Linking Policy

Find out how the team at USA.gov chooses what web pages it should link to.

Links to Websites

Links to Government Websites

USA.gov links to publicly available websites that are government-owned or government sponsored, unless directed not to by the agency that owns the site. Acceptable federal government-owned or government-sponsored website domains include .gov, .mil and .fed.us.

USA.gov also links to: quasi-government agencies and websites created by public sector/private sector partnerships; state and local government sites (e.g., www.maryland.gov); and some government-sponsored websites that end in .com, .org, or .net (e.g., www.usps.com for the U.S. Postal Service and www.ncfy.com/clear.htm for the National Clearinghouses and Resource Centers on Families and Youth).

Links to Non-Government Websites

USA.gov also links to websites that are not government-owned or government-sponsored if these websites provide government information and/or services in a way that is not available on an official government website. USA.gov provides these non-government websites as a public service only.

The U.S. government, including the U.S. General Services Administration (the primary sponsoring federal agency of USA.gov), neither endorses nor guarantees in any way the external organizations, services, advice, or products included in these website links. Furthermore, the U.S. government neither controls nor guarantees the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of the information contained in non-government website links.

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Evaluation Criteria

The USA.gov staff evaluates all links using the following criteria:

  • Is the website an official government-owned or supported website? If not, does the website provide government information and/or services in a way that is not available on an official government website?
  • Does the website complement existing information, products and services on USA.gov?
  • Is the website accessible and applicable to a wide audience?
  • Is the website's content relevant, useful and authoritative for citizens, businesses and/or government officials?
  • Does the website's information appear to be accurate and current?
  • Is the website's approach to the privacy of personal information consistent with the government's privacy and security policies?
  • Is the primary intent of the website to educate and inform, rather than persuade, convert, or sell? The site may include advertising but must be free from heavy marketing or promotion of products.
  • Does the website provide information free of charge?

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Prohibitions

USA.gov will not link to any website that exhibits hate, bias, discrimination, specific religious views, or social agendas. Furthermore, USA.gov reserves the right to deny or remove any link that contains misleading information or unsubstantiated claims, or is determined to be in conflict with USA.gov's mission or policies.

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Reciprocal Links

Though any site is welcome to link to USA.gov, USA.gov does not engage in reciprocal linking. USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov are the official web portals for the U.S. government. These are public domain websites. There is no cost or special permission required to link to the sites.

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