth in the industry between July 2009 and July 2010, followed by a marked decline among many sites the following year.

However, visitors spent upwards of 10 minutes on average engaging with content in seven out of the top ten federal sites, as these sites continued to serve as valuable sources of primary information.

In July 2011, the National Institutes of Health (NIH.gov) ranked first with 9.6 million unique visitors, buoyed by a partnership with Google that enabled the listing of NIH pages as the first unpaid search result for pharmaceutical searches.

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The report also said that despite sole focus on government jobs attracting a sizeable audience (2.9 million unique visitors) and competing with other mainstream job search sites, and it is ranked as sixth among top federal Government sites.

"In certain industries, such as Health and Career Services, a few top Government sites have performed as well as other commercial sites and garnered a respectable share of these markets," Heltai said.

"This performance reflects the unique value of information delivered directly from government agencies to US citizens and highlights the potential for agencies to become relevant players not just in the government space but also in their complementary industries."

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