Right now, there are millions of individuals conducting important and fascinating research across the globe within universities and other scientific institutions- and what a shame it is that the general public will never be exposed to the majority of that research.
Information only has power if it can be shared with others. If a researcher discovers the cure for cancer but keeps her findings on a file on her desktop, the world remains unchanged. If a team uncovers a more effective method for cannabidiol absorption in the human body and only sends their work to a few other academic teams, that advancement may never be integrated into the fight against epilepsy. Sharing is caring, but it is also one of the most effective methods of implementing a new idea or technique.
Is the scientific community efficiently using technology?
When the ability to share insights and knowledge increases, the potential total impact of those insights increases exponentially.
In the last decade, our ability to share data around the globe has drastically improved without question. If the scientific community in Asia discovers a certain food preservative that is linked to Alzheimer’s, they can share that fact with other academics and news outlets around the world in seconds. This ability to instantly share research through the internet has resulted in amazing, life-altering changes to the average life of a human being.
Technology has allowed us to become more efficient at communication, especially over long distances, but is the average scientific organization utilizing that technology to its fullest ability? Their equipment in their labs may be state of the art but their methods of sharing knowledge online seem to be a little out of date. Universities, research labs and government agencies need to share their research and findings in a compelling manner online with search engine optimization, or SEO in mind.
First of all, what is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization is a term that has had its definition blurred by overuse in the media and by internet marketing “experts” alike. Plain and simple, SEO is an ongoing process that allows your online content to be recognized by Google. If Google can find it, then so can the people that are searching the internet for that specific topic.
Why academics should care about SEO
Why is any research conducted in the first place? For most, it is a chance to further their own knowledge, develop or invent new trains of thought, and to share those insights with the general population to induce a positive, large-scale change. As discussed above, when an academics ability to communicate increases, the effectiveness or the power of their knowledge has the potential to exponentially increase.
If you are an academic or researcher of any kind, you need to start thinking with an SEO mindset to ensure that all of your hard work is effectively being shared with the masses. By making SEO an afterthought instead of a priority, the average person is more likely to find a random “Top 10 Amazing Facts of Science” blog by an uninformed source than the actual findings of the intelligent academics and researchers around the world. Academics need to care about SEO to increase the quality of the information that is being shared overall and help to build momentum with other groups that could possibly assist researchers in achieving greater global shifts.
The Problem with Scientific Journals
Your Univerisity shares all of your latest research in scientific journals you say?
One of the largest issues with scientific journals is that it can be extremely difficult to have work published in a reputable publication. How many great ideas or pieces of data have fallen by the wayside because the author was unable to get published or was too discouraged by the entire process to even try?
The second issue with scientific journals is the audience. Typically, scientific journals are read by other researchers and academics. This keeps all of the powerful insights and content within one community instead of sharing it with the world. As someone who is interested in science or data, you likely know all about biases and how those work. It is highly unlikely that an “average person” would ever pick up a scientific journal and if they did, it’s unlikely that they would find any of the content compelling.
Not only is the content kept within a specific audience, it can also be extremely hard to locate an article even after it has been published! A particular article on “melatonin” was cited over 1300 times and an independent American researcher was unable to find it online even when citing the exact journal name and issue that it was published in. What other important scientific information is being lost online?
Researchers + Writers = Exposure
In order to share research with a wide audience, it needs to be conveyed with compelling content. If your article, story, or summary isn’t interesting, it won’t be consumed– it’s that simple. If research teams can find ways to team up with writers who are educated in SEO principles, their work can finally be shared with the world in an effective manner, instead of staying hidden in the depths of poorly published pages hosted on university websites.
Now, SEO is definitely a “long game” strategy. Your organization can’t “SEO optimize” a single article and expect to rise in the ranks of Google. Your research team or university needs to be constantly putting out interesting content that is crafted with SEO techniques in mind. Over time, Google will begin to recognize your site as a reputable source for the topics that you most frequently touch upon.
Once you are in this position, any new exciting research that your team conducts can instantly be shared with those who are interested in the content, and even reach those who were not aware that your work could be applicable to their life. Think of SEO optimizing your research and content as a force multiplier for your scientific impact.
Put a Spotlight on Science with SEO
By effectively sharing your findings with a larger audience in an interesting or entertaining manner, the spotlight on sciences overall increases, bringing more funding and intellectual talent to your particular field. Now go forth and share your knowledge with the world!
Not sure where to start? Begin to educate your team on Google Analytics, Adwords and Webmaster tools. If you are looking for a little assistance, connect with our team for an SEO overhaul today.