If you want to make your academic research paper successful in the Digital Age, you have to learn the tricks of the trade. Unfortunately, this often has less to do with the incredible content you’re including in your research than it does the actual search engine optimization specifics you’re using when you publish your paper.
The switch to digital publishing in the 21st century has been both a positive change and a challenge for researchers. Most papers are currently available in digital format of some type, whether it’s archived in a repository somewhere, ready for purchase through a legitimate journal, or published on an open-access forum. Whatever the medium is for your electronic publication, you must make sure you have optimized your work for SEO purposes in order for it to be seen by an audience looking for the topic. Although the requirements change frequently depending on the search engine’s formula, there are some basic tools you can use to optimize your academic research paper that are consistently required.
Why is it Important to Get Your Paper Seen?
As an academic scholar, the ‘publish or perish’ idea is constantly hanging over your head. The problem is that it’s not always enough just to get published. Your work has to be considered impactful in order for you to get better career roles, be approved for more funding sources, and be seen as an expert in your field.
Of course, the first way to do this is to engage in impactful research and demonstrate your knowledge within the paper you write. But for that paper to be seen by a wide audience, you must be competitive with how you publish your work. Paper journals have a limited circulation and most people today are turning to electronic searches when they want to find information on a topic. Unless your work is in a very specialized field, there are likely hundreds or even thousands of other researchers publishing information on the same topic, and you need to demonstrate your authority by using SEO tactics in order to compete with global scholars.
To do this, you have to basically market your journal article to increase readership and overall citations. Your article can become more visible academically when you optimize your articles, and by doing this thoroughly before you submit your work for publication, you can ensure that your work will be indexed, properly archived, and accessible for long-term use.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a regular practice used today by anyone with a digital presence who wants to get a higher ranking on sites like Google, Yahoo, or Bing search engines. With a higher ranking, your article or product demonstrates greater authority to any user searching for something specific.
Each search engine uses a different algorithm to determine how that authority is formulated. Some of the most common methods of optimization to show up in the algorithm include factors such as keywords, keyphrases, metadata, headers, title, and alt text with images.
How to Optimize Your Paper
Optimizing your paper for the maximum impact is nothing more than another science, and you’ve already mastered many. Learning the science behind search engine algorithms is not difficult, although it is always evolving and changing. The basics stay pretty much the same because they’re simply measures that demonstrate authority, so they make logical sense and are simple to implement as you are putting together your academic paper. To get higher ratings on SEO searched and get your published work to a wide audience, keep these factors in mind:
● Make your title short and succinct. Use 55 characters or less to tell the audience, and the web crawlers, what is in your article, using at least one major keyword.
● Use metadata to your best advantage. Metadata is the short snippet of your paper that shows up under your title when your paper appears in a search result. If you haven’t specifically included a section in this area, there will still be a default text. It’s usually the first few lines of your paper, but you can change this to catch the reader’s attention.
● Include alt text in your images. Pictures and graphics are uploaded alongside your text, and there is usually a section called ‘alt text’ that goes with them that serves like a keyword search. If you use this little box to label your images and graphics with keywords that users will be likely to input in a search box, they work as a better way to demonstrate your authority to web crawlers.
● Always use headers to designate separate sections, not font changes, if you want the web crawlers to read your paper optimally.
By making sure you include these small adjustments on your paper and writing a knowledgeable resource that others will be able to use for their own citations, you can maximimize the impact your work will have on the audience.