Background The aims of the study are first to evaluate the most sought keywords in Google related to ankylosing spondylitis in 2013 in France and to compare it with those of other rheumatic diseases and to examine the scope and nature of corresponding websites. Secondly, to assess the evolution of search from 2004 to 2014 looking at the impact of 2010 AS awareness campaign and the seasonality of searches.
Methods Google AdWords Keywords is a free online program providing data related to search term. We entered 46 keywords related to AS and the program yielded a large set of related queries (n=573). Terms receiving at least 500 global monthly hits were retained (n=5). To compare volume of AS searches with other rheumatic diseases, we did the same as above with several rheumatic diseases. To AS, we analyzed content from all websites that appeared on the first page of search results for each keyword selected. In total, 50 websites were examined. Google Trends is a Web-based tool that analyzes all Google Web site searches. For a given search term, Google Trends computes how many searches have been done relative to the total number of searches done on Google. We examined search trends for the French terms of “ankylosing spondylitis” to assess the impact of the only French national AS awareness campaign. To investigate the seasonality of AS, we utilized monthly data between January 2004 and January 2014 of “ankylosing spondylitis” to reflect months of diagnosis and keywords related to “inflammatory back pain”, to capture more individuals with AS who may not have sought medical care or not have been given a diagnosis.
Results In 2013, the five most popular AS related searching keywords were french words for: spondylarthritis (22200/month), ankylosing spondylitis (14800), HLA B27 (4400), spondylarthropathy (2400) and ankylosing spondylitis treatment (880). The visible websites from these searches were sites of information for general population, patients associations and academic/hospital centers. The most frequent searches about rheumatologic topics were relative to back pain (350790/month), osteoarthritis (107760) and fibromyalgia (71580). The pattern of Internet search volume for AS is stable from 2004 to 2014, but we observed a peak corresponding to the french AS awareness from 23 May to 27 June 2010. The volume of searches was 2,5 times more important as usual but only on the period of the campaign, without remnant effect.
In ten years analysis, keyword “ankylosing spondylitis” is less used in summer months, and using keywords related to inflammatory back pain is more frequent in october, november and december, this may be a reflect of seasonality of AS symptoms.
Conclusions Our study is the first to investigate Google using of rheumatic population. We showed which sites are proposed when using AS keywords related to better understand what our AS patients could read on internet. Google is a concrete tool to evaluate awareness campain in rheumatology.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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