The Importance of Using Strategic Keywords in Research Papers

Using Strategic Keywords in Research Papers

In this DoNotEdit article, we will discuss the importance of using keywords in research articles.

Every year, more than a million scientific publications are added to the existing collection of research papers. New scientific articles make it more difficult to identify relevant publications through simple search methods. Therefore, even when your hard work leads to the successful publication of your paper, you may still feel that your paper is not getting the attention or citations you hoped it would. But don’t worry because there are several ways to make your research stand out from the millions of other articles. One of these ways is to use the concept of search engine optimization (SEO). You need to choose the right keywords to publish your article.

What is SEO and Do Keywords Really Matter?

Simply put, SEO is a tool to get your paper to a higher rank on search engines, like Google Scholar or PubMed that rely on specific algorithms to retrieve and list the search results. Considering that only a few people tend to look past page the first page of the search results, it is important to use search engines to find keywords. Therefore, increasing the SEO ranking increases the chances of your paper being viewed. You can place your paper among the top search results by choosing strategic keywords!

Keywords are the words that are key to your article and that a potential reader might use to search for relevant publications. They are important to drive traffic to your research paper. Keywords also play an important role in getting your article published. Often, journal editors may check your submitted article based on keywords to judge whether it is eligible for publication in the journal. Keywords may also help them identify suitable reviewers. Therefore, keywords play an important role and should be chosen carefully.

How to Choose the Best Keywords?

1. Consider your Target Audience

This is largely related to the people working in your research field. Hence, it is likely that your target audience will use the same terms that you would normally use when peer-reviewing an article.

2. Establish a good balance between the generality of the article and its specificity

Intuitively, keywords specific to your research topic are always preferred because broad or vague terms can result in your article being drowned out among numerous irrelevant articles. But it’s also important not to be too specific. Remember the concept of keyword search volume. This concept means the number of times a particular keyword is searched for in a particular period of time. In other words, if no one (except maybe a handful of experts) is searching for a term, optimization won’t help them! In such cases, instead of being too specific, it’s better to use alternative terms or synonyms that people might actually search for.

3. Follow Target Journal Instructions

Different journals may have different rules regarding keywords. For example, most medicine-related journals require keywords to be from the US National Library of Medicine’s Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). Some journals ask to avoid terms appearing in the title because the words therein are already coded to be searchable. Hence, keywords that complement the title are preferred. Thus, always cross-check to ensure you meet the journal requirements!

4. Single Words VS. Phrases

Nowadays, phrases of 2-3 words rather than single words are commonly used as search queries to help obtain more relevant results. Note that long-tail keywords are usually associated with lower search volume. However, they attract a more relevant crowd, have less competition, and can lead to higher rankings.

5- Use Related Terms

It is very important to use keywords related to the research topic. Try to use phrases that accurately reflect your main ideas and are relevant to your research area. You can do this by describing the importance of your study in 2-3 lines and then choosing keywords from those few lines.

6-Be Careful about Using Abbreviations and Undesirable Terms

Abbreviated words and phrases can have more than one meaning based on the research context. Therefore, search results using such terms can return irrelevant articles and should be used with caution.

7. Test and Refine

After you’ve created a list of potential keywords, test it using databases like Google Scholar. If your search term does not bring up enough articles similar to yours, you may want to modify or delete the term. This way, you can rank the relevance of your chosen keywords and create a list of relevant keywords that you can eventually use.

Keywords play an important role in publicizing your research and can lead to all those citations you’ve been hoping for! So, although it may seem like a time-consuming task, it is worth your time and effort to generate the best keywords. For more guidance on choosing the most relevant keywords that accurately reflect who you are, use DoNotEdit services now!

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