This article is part of the How-to… series brought to by Emerald Group Publishing.
As an author, you can dramatically improve the chances of your article being downloaded once it’s online, before you even submit it! There are three easy steps you can take to ensure it enjoys high usage.
1. Choose a descriptive title
- Write a title for your article which includes the most important keywords and demonstrates the significance of your research
- Use a title that is unambiguous and clear in both its meaning and its syntax.
- “A framework for transportation decision making in an integrated supply chain”
- “Organizational change and development: the efficacy of transformational leadership and training”
- “Consumer perception of organic food production and farm animal welfare”
These titles make sense as sentences; they introduce the content of the article and contain the main words and phrases that readers will search on.
2. Use appropriate keywords
- Researchers search using key phrases. What would you search for? Think of every likely angle that someone would search on, and make sure that the angle is covered with a keyword
- Look at the keywords of other articles that are similar to your paper – do they give good results? Try searching using those keywords
- Use keywords that might not appear in your title, for example the wider subject areas, the sub-discipline, the methodology used
- Keywords don’t need to be single words, they can also be phrases: people search on ‘business ethics’, not only on ‘business’
- Don’t use jargon or invented keywords that people probably won’t search on – keywords should reflect a collective understanding of the subject area
- Use synonyms to ensure your article comes back in the results for a wider range of search terms
- Think of the international aspect, for example ‘real estate’ is relevant to a US audience, but ‘property market’ or ‘housing market’ are terms more widely used in the UK
- Include all variants of a keyword e.g. ‘CSR’ and ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’.
Have a look at Google’s AdWords keyword tool to find the keywords that are the most popular in searches. However, just because a keyword is popular, doesn’t mean it is right for your article. Only use relevant keywords to ensure a researcher isn’t misled.
3. Write an informative abstract
The abstract is the main place that a search engine will take the data from which determine where your article should place in its results:
- Including the keywords and key phrases in your abstract is one of the best ways to optimize your article on search engines. It allows Google to assess your article for its relevance to certain search terms
- After you’ve ensured you have chosen the best keywords and you have deployed them in the right ways in your abstract and title, make sure you use them throughout your article: consider using them in subheadings, within the titles of figures and tables, as well as in the main body of the text. Search engines can also look at these places
- Consider the first sentence of your abstract – this is visible within the Google search results, therefore your first sentence should get straight to the points and include strong keywords. See the example below:
The abstract is also the shop window for your research:
- As well thinking about Google’s perspective, remember that abstracts are normally free to read online and will attract a reader to click through to the full article
- Consider a video abstract to complement your paper and key your key messages across.
Remember: Don’t overuse keywords and damage the integrity of your research. You should still write naturally. Google can detect abuse of this so there’s no need to include a certain keyword more than once or twice in your title or more than three times in your abstract.
Photo: Blue diamond gallery