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What is SEO?

It is becoming more and more important for researchers to improve the visibility of their work.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a powerful process that can help make you and your research more visible to search engines like Google and Google Scholar.  

Here's an example of a Google search for a scientist who's on ResearchGate:

Tilo's ResearchGate profile is the first result listed on Google. Twice as many people visit the first result as visit any other result on the page. And the more people who click and visit your profile, the more your research is likely to be read and cited.

Tilo got his ResearchGate profile to the top of Google's results by doing a lot of small things to make his profile and research easier to find. 

We've collected some ways you can make your profile easier to find and increase the visibility of your research.

How to improve your visibility through SEO

The easier it is for other researchers to find and access your research, the more likely your work will be read, cited, and used in future research. The first thing you should do to increase the visibility of your research is add all of it to ResearchGate. This will make it easier for search engines like Google to find your work and list it in their search results. 

Here are some additional tips you can follow to help maximize the visibility of you and your research.

1. Link to your ResearchGate profile on other websites

Adding links to your profile and publications on sites outside of ResearchGate is by far the best way to improve your visibility to search engines. People who add links to their profiles on other websites can get up to 5 times more publication reads.

Here's an example of a link to a ResearchGate profile on a scientist's personal website:

You can add links to your profile to your personal blog, institution or department page, or lab website. To find out how, contact your website administrator. 

2. Add a profile photo

If you don't already have one, adding a photo of yourself to your profile is a simple and effective way to improve your visibility. 

Profiles with photos get up to 3 times more views than those without. And publications on profiles with photos get 50% more reads.

Here's how to add a photo to your profile:

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Click on your current profile picture at the top left of your profile page
  3. Click the Upload new photo button to upload an existing photo, or the Take photo button to take a new photo
  4. Crop your photo as desired and click Save to confirm your changes.

For more help with profile photos, check out this page in the help center.

3. Complete your profile

We've found that the more complete a profile is, the more likely it will appear in search results. This helps people find you and your research.

We've also learned that certain parts of your profile can have a big effect on how your profile is ranked by search engines. For example, publications on profiles with complete About sections get up to 150% more reads than on profiles without complete About sections.

Here's a list of other things we've found that can have a big impact on the visibility of your work:

  • Make sure your institution and department affiliations are up to date
  • Fill out the Education and Affiliations sections, and add any awards you may have received
  • Make sure all your research is on your profile so that others can see all of your work

4. Confirm authorship of your publications

You can increase the visibility of your research by confirming you're the author of all your work on ResearchGate. 

When someone has confirmed they're the author of a publication, that publication gets up to 10 times more reads on average than publications without confirmed authors. 

You can see suggestions of research we think you authored here

5. Add full-texts, abstracts, and other data to your research 

We know that publications with more available information and metadata are more likely to be ranked higher by search engines, which means they're more likely to be read and cited by other researchers. This is because the more relevant information and metadata a publication has, the more information search engines have to link the publication to relevant searches.

Here's a list of things you can add to make sure all your research can be found easily online:

  • Full-texts – publications with full-texts get up to 15 times more reads than those without 
  • Abstracts – publications with abstracts get up to 160% more reads than those without 
  • Clear and correct titles for your publications and other research help others find your work more easily
  • DOIs (if applicable)
  • Additional data about your publications, such as:
    • Chapter information – add the book that your chapters are a part of
    • Conference papers  – link your papers to the conference where they were presented
    • ISSN, ISBN, and other information help identify your research.

You can find instructions on how to edit your publication information here.

Additionally, uploading preprints, posters, and presentations is a great way to make all your research more available and accessible. 

Before you share any content on ResearchGate, please make sure you have the rights to do so.

SEO can be complicated because search engines are always reevaluating and changing how they prioritize search results. As a result, we cannot guarantee that your research will be at the top of every search result.