Thursday, August 8th, 2013...3:04 pm

Parliament.uk: Some Answers

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As a follow up to my post about strange findings concerning the parliament site, I have been able to get in touch with Tracy Green who is the Head of Online Services there and she answered the questions I had for her. The questions and answers are below.

Q: Have you been involved in the site restructuring where the internal structure has been changed from sub-domains to subdirectories for the likes of art.parliament.uk? What was the reason for this change?

A: I was involved in this but not at a technical level. We needed to incorporate a number of stand-alone websites into the main Parliament site within our content management system and so it was done as part of that consolidation work. Art.parliament is one example of this.

Q: Why has this change not affected ramanujam1.parliament.uk?

A: This is a naming convention we have employed to name one of our servers which forms part of our hosting infrastructure so it should have all the same content as the website.

Q: Who is ramanujam1? :-)

A: This is simply a naming convention our technicians used to name a server. It is based on the name of a mathematician. There were more but these have been phased out leaving only ramanujam left…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._P._Ramanujam

Q: How would you explain parliament.uk’s sudden rankings for “payday loans”?

A: We think this has been caused by stories appearing on the home page and an influx of documents on payday loans being published on the Parliament website as a result of the activities of select committees.
It seems that when Google indexed the site there were lots of stories and documents promoted which pushed up our ranking.  We were also being linked to by lots of sites at the time (including pay day loan
companies) which again influences the Google ranking.  We don’t seem to be ranked quite as highly since the last crawl.

Q: What is it like working for a site like this?

A: It’s great. I’ve been working for Parliament for five years and its very rewarding to work on such a high profile site which provides really important information to the general public about our democracy, laws and members of parliament.

Thank you Tracy for providing some first hand information.

On the other hand, Google refused to comment on the issue but the home page of parliament.uk has been removed from the payday loans SERPs shortly following my initial post.

1 Comment

  • Great job with this.

    I was inclined to think something shady was going on after reading your earlier post, but the simple step of contacting someone for clarification – and getting a great response back – made it all make sense after all. :)

    Nice to see some do a bit of investigating instead of just settling for a conspiracy theory. :)