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Cervical cancer vaccine: Please – here’s how YOU can help us inject some sense into Google’s results

October 1, 2009 16 Comments

I've pointed out that any concerned parents searching Google for information on the cervical cancer jab (in the tragic wake of a schoolgirl's death) see a mass of negative and inaccurate information linking the girl's death to the vaccine.

It turns out she died of an unrelated tumour. But Google's results will give parents second thoughts about letting their daughters be vaccinated, even though the injection will save 00s of lives a year.

YOU can help do something about this.

If you can publish a web page ...

The results Google shows are heavily influenced by two things - the number of links to a page, and the text that's used for a link.

So, please, if you have any way to publish a web page (you have a blog, say, or you work somewhere that publishes online), then link to these URLs:

  • http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hpv-vaccination/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  • http://www.immunisation.nhs.uk/Vaccines/HPV
  • http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/09September/Pages/Cervical-cancer-vaccine-QA.aspx

Ideally, use some link text like cervical cancer jab or cervical cancer vaccine to link to those pages, like this: cervical cancer jab information and cervical cancer vaccination and Q&A about ervical cancer vaccine.

The more of us who link to it, the higher in Google's results that page will appear, counteracting the ill-informed media scaremongering. My aim is to get these NHS pages into the top 10, and preferably top 3, of a search for relevant terms.

If you can tweet, or you have a friend with a blog

Why not publicize this plan? You can tweet this blog post using the button at the top. Or if you know someone with a blog, why not ask them to add a link to the relevant NHS site.

If you've already blogged about this

Already published something about this online? Why not go back to that post / story and add a link to the NHS page. If you've linked to a misleading news story in your outrage over the media's reporting, why not add rel = "nofollow" to your link? That will stop Google counting your link as a 'vote' for the page.

Look in the HTML view and change something like this:

<a href="http://tabloid.com/misleadingstory">cervical cancer jab</a>

to this:

<a href="http://tabloid.com/misleadingstory" rel="nofollow">cervical cancer jab</a>.

At the moment, many outraged bloggers have linked to the scaremongering tabloid stories, giving them a boost in google's results. Adding nofollow like this will avoid this problem.

If you are in the NHS

Er, I think you need some SEO advice. The page I've suggested you link to is the one recommended by NHS Choices. However, it doesn't have cervical cancer jab in the title - I suggest you change this.

If you need any help

Leave a comment if you want some advice on the best way to help deal with this. You can see all my posts charting the history of this media scaremongering here.

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