SBA earns award for search options

The Small Business Administration’s Business.gov Web site has received the Best Use of Local Search award, the agency announced today.

The site received the award because of its unique solution for handling geographically oriented search queries, SBA said. Search Engine Strategies, a conference and expo series focused on technological innovations, announced the award Aug. 20.

Business.gov is the access point for the Business Gateway, a cross-agency program that gives small businesses an easy way to find government information, including forms and compliance guidelines.

Business.gov uses the Google search engine and can intelligently read a user’s query for geographic context, such as the city, state and ZIP code. For example, if someone types in “business license Richmond, Va.,” Business.gov will return the relevant results from City of Richmond and Commonwealth of Virginia Web sites on licenses. The site’s search feature returns only the most relevant results that align with the specific geographic area for which a user wants information.

“This award demonstrates SBA’s commitment to providing innovative services to the small-business community,” said Sandy Baruah, acting administrator at SBA. “We are proud of the work Business.gov has done to help our nation’s businesses.”

Business Gateway is a presidential e-government initiative that provides a single access point to government services and information to help the businesses with their operations.

SBA launched Business.gov in 2004, providing information on starting, growing and managing a small business. Officials revamped Business.gov in 2006, changing its focus to compliance regulations, from taxes to workplace safety.

In January, officials linked the site with Google’s search engine. The site combined content from separate Web applications — from Google-based services that include Google’s Custom Search Business Edition, Google Maps, the Google Search Appliance and publicly available information gathered from federal, state and local government Web sites.

The SES award is one of the Business Gateway’s eight recognitions this year.

“It is truly an honor to be gaining so much recognition for doing something we at Business.gov feel so passionate about,” said Nancy Sternberg, the Business Gateway program manager. “At the end of the day, as long as we’re saving business owners’ time and money, we’ve done our jobs. These awards are icing on the cake.”

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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