Search Engine Optimization: How to Attract More Visitors to Your Repository
What is “Search Engine Optimization”?Generally speaking, “Search Engine
Optimization” (SEO) focuses on getting a website’s content to rank
highly in search engines, such as Google™ and Bing™. Search engines are a
major source of traffic to Digital Commons repositories, so getting
your repository content listed at the top of the search results is
guaranteed to have a significant impact on its visibility and
SEO & Digital Commons: Setting You Up for SuccessHaving a Digital Commons repository automatically puts you ahead in the SEO game:
- Bepress works closely with specialized search engines such as Google
Scholar™ to ensure widespread and accurate coverage of Digital Commons
- Sitemap XML files are automatically generated, providing a road map
for search engines to find all the repository content. When new content
is posted, Google is automatically notified, further increasing the rate
at which new content gets discovered.
- Digital Commons page titles are structured to be unique across the
repository as well as informative—using terms to help search engines and
individuals better assess page relevance. (Duplicate or non-informative
titles can hinder the accurate and efficient indexing of content.)
- Digital Commons repositories are kept up and running efficiently, minimizing search engine “crawl” errors.
- SEO is not a one-time upgrade. For every release, bepress considers
enhancements to keep all Digital Commons repositories current with the
evolving recommendations of major search engines.
What Can I Do to Improve Ranking?SEO is a complex field to navigate.
Bepress can steer you toward a number of best practices, highlighted in
the following pages, which you can follow to influence your repository’s
Link to Repository ContentGetting more links to your repository
from quality sites is probably your most powerful SEO tool. Search
engines count the number of websites that link to yours, placing more
value on links deemed to be from very reputable or popular sites.
Who links to your repository now? You
can explore inbound links to your site using Google Analytics™, which
is implemented for each Digital Commons repository (read more in An Overview of Digital Commons Reports). As
interesting as it is to see which sites link to yours, it’s also useful
to discover which sites don’t link to your site but should.
What you can do: Start a campaign to get more links!
- Link to the repository from your institution’s homepage, the library’s website, and other relevant pages.
For example, department web pages should link to any corresponding
publications (series, book galleries, etc.) in the repository.
- Add RSS feeds from your repository to the library or a departmental website.
- Encourage faculty to link to their articles from personal websites, blogs, related societies’ web pages, and social media sites like Facebook.
- Link to repository content from related Wikipedia pages,
as appropriate. Use the “edit” links on the Wikipedia page to suggest
your repository content as a reference or further reading. And, use the
Wikipedia citation templates to enter an article as a citation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_templates.
- Web Directories:
Web directories are human-edited, categorical listings of websites.
Search engines consider a listing here as a positive rating factor.
Consider submitting your repository to Open Directory Project (DMOZ),
your journals to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and
subject-based content to relevant directories as you discover them.
Link Formatting GuidelinesThe text of a link should be descriptive:
- Use the title of an article, or include highly relevant keywords
- Include the trailing “/” and exclude “index.html” or other extra material
Example: <a href=”http://digitalcommons.bepress.com/”>Digital Commons</a>
- Avoid creating links with uninformative text, such as “click here.”
Use Descriptive Page TitlesIn most browsers, page titles appear
at the top of the window when viewing a page. Search engines use these
titles to help evaluate the page’s subject matter, and typically display
the titles prominently as links on the results page. So a well-worded
page title helps potential visitors discover your content via searches,
and increases the likelihood that they will select it from the list of
What you can do:
- Review the page title for the
repository homepage and any publication homepages. If a title is too
generic to be meaningful to search engines or potential visitors, use
the Descriptive Page Title field on the Configuration screen to improve results.
- Use relevant keywords and popular
search terms, and limit titles to less than 150 characters (only the
first 70 characters or so are displayed on the search results page).
Example Descriptive Page Title: Green: The Economics of Recycling Journal
Improve Search Results SnippetsDo a search in Google and look at the
results page. Below each link is a brief description of the found page,
called a “snippet.” These snippets are important because readers rely
on them to make decisions about which links to click.
Search engines get snippets in a
number of ways: from an Open Directory entry that stores information
about each site, from a meta-description tag in the HTML source of the
page, or culled from the information on the page itself.
What you can do:
- If you are unsatisfied with snippets used for the repository, communities, or publications, suggest your own meta-description using the Search Description option
on the Configuration screen. The description should accurately
represent the content and “market” it via the search results page. Only
the first 155 characters or so appear in the snippet, so short phrases
can be more effective than full sentences in some cases. Note that the
meta-description tag is just a suggestion; there is no guarantee it will
- Make sure all posted documents have an abstract
because Digital Commons articles are automatically set up to use the
abstract as the meta-description. Enter a short description, including
file type for images and media files. Because abstracts also appear on
the article’s web page, be sure to use terms from the title and full
text to help articles rank higher in related queries.
numerous articles are missing abstracts, it’s worth the time to add
abstracts to them. Refer to our batch upload and revision information if there are numerous articles to revise. Please contact bepress Consulting Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (510) 665-1200, option 2 with any questions about batch revision.
Best Practices for Repository Upkeep
Keep the Repository “Alive”!Large, active repositories can convey
more perceived authority to search engines, thereby boosting the
ranking for all of the repository contents. This generates more traffic,
which also continues to improve ranking. It’s a positive cycle—so keep posting content!
Find creative ways to update your homepage and showcase repository content.
For example, feature a journal of the month, an upcoming event, or a
special gallery on your homepage to give the featured content a boost.
Choose Publication Names and URLs with SEO in MindPages tend to rank higher when the
URLs contain the search terms. Also, most people examine the URL in
search results, to help decide whether to click a link. So, when
creating new publications, choose descriptive terms for the URL, such as “ecology” instead of “ecol.”
Monitor Your EffortsUsing tools like Google Analytics™
and Digital Commons reports, you can monitor your repository’s
performance. See the resources below for more information. You may also
schedule an annual review of these elements with your IR team.
Search Engine Optimization: How to Attract More Visitors to Your Repository - bepress