The Science of Linking

The growth of social media has given organisations new ways of engaging with audiences across the internet. However, a website’s core traffic is still derived from search engines, primarily Google (90% global market share). To increase traffic, a website needs to increase its position in search results for its key terms. This position is determined by a number of factors, most importantly by PageRank algorithm (after co-founder Larry Page). PageRank is a logarithmic scale from 1 to 10 that determines how important Google believes a page to be, it is determined by analysing the incoming links to a given website, both their quantity and quality. Bear in mind that very few websites have a PageRank of 10 (USA.gov.uk is one), even google.com and bbc.co.uk only score a 9. The best PageRank’s come from having a lot of incoming links from websites which themselves have lots of incoming links. This gives the research community a good opportunity to compete, as animal rights websites tend to have less incoming links than university and government websites. Check the video below for more information on Google’s search methods.

So let’s have a look at the scores of some animal research and animal rights websites:

UK

US

 

In the UK we can see that pro-research websites are generally doing better than the anti-vivisection societies. On the other hand, there is a much more level playing field in the US. This could be down to better connections between pro-research organisations and universities, industry and government websites in the UK.

What about the number of incoming links. Although there is no definitive way to measure this, I have used Alexa to compare all of them.

UK

US

A much more concerning picture for research, with websites opposing the use of animals in research receiving more incoming links than pro-research websites by a huge magnitude – around 5x the number in the UK and a whopping 50x the number in the US.

If you wonder why this matters then consider this. Younger generations, who typically use the internet when researching new issues (such as animal testing), are almost twice as likely to support a ban on research than the more senior members of society (Pew Research Centre 2009, Mori Poll 2012). This is, in part, because of the plethora of bright and shiny animal rights websites they come across when investigating this thorny topic.

There are a number of ways that websites can improve their search traffic, often known as “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO). This ranges from the White Hat tactics of generating good content that people want to link to (which Google encourages), to Black Hat tactics of spamming keywords and paying for links (which Google actively punishes when it finds it). Older websites, with new content, easy to navigate, with a clear layout, sitemap and up-to-date information is important, but it is all useless without the quality and quantity of incoming links mentioned above.

What can you do?

It is important for all of us to defend animal research, and one of the easiest ways you can do this is to talk to your university or institution about adding a link to Speaking of Research (as well as the other pro-research organisations) to your webpage on the use of animals in research, or a links page. It is not just large institutional links which are important. If you are a blogger, tweeter, forum-user, new article commenter, then please try to include a link to our website – it could really make a difference in our ability to provide students of today with the information they need.

Speaking of Research

17 responses to “The Science of Linking

  1. aww the vivisectors are worried about what history will say about them, and more worryingly, if they will have jobs in a few years…because…GASP…more and more people are recognizing that animal research is an intrinsic evil. There is no way to make your bloody work look good, necessary or appealing. It is evil, ugly, immoral and inhumane.

  2. I think researchers are worried that if they don’t communicate themselves effectively then they can’t expect others to understand the importance of their work

  3. What is more important than the suffering of the animals involved? Nothing can be more important than that central fact. Moral gains cannot result from immoral actions, they are always tainted. It’s important that people recognize the inherent evil of animal research and now that they are, you are despairing. If you have nothing to hide, let the public see what kind of horrors you commit.

  4. The suffering of humans is more important (otherwise there would not be the moral justification). I think researchers try hard to open up their work, however there are many groups who have shown that all they will do is twist it – providing snap shot images without context.

    Furthermore, your assertion of horrors is unfounded, and based on one or two YouTube videos you have seen. Have you been in a lab? I know I have,

  5. So you’re position is that human beings are a superior kind of being, therefore, any horrible thing done to a lesser being is A-OKAY? I heard that kind of talk before, I think it was at the Nuremburg Trials.

    And tell me, Tom, how do you provide context to the pictures of Brutches the ape or the cats at Madison in a way that makes them acceptable? Or the monkeys at UCLA? Or the dogs at Huntingdon? I suppose you could make the same arguments about photos of death camp inmates..sure it looks bad…but wait, there’s a simple explanation.

    Really those horrors that can be read about by simply searching the research papers of your fellow vivisectors. If you are in a lab and saw those atrocities and didn’t feel sick to your stomach at the suffering, you are beyond help.

  6. I have a real problem believing that just because a living creature is not human means that I can do whatever I want with it. No amount of philosophizing and Enlightenment thinking can convince me that I should look the other way while innocent creatures are being tormented. And what happens to most of the animals after your experiments even when they are anaesthetised? And how do you know they are not terrified, and at a point of breaking by the things you inflict on them? Can they tell you what they are feeling? or is that why you like experimenting on them, preciously because they can’t tell you what they are thinking or feeling.

    Do you ever ask yourself if what you are doing is really justified or moral?

    I think of all the animals who have had their offspring killed, and all of the offspring who have lost brothers and sisters and parents to these atrocities. i am moved to tears just thinking about it.

    Of course you scientists don’t have a care in the world about that, you cannot for a minute empathize with their suffering or their plight, or put yourself in their situation.

    Do you ever think of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” I guess not. That is probably quite an alien concept.

    My heart breaks for all of the animals killed and brutalized by vivisection. That this evil goes on everyday is unspeakably awful to realize.

    If my comment is sickening, what do you think I think of all the things vivisectors do?

    I am sorry for you that you get so defensive you cannot for a minute let yourself consider it may be wrong.

    • If no amount of enlightenment can make you think otherwise then I’m afraid we are at an impasse, but I shall not be the one with the problem of continuing to support such practises by continuing to take medications. Nonetheless you make a few statements that lack philosophical sense:
      “innocent creatures” – what does this mean? You can’t have innocent animals unless you have guilty ones – it simply doesn’t make sense. Would you describe a bacteria, or a rock, as guilty or innocent? No!! Even babies are not guilty or innocent of a crime – they don’t have the capacity to tell the difference and are therefore removed from the whole concept of guilt and innocence.
      Most animals will eventually be euthanised in order that they can be further studied. Occasionally, usually with pet animals, they may be adopted. In such cases, it is usually be technicians – however to prevent animal suffering and to do further studies (necropsy) the animal is usually euthanised.

      Animal veterinarians are on hand in labs and are trained to tell when an animal is suffering (as are the animal lab technicians). However, be wary of anthropomorphising animals by attributing them the same thought processes as you or I have.

      I do stop and ask myself if defending animal research is moral. We should all do it in all walks of life. I believe it is. I have always come to that conclusion.

      Scientists do empathise with both animals and humans, which is why they do what they do while taking all precautions to minimise suffering.

      The “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” comment is particularly interesting. It is a very human idea. It relies on a high level of intelligent empathy – the ability to consider others position and how your situation may influence their future actions. This is a human ability. Not an animal one. It is the same law that says we do all that we can to help improve the lives of others because we wish them to do the same for us – that is the heart of continuing lifesaving research.

      Every second several people die of malaria in a far away country. I do not believe on turning our back on them.

  7. Well I tried. I am only slightly comforted by the fact that some people read this and maybe it caused some doubt. We survived on this Earth thousands of years without all of the medical “advances” vivisection created, and we could survive several thousand more without them.

    Animal technicians who work in vivisection centers have a vested interest in keeping the process going, so I have considerable doubt that they really care and/or take animal suffering seriously.

    So you ask yourself those questions, and still believe it is ok? I am truly saddened by that.

    I am also sorry that you cannot think for a second about the concept of a human going about their daily affairs being kidnapped and have a Draze test done on them, or having electrodes stuck into their brain – without consent – and apply this to animals.That is how I understand animal experimentation. It’s hard to get around it.

    What context can you give those “shock” photos to make them OK?

    No one is to blame for malaria.

    • By your logic, if I see a child drowning in a lake, I should do nothing as “we survived on this Earth thousands of years” without saving every drowning child. To ignore that child is to say “I could do something about this, but I won’t”. Shocking right?

      Well, we can develop treatments for malaria, cancer etc. So to scientists there are hundreds of “drowning children” out there, and they are not willing to ignore them, but feel morally compelled to do something to help them.

      Also, before you judge the motives of those who work for animal welfare in labs, perhaps you should read one of their accounts:

      http://speakingofresearch.com/2013/01/21/why-i-am-a-laboratory-animal-veterinarian/

    • It’s clear by your comments that you have never actually spoken to anyone working in a lab or have ever actually been to one. You’re views are shaped by what others have wanted you to think and feel. You have no concept of what the animal technicians do or how they feel about their work. You just make uninformed judgments based on your own preconceived ideas. All of your statements start with something like, “I can not imagine” which shows you don’t actually know. You’re just assuming because you don’t want to actually find out the truth. It might not agree with your already decided concepts.

  8. If there is justice in this world, one day you people will realize what you are.

    • Russia aside (They’re animal welfare laws are not exactly tip top), NASA cancelled the radiation experiments on monkeys – they did not go ahead.

  9. Vivisectionists have to a special kind of soulless human being to be blind to the suffering they cause. I pray that one day God shows you more mercy then you have ever shown these poor creatures. God bless them, and not you. I hope you wake up to your evil.

    • You never answered any of my questions. Why is that? I hope that someday you’ll actually make the effort to visit a lab so you can see for yourself how ignorant many of your statements have been,
      .