How to Optimize your Article Title for Search Engines:
Optimizing your article for search engines will greatly increase its chance of being viewed and/or cited in another work. Citation indexes already figure in many disciplines as a measure of an article’s value; there is evidence that article views/downloads are also beginning to count in the same way. The crucial area for optimization is your article’s abstract and title, which are freely available to all online. These guidelines will help you to maximize the web-friendliness of the most public part of your article.
Step 1: Construct a clear, descriptive title. In search engine terms, the title of your article is the most interesting element. The search engine assumes that the title contains all of the important words that define the topic of the piece and thus weights words appearing there most heavily. This is why it is crucial for you to choose a clear, accurate title. Think about the search terms that readers are likely to use when looking for articles on the same topic as yours, and help them by constructing your title to include those terms. In the days of print-only journals, it mattered far less if, for example, an author published an article on body dysmorphic disorder called, The Broken Mirror in a psychology journal because the context was clear. On the web, people search on “mirror” when they want an item for their house.
Help readers find your research. The ability of other researchers to locate your article is related to the title and subtitle you select. This is because search engines such as Google are very literal. If you want your article to appear in relevant search results, use the words in your title and subtitle that are likely to correspond to the terms researchers are likely to use.
- Clear descriptive subtitles are very important.
- Reiterate key phrases from your title or subtitle in your abstract and keywords.
- Think about the words that a wide range of researchers, not just anthropological readers, might use. In the example below the lingual group is Ewe but area studies experts, historians and sociologists might be more likely to use “Ghana” and “Africa” in searching for the literature.
- Focus on three or four key concepts or key phrases and use these multiple times.
Example of an article that appears on first page of Google results for Ewe+Ghana+identity
Title: On Embodied Consciousness in Anlo-Ewe Worlds
Subtitle: A Cultural Phenomenology of the Fetal Position
Keywords: Africa Ghana Anlo-Ewe cultural identity cultural memory embodiment phenomenology
First Paragraph: Anlo-Ewe generally refers to a dialect of the Ewe language spoken in southeastern Ghana, with Anlo designating an ethnolinguistic group whose homeland is on a littoral between the Keta Lagoon and the sea. Etymologically, however, Anlo derives from the Ewe term ‘nlo’ which means rolling up or folding into oneself. This article describes moments
Example of an article that is hard for online researchers to find
Title: The Signifying Crab
First Paragraph: Domestic slavery in West Africa was practiced differently by different peoples in different historical periods, but it is well-known that many domestic slaves married into their “master’s” families and inherited property. It was extremely impolite (and illegal in some places) to even say a person was a slave or had been born of slave parents. Through time, some slaves became relatively wealthy, and for all practical purposes their offspring were no different than those of nonslave parents. Today numerous Ewe, who inhabit portions of southwestern Ghana, southern Togo, and southwestern Benin, say one or more of their great-grandparents was a “bought person.”