Academic Search Engine Optimization: ASEO
A well executed search engine optimization strategy is vital to ensure that all of your research content is visible and ranks high in the results displayed by popular search engines such as Google and Google Scholar.
As with any other kind of ranked search results, articles displayed in the top positions are more likely to be read and cited. Academic Search Engine Optimization (ASEO) ensures not only that your articles are found (crawled) and indexed, but it also has a strong effect on the order the articles are displayed. While search engine optimization (SEO) is mostly associated with websites and webpages, scientific articles can be optimized as well.
Tips for Academic Search Engine Optimization | ASEO
Your title should be short, descriptive, and incorporate a keyword or phrase related to your topic. Make sure to include 1 or 2 keywords related to your topic and ensure they appear within the first 65 characters of the title. Consider moving a keyword or phrase from your title to the first or second sentence of your abstract.
Make sure to carefully craft your abstract using the appropriate keywords and phrases from your article. Think of a 2–4 word phrase that a researcher might search for when looking to find your article. You can also look up specific popular keywords on Google Trends or the Google Adwords keywords tool.
Only the first two sentences normally display in search engine results so make sure to place essential phrases and keywords at the beginning of your abstract. Also, make sure to repeat your keywords and phrases 3–6 times throughout the abstract but in a natural, contextual way. Always remember that the purpose of your abstract is to clearly and concisely express the key points of your research, BUT don’t go overboard with repetition as search engines may un-index your article as a result.
Make sure you use appropriate and relevant keywords throughout your article. You should provide at least 5 keywords or phrases in the keywords field and always include the keywords and phrases you used in your abstract. You also want to provide additional relevant keywords and synonyms for those keywords as they relate to your article. Keywords are not only important for SEO, they are also used by abstracting and indexing services as a mechanism to tag research content.
- Include keywords in your title (1–2 words), abstract (3–6 words), and keyword fields (5–7 words). Remember, keywords may be phrases as well as single words
- Incorporate keywords in your headings. Headings can tip off search engines as to the structure and content of your article.
- Use keywords that are consistent with your topic. If you’re unsure, you can check the words used in major papers on similar topics.
- Let your keywords flow naturally and in the right context.Search engines tend to dislike a lot of keyword repetition (known as keyword stuffing), and may “un-index” your article as a result.
- Stay consistent when it comes to authors’ names and initials. Use them in same manner throughout the paper and make sure you’re referring to them in the same way they’ve been referred to in other online publications.
- Make sure you use headings for the various sections of your article to tip off search engines as to the structure and content of your article. Remember to incorporate your keywords and phrases in these headings wherever it’s appropriate.
- Remember to cite your own and your co-authors previous work. This is very important as these citations of your past work influence how search engines will rank your current and future work.
The more in-bound links to your article, the more search engines such as Google will value and highlight your content. To do this, you want to make sure you link to your article across all your social media, networking, and institutional sites. Also, the more links that come from respected individuals and trusted sites the more powerful the effect. You will also want to encourage your colleagues to link to your article but don’t forget to do the same for them!
Google Scholar and Other Search Engines: How They Work
- An article is ranked by its relevance to the terms being searched. The number of search terms that appear in the article itself is crucial in determining this factor. Also, a search term used in the title will be weighted more heavily than a search term that appears in the abstract. Another factor is the length of title, with shorter titles preferred over longer ones.
- The specific citations you have used in your paper play a large role in your article’s ranking. Citing articles that have high rank will give your article a higher rank.
- Keep in mind that author and publication names in citations matter. Google Scholar favors “big names” in its searching system. “Big names” are people and publications that possess extensive expertise in a certain area.
- Google Scholar is known as an “invitation-based search engine” since it only indexes articles coming from trusted sources. Even if Google Scholar has received the pdf file of an article, it will still search the web for the different versions of the same file and then bundle them together in terms of indexing and ranking.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Maastrich University. Increase your research impact. MD Maastrich, The Netherlands: Author. Available at:
authorservices.wiley.com. Search engine optimization for authors. Wessex, UK: John Wiley and Sons. Available at: