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Search Engine Optimization for the Research Librarian, or How Librarians Can Beat Spammers at their own Game Melissa Gasparotto Librarian for African and.

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Presentation on theme: "Search Engine Optimization for the Research Librarian, or How Librarians Can Beat Spammers at their own Game Melissa Gasparotto Librarian for African and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Search Engine Optimization for the Research Librarian, or How Librarians Can Beat Spammers at their own Game Melissa Gasparotto Librarian for African and Latin American Studies, Rutgers University Libraries

2 What is Search Engine Optimization?
A relatively old concept and set of practices that libraries and particularly published faculty repeatedly fail to take advantage of. “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) … is the process of identifying factors in a webpage which would impact search engine accessibility to it and fine-tuning the many elements of a website so it can achieve the highest possible visibility when a search engine responds to a relevant query. Search engine optimization aims at achieving good search engine accessibility for webpages, high visibility in a search engine results, and improvement of the chances the webpages are retrieved.” Zhang and Dimitroff, p. 666. This can apply to journal articles that are put online, as well, whether in a database or institutional repository, or simply an open access journal.

3 SEO, cont. Has gotten a bad name because of unethical spamming practices, but when done properly is simply a set of best practices for website metadata. As Yahoo’s SEO guide says: “Good SEO copywriting makes your page more readable for both search engines and humans”

4 Is SEO appropriate for academia?
Good SEO is about the accessibility of our work and resources. A newer subfield called Academic Search Engine Optimization helps scholars learn how search engines like Google Scholar include and display content in ways that are different from regular search engines. This is of particular utility to librarians. As open access gains credibility, making articles and bibliographies easily findable on the web is essential. Google Scholar is very particular about how it includes content – preparing and displaying your documents with good SEO in mind will help webcrawlers find your work and include it.

5 Case Study: Optimizing the Online Bibliography of US Latina Lesbian History and Culture
Project Goals As in the Rushton, Kelehan and Strong pilot project at SUNY Binghamton, goals for the optimization project included: 1) Increasing the page rank of the bibliography for a targeted set of keywords 2) Increasing the number of search engine referrals 3) Increasing the number of page views

6 Methodology Step 1 Put bibliography on the web and wait for it to be indexed by Google and hover at natural site equilibrium in rankings. Step 2 Select target keyword search strings using keyword analysis tools. Step 3 Measure the placement of bibliography site for each of these searches. Step 4 Optimize site with these target search strings in mind. Step 5 Measure the placement of bibliography site for this series of search strings after a period of time.

7 Step 1: Put Bibliography on the Web
Bibliography put online at free NYU alumni webhosting space: No frills, text only. Did include machine-readable internal linking structure for Table of Contents.


9 Step 2: Selecting target keyword search strings
Knowledge of the field Google Trends Google Insights Keyword Tool Google AdWords Keyword Tool Topicmarks

10 Google Trends

11 Google Insights

12 Google Insights, cont.

13 Google Adwords Keyword Tool

14 Topicmarks

15 Step 3: Measure Search Engine Ranking of Site for Targeted Keywords
3 measurements taken: once at beginning of project, once post-equilibrium/pre-optimization, and once post-optimization The site’s natural ranking equilibrium happens to be very high in the rankings (on first page of Google results) for many of the keyword searches I had chosen for this case study. Therefore, no optimization was necessary for over half of the keywords I chose!

16 Initial site rankings for targeted searches

17 Step 4: Adding Metadata to Site
The following pieces of metadata were added to the site’s html <head> section: <meta name="description" content="Resources for the study of Latina lesbian history and culture. A comprehensive bibliography of published works, archives and audio-visual resources."> This section is the little blurb that displays underneath a listing in a search engine. <meta name="keywords" content="latina lesbian history and culture, lesbian studies, latina lesbian research resources, latino studies, queer studies, gay studies, hispanic american lesbian studies">

18 Site rankings for targeted searches after 6 weeks

19 Initial Results Results following most basic of SEO were so good, little else turns out to be necessary. There are other guidelines and best practices for different kinds of web publications that are important for librarians and scholars to be aware of, however, and some of these could be incorporated in the future: include abstract on page, attach pdf file, etc.

20 Best Practices for Web Publications
Include important subject keywords in your article title, abstract, and html metadata tags. Keep titles relatively short. Assign good metadata to any uploaded PDF files, especially author and paper title names. Use machine-readable vector images. Format article with standard terminology: Introduction, Literature Review, Results, Bibliography, etc. Publish in an open access journal.

21 Best Practices, cont. Upload articles to your institution’s repository, departmental webpage or personal webpage. If putting articles on your personal website, create a separate webpage for each article title and abstract + PDF: Google Scholar will index only 1 citation + abstract per page.

22 Things to Avoid Using keywords more often than necessary – you will annoy your readers and possibly be flagged as spam Use flat images with text that is unreadable by machines (.bmp, .jpg, etc.) List multiple article abstracts on the same webpage.

23 Sources Beel, Jran, Bela Gipp, and Erik Eilde. "Academic Search Engine Optimization (ASEO): Optimizing Scholarly Literature for Google Scholar & Co." Journal of Scholarly Publishing 41.2 (2010): Print. Google. “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.” Rushton, Erin E., Martha Daisy Kelehan, and Marcy A. Strong. "Searching for a New Way to Reach Patrons: A Search Engine Optimization Pilot Project at Binghamton University Libraries." Journal of Web Librarianship 2.4 (2008): Print. Zhang, Jin, and Alexandra Dimitroff. "The Impact of Metadata Implementation on Webpage Visibility in Search Engine Results (Part II)." Information Processing & Management 41.3 (2005): Print. Yahoo! “SEO Basics.”

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