If you think only websites and blog posts can be optimized for search engines, then you are absolutely wrong!
Even research papers put up on the internet can be optimized for search engines. And the process of doing so is known as Academic Search Engine Optimization (ASEO).
Research papers on the internet are extremely valuable resources, and they hold immense value. If your research papers rank in the top positions of Google and Google Scholar, then you are bound to get a lot of attention.
You’ll be able to build your personal brand as an expert authority in your area of expertise. Many new opportunities will come your way, as well.
If you want your research papers to gain the kind of attention and visibility they deserve, then ASEO is something that you must focus on.
If you want to learn more about ASEO techniques and strategies, then read on.
What is ASEO?
ASEO or Academic Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your research papers and academic articles to increase their visibility on search engines.
ASEO can increase your research papers’ rankings on both the usual search engines such as Google and academic search engines, such as Google Scholar.
Most of the principles and techniques used for ASEO align with those of SEO. But, there are certain differences between how articles are indexed on Google Scholar and how blog content is indexed on Google.
In this guide, you’ll get to understand the SEO strategies that are specific to research papers.
Factors that Affect your Academic Search Engine Rankings
First of all, let’s understand the ranking factors that affect the visibility of research articles on search engines. Here’s a brief list:
- Keyword density: The keyphrase used for searching on search engines are called keywords. The more times your keywords appear throughout the research paper, the better will be your rankings.
- The relevance of the publication: While indexing, search engines also consider the relevance of your publication. If your publication’s title consists of the target keywords, then your paper will rank higher.
- The number of citations: Citations are also essential for search engine rankings. The more citations your research paper has on the internet, the better will be your search engine rankings.
- The number of backlinks from the web: Though citations are good, citations with links to your article work even better. Even links from other non-academic sites on the internet contribute to increased rankings for your research paper.
- The credibility of the content: The quality of your content, the quality of the sources you have cited, and the overall credibility of your research paper also count.
- The author’s expertise: If the author has numerous research articles published in the same area of expertise, this will help gain more search engine visibility for the author’s articles.
- Images and graphs: High-quality images and graphs that are machine-readable will also improve your research article’s search engine rankings.
7 Steps to Implement ASEO for your Research Paper’s Visibility
1. Find the Right Keywords for your Research Paper
Finding the right keywords is as important in ASEO as it is in the case of SEO. Optimizing your research paper for the right keywords will make a world of difference to your online visibility. For that, you should find the right keywords.
You can start by using Google autosuggest. Just start typing the main topic of your research paper, and Google will suggest keywords that people are using to search for the topic.
You can also use free tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension to find the long-tail and short-tail variations of the target keywords for your article.
2. Add an SEO-Friendly Title
The title is one of the most important parts of your research paper that search engines will index. Hence, any words added to your title carry a lot of weight.
You can make your title SEO-friendly by adding your main focus keywords to your title.
Apart from that, you must also ensure that your title is readable and descriptive. When your research paper appears on the search results, the users will open your paper only when the title appeals to them. Hence, give special attention to the title.
3. Optimize your Research Paper for the Keywords
You should add your main keywords and other related long-tail keywords throughout your research article. As mentioned above, keyword density is an important factor for ASEO. Hence this step is the most important.
You should add your focus keyword and its long-tail variations in the following places:
- Headings and subheadings
- Author keywords
- Body content
- Tables, graphs, and images
Ensure that your keywords occur and flow naturally with your research paper. Do not stuff keywords, as this may hurt your paper’s search engine rankings.
4. Optimize Figures, Tables, and Graphs
Any tables and graphical abstracts you add to your research paper also contribute to its search engine rankings.
You can optimize your article’s visual elements by ensuring that they are in a machine-readable format, such as vector graphics. This will ensure that your search engines index your graphs and images also. This, in turn, will improve your rankings even more.
5. Cite High-Quality Sources
The credibility of your research paper is also determined by the sources that you cite. Just as outbound links to high authority sources act as a positive ranking signal for the blog posts on the web, the same goes for academic articles as well.
So, refer to and cite high-quality, reliable, and relevant sources in your research paper.
6. Promote your Research Article on Social Media Platforms
Once your article is published, you should actively try to promote it on all possible social media platforms. You can use channels that are relevant to your audience.
This way, your research paper will get shared more, and this will also help to increase your research article’s visibility and rankings.
Finally, you should also focus on building backlinks to your research paper. Backlinks are nothing but inbound links coming from other domains on the web to your research article. There are many ways to get backlinks for your research paper.
You can reach out to other researchers who have cited your paper but haven’t added a link to it. You can ask them to link to your article.
You can also reach out to high authority websites in your niche and ask them for a link if your article helps their audience in some way.
You can guest post on high authority sites and link to your research paper from these guest posts. This will also help you gain more high-quality backlinks, thus increasing your rankings.
We can summarize this article by saying that if you want to improve your research papers’ visibility, then ASEO is one of the best ways to go about it. Most researchers do not actively work on it. Hence, if you start taking action now, you’ll get an edge over others.
So, start working on your research papers’ ASEO right away and watch your visibility on the internet improve.
Fabricio Pamplona is the founder of Mind the Graph – a tool used by over 400K users in 60 countries. He has a Ph.D. and solid scientific background in Psychopharmacology and experience as a Guest Researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry (Germany) and Researcher in D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR, Brazil). Fabricio holds over 2500 citations in Google Scholar. He has 10 years of experience in small innovative businesses, with relevant experience in product design and innovation management. Connect with him on LinkedIn – Fabricio Pamplona.