Is Internet-Based Weight Loss Info Accurate?

By Ryan Halvorson
Jan 14, 2015

With the Internet offering easy access to an abundance of information, many fitness and nutrition-minded individuals go online to seek guidance. However, researchers warn that the top websites to come up after a search may not offer the best-quality content.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health (2014; 104 [10], 1971–78), aimed to analyze the quality
of content that users come across when searching the Internet for fitness and nutrition content. After inputting terms associated with weight loss, the investigators scored 103 websites based on content quality, accessibility and author credentials. They found that only 5% of the websites examined scored higher than an 8—the highest score possible was 12—on nutrition, physical activity and behavior
information. Commercial and news media sites offered the lowest-quality content, while medical, government, university and blog sites garnered the best scores.

The researchers also found that sites with the best content were typically not the first to come up, possibly because they lacked the elements needed for greater searchability.

“The weight loss information that people were likely to access online was often of substandard quality because most comprehensive and quality websites ranked too low in search results,” they concluded.

Want to make your website more searchable? Tweak it with these quick tips from Ashley Ray, owner of Emergent Social Solutions, a social media marketing company based in Richmond, Virginia:

  • Include plenty of references to the city
    or locale you’re in.
  • Set up a Google+ site, and post to it regularly.
  • Ask clients and customers to rate and review your business on Google Reviews.
  • Pay attention to title tags, which define pages on your website and appear in the title bar at the very top of your browser window. Title tags make it easier for Google to find you. Learn more about what they are and how to use them with the videos located here: www.thirdmarblemarketing.com/search-engine-optimization-richmond-va/google-seo-help/.
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Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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