On any given month, Google visitors conduct approximately 3.35 million searches on the word chiropractic and 1.83 million searches on the word chiropractor. When they do, the first page of the results usually presents the following:
- Sponsored links - usually paid for by local doctors of chiropractic
- Wikipedia Web page on chiropractic
- National Institutes of Health Medline Web page on chiropractic
- Our two national chiropractic associations
- Local business results for chiropractic
- Dynamicchiropractic.com and Chiroweb.com
In case you are not familiar with Chirobase.org, the site describes itself as: "Your Skeptical Guide to Chiropractic History, Theories, and Practices Operated by Stephen Barrett, MD, and Samuel Homola, DC." Needless to say, the information on the Web site is not very complimentary to chiropractic or to doctors of chiropractic, as you might expect if you've followed Dr. Barrett over the years.
The Skeptic's Dictionary's (Skepdic.com) chiropractic section begins with the following quote: "Chiropractic is the most significant nonscientific health-care delivery system in the United States," attributed to William T. Jarvis, PhD. It includes additional information suggesting chiropractic is ineffective and even shows tragic photographs of a patient who was reportedly injured by chiropractors.
Unfortunately, because these two Web sites hold positions on the first page of Google's chiropractic and chiropractor search results, some of the 5 million monthly Google visitors who use either of those two search terms will undoubtedly learn about chiropractic from them. If only we could get them off that first page.
Google has launched a new system that lets us decide which Web sites should be "starred results." And while the folks at Google are not saying if these starred results will have an impact on search result rankings, my bet is that they will. With this new tool firmly in hand, here is the plan:
- Go to Google.com, enter the search term chiropractic and see if there are little blue stars just after the name of each Web site on the search results page.
- If the stars are there, simply click on the stars next to DynamicChiropractic.com, Chiroweb.com, your national association, chiropractic college, state chiropractic association, etc. Any Web site listed that you think does a good job of representing chiropractic on the Web should be starred, particularly those on the first page.
- If you don't see the stars next to the Web site names, you need to "Sign in." You can do that by clicking on the "Sign in" link at the top right corner of the Google Web page. If you have an account, simply sign in. If you don't, it will only take a few minutes to create an account. Once you do, you can sign in, search on chiropractic and select the Web sites you wish to star.
Anyone can do this. You can even ask your patients, friends and children to participate. This could have a big impact on which Web sites appear when people search for chiropractic. If enough of us participate, we could see Chirobase and Skepdic relegated to the second page of the Google search results, or even further back.
Take a few moments today to star the Web sites and let Google know which ones you find valuable. Hopefully, with enough people joining us, we will see changes in what 60 million searches reveal about chiropractic every year.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.