The need for your research to be discovered by the intended audience has shifted beyond simply getting the knowledge of your findings out to people. Now, the Digital Era has changed what impact means for the scholar in ways that affect your entire reputation and ability to fasttrack your career.
Today’s scholarly ratings rely on data obtained beyond having the most informative paper. Instead, everything you publish must be optimized clearly in order for the research you worked so hard on to be able to be accessed by as many readers as possible. To do so, you will have to employ digital strategies as you prepare your work for publication.
Why Your Research Has to be Optimized
Whether you agree with it or not, the fact is that search engines like Google are the default way for people to find answers to their questions, including what research to use to find authoritative information. Search engine companies like Google and Edge have maximized the ability to find legitimate sources of data by compiling algorithmic formulas that web crawlers use to determine which sites and articles are what the searcher is looking for.
To do so, anything on the internet gives the web crawlers something called metadata, or a collection of small pieces of a puzzle the user hands over, usually without knowing it, that is collected in Big Data compilations, waiting for the right time to be used.
Automated metadata is collected in quantitative measures, though, which means the web crawlers don’t look to see if you really know what you’re talking about. They look for things like keywords, titles, and file names, as well as the type of data trending, authors and publications that are recently referenced, and other numerical outputs. To be found, you have to have these things in your work, thus the methods of optimization.
Optimizing Your Paper Prior to Publication
Making a better impact stems from using the information obtained by the data collected so that you can see what works and what doesn’t. Why reinvent the wheel when you can use smart information to change your keywords and title just a bit to maximize its impact and ability to be found by web crawlers?
To maximize the opportunities for your research findings to be discovered, use these strategies:
● Select keywords to go alongside your published article when you submit it. These keywords are used to index your work on search engines so that others can find your article over the many others with similar content and headings. Using keywords increases your online presence and ability to have more citations for your work. When you choose your keywords, think about how you yourself would search for an article with the content you have in your paper. Which keywords are relevant to the information you offer? Create a short list and then narrow it down to those that are general enough to be used by the average person you’d want as a reader but specific enough to bring them to your page.
● Clarify your title and your abstract well enough that they show exactly what’s in your paper. Your keywords can be included in both the title and the abstract, but your title should be no longer than 10 - 20 words. The abstract is often the main part that is indexed by web crawlers, so you want to make sure it’s optimized fully.
● Use headers for your sections and alt text for your images. Headers are scanned by the web crawlers to check for authority. Use keywords in those headers to increase your chances of being spotted. Alt text works as a label for your images in the same ways. They’re the keywords that tell the search engine what the pictures are supposed to be relevant to, helping your work get seen.
These strategies will quickly improve your online presence, enabling your research to be discovered, then cited, then considered impactful for your enhanced scholarly reputation.