How to Optimize Your Abstract for Search Engines
Use Appropriate Keywords in the Abstract
Proper names, specific procedures or techniques, outcome areas, capitalized events and eras, titles of books or articles, and definitions make the best keywords.
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 the author to choose clear, accurate titles. 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 search terms.
Reiterate Key Phrases
The next most important field is the text of the abstract itself. You should reiterate the key words or phrases from the title within the abstract itself. You know the key phrases for your subject area, whether it is temporal lobe epilepsy or rehabilitation in Iraq. Although we can never know exactly how search engines rank sites (their algorithms are closely guarded secrets and often updated), the number of times that your key words and phrases appear on the page can have an important effect. Use the same key phrases, if possible in the title and abstract.
Some Important Points to Remember
- People tend to search for specifics, not just one word, e.g., women’s fiction not fiction.
- Ensure that the title contains the most important words that relate to the topic.
- Key phrases need to make sense within the title and abstract and flow well.
- It is best to focus on a maximum of three or four different keyword phrases in an abstract rather than try to get across too many points.
- Finally, always check that the abstract reads well, and remember the primary audience is still the researcher not a search engine.