Help Readers Find Your Article
The importance of search enginesGoogle and Google Scholar are the principal ways in which people will
find your article online today. Between them they account for 60% of
referral traffic to SAGE Journals Online. The search engine is now the
first port of call for researchers and it is of paramount importance
your article can be found easily in search engine results.
By taking some simple steps to optimize your article for search
engines it will help your work to be discovered, then read, used and
cited in others’ work. This helps with the ISI Impact Factor of the
journal your article is published in and will further raise the
visibility of your article.
SAGE already undertakes many measures to ensure SAGE journals are
indexed in the all the major search engines. There are over 100 factors
that a search engine will look at before deciding how to rank your
article in their search results, but the starting point is the content
that you write.
What do search engines look at?Today’s search engines use secret complex mathematical algorithms
that change every month to keep their search results as accurate as
possible. They take into account over 100 different factors and do not
disclose the weighting or importance of each. Below are just a few of
the elements considered today by search engines:
So what can you do to help?Repeat key phrases in the abstract while writing naturally
Search engines look at the abstract page of your article, which is
free for everyone to look at on SAGE Journals Online. Your abstract is
not only the sales pitch that tempts the researcher into reading your
article, it’s also the information that gives a search engine all the
data it needs to be able to find your article and rank it in the search
Try to repeat the key descriptive phrases. Try to imagine the phrases
a researcher might search for if your paper would be of interest to
them. Google can detect abuse of this so don’t overplay it, focus on
just 3 or 4 key phrases in your abstract.
Get the title right
Ensure the main key phrase for your topic is in your article title.
Make sure your title is descriptive, unambiguous, accurate and reads
well. Remember people search on key phrases not just single words eg
‘women’s health’ not ‘health’.
Choose your key words carefully
Include your main 3 or 4 key phrases and add in at least 3 or 4
additional key words. Where more than one phrase (or abbreviation) is
often used to describe the same thing, include both/all variants, e.g.
- What key phrases would you give a search engine if you were searching for your own article?
- Write for your audience but bear in mind how search engines work too
- Write a clear title with your main key phrase in it
- Write an abstract and choose keywords re-iterating 3 or 4 key phrases
- Keep it natural - Google will un-index your article if you go overboard on the repetition
giving your article to appear high up in the search results rankings. This is vitally important as researchers will rarely investigate beyond the first 20 results from Google.
Example of an article optimized for search enginesThis article comes out top in Google Scholar on a search of
‘depression folic acid’. These are words that researchers are likely to
search on. These search terms are highlighted below so you can see the
patterns of repeated phrases that Google looks at.
MRC Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory, Epsom, Surrey, UK,
Pharmacist, Helsingborg, Sweden
a low plasma and particularly red cell folate, but also of low vitamin
B12 status. Both low folate and low vitamin B12 status have been found
in studies of depression: patients, and an association between depression:
and low levels of the two vitamins is found in studies of the general
population. Low plasma or serum folate has also been found in patients
with recurrent mood disorders treated by lithium. A link between depression:
and low folate has similalrly been found in patients with alcoholism.
It is interesting to note that Hong Kong and Taiwan populations with
traditional Chinese diets (rich in folate), including patients with
major depression:, have high serum folate concentrations. However, these countries have very low life time rates of major depression:. Low folate levels are furthermore linked to a poor response to antidepressants, and treatment with folic acid
is shown to improve response to antidepressants. A recent study also
suggests that high vitamin B12 status may be associated with better
treatment outcome. Folate and vitamin B12 are major determinants of
one-carbon metabolism, in which S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) is formed.
SAM donates methyl groups that are crucial for neurological function.
Increased plasma homocysteine is a functional marker of both folate and
vitamin B12 deficiency. Increased homocysteine levels are found in
depressive patients. In a large population study from Norway increased
plasma homocysteine was associated with increased risk of depression:
but not anxiety. There is now substantial evidence of a common decrease
in serum/red blood cell folate, serum vitamin B12 and an increase in
plasma homocysteine in depression:.
Furthermore, the MTHFR C677T polymorphism that impairs the homocysteine
metabolism is shown to be overrepresented among depressive patients,
which strengthens the association. On the basis of current data, we
suggest that oral doses of both folic acid (800 µg daily) and vitamin B12 (1 mg daily) should be tried to improve treatment outcome in depression.
- Clear and descriptive title including main key terms or phrases.
- Abstract repeats key phrases in a contextually natural way.
- Key terms or phrases repeated in keywords field.
- Many other factors influence ranking but this content is written in a way that gives it the best chance
Example of an article that has not been optimizedThis article could not be found in Google Scholar after searching on a
variety of phrases around the subject of the article, the
representation of youth anti-war protests. The words highlighted below
are the only terms repeated and these are unlikely to help someone
researching this subject find this article via Google.
should play in politics reflects different conceptions of childhood and
adult concerns about loss of authority and political hegemony. Coverage
of demonstrations against the Second Iraq War by the British national
press echoes adult discourse on the nature of childhood and exposes the
limits set on political activity. Analysis of news-text and images
reveals concerns about the political competence of youth, their
susceptibility to manipulation and the requirement for social control.
Approval of youth’s right to protest was often conditional on the cause
- The title is meaningless outside the context of the printed journal
issue. It might appeal to people but it does not appeal to online search
- Title does not include key terms or phrases e.g. ‘youth anti-war protests’
- Abstract does not repeat key phrases used within title or article and presents Google with no patterns to look at.
- Keywords play a reduced role in SEO but never the less they do have
influence. Only two keywords are provided and the article’s key phrases
are not listed.
- Many other factors influence ranking but this content is written in a
way that gives it a very poor chance of being found online through a
Help Readers Find Your Article | SAGE Publications Ltd