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    Search-Engine Optimization (SEO) – Best-Practice Guide

    Key Portal and Profile decisions that affect Indexing in Google and other search engines

    This page discusses key Portal and Profile decisions that affect indexing in Google and other search engines.  


    What is SEO?

    Search Engine Optimization is the process of making a website interact well with search engines, so that users can discover its content by searching. This can be an ongoing effort. 

    The creators of search engines identify various parameters that they believe create a good user experience. Search engines like Google rank websites based on these parameters, and give higher-ranked websites priority in search results. 

    Esploro aims to make its portal content available and discoverable to users of all types. One aspect of this is providing a good user experience, as defined by Google. Both the customer and Ex Libris play parts in making this happen. The following are the main things each of them must do in order to optimize Esploro for search-engine discovery:

    Customer-Controlled Aspects of SEO

    Responsible for Content and Updates

    Platform-Controlled Aspects of SEO

    Provide Access and Discoverability

    • Create helpful, reliable, and rich content, and ensure it is updated consistently.
    • Use words that people are likely to include in a search query.
    • Link to other websites, both for promotion and to build trust in the website.
    • Verify that pages and links are accessible to crawlers. (Note that making pages accessible to crawlers is not the same thing as making the browser displays of those pages accessible to users.)
    • Ensure that pages load fast to provide a good user experience. 
    • Provide a sitemap.
    • Use proper metatags and structured data-markup.
    • Ensure the pages are mobile-friendly and accessible.

    Understanding Google’s Process

    Google's search process consists of three stages, and not all pages make it through each stage:

    1. Crawling – Google downloads text, images, and videos from pages it finds on the internet by means of automated programs called crawlers.

    2. Indexing – Google analyzes the text, images, and video files it downloaded from each page, and stores the information in the Google index, which is a large database.

    3. Serving search results – When a user searches on Google, Google returns information that is relevant to the user's query (in the order its algorithms produce). 

    Recommendations for Customers

    The following sections contain recommendations for customers about how they can optimize their site's interactions with search-engines, and indicating which members of their staff are expected to handle the processes described in each section. 

    Portal Set Up

    System Administrators

    For optimal SEO results, system administrators should bear the following considerations and best practices in mind: 

    1. Define a custom URL for the portal, preferably before the go-live stage. The custom URL should include the name of the repository and institution, as this will help users identify the right link quickly. Setting this up at an early stage ensures that all links discovered by the search engine will display the correct link and avoid redirections.
    2. We added Portal Index footer links – see Publishing from Esploro to Google Search, Scholar and Datasets.
    3. Make sure all the links on the homepage are pointing to the custom URL. If any links were set up at an earlier stage, before a custom URL was chosen, it is best to update them.
    4. Check the link defined for the logo in the top left corner (see Logo URL at General Settings for the Research Portal and Profiles).
    5. It is recommended to include links to institutional websites, as this builds trust for search engines (academic webpages are considered very credible) and drives traffic between the different websites. If links were created at an early stage, and then a custom URL was selected or changed, make sure these external links are updated.
    6. You can showcase well known researchers by using the Featured Researchers section in the homepage or adding direct links. Links on the homepage get more attention from search engine crawlers than those on the other pages of the site.
    7. You can use the Top Ten section on the homepage to highlight recently added publications or output to which you want to draw attention.
    8. Run the relevant jobs for publishing public content to Google (output, profiles). This creates the sitemap for the automatic tools to discover and index portal pages. For more information, see Publishing from Esploro to Google Search, Scholar and Datasets.

    Profile Set Up

    System Administrators, Researchers, and Researcher Proxies

    Information that is added to profiles can be added by the system administrator, by the researcher, or by a proxy for the researcher. When you are ready to add profiles to your Esploro system, the following are some SEO-related issues to consider:

    1. Richer and more-recently updated profiles are generally ranked higher by Google in search results.
    2. For profile images, it is best to follow the guidelines at Managing Researcher Profiles.
    3. It is recommended for profiles to include links to other websites that hold similar information about the researcher, such as a personal website or an institutional or commercial profile. (These can be added in the profile in Settings > About under Links.)
    4. It is recommended to add existing researcher identifiers (ORCiD, Web of Science ID, etc) to their profile settings (see Managing Researcher Profiles).
    5. Relevant keywords and a description can increase the chances that a profile will be discovered in the relevant context. (These can be added in the profile in Settings > About.)
    6. Name variants are also helpful for researcher identification and improve Smart Harvesting performance. (These can be added in the profile in Settings > Profile, under Name.)
    7. Adding updated publications, activities and projects to the researcher profiles can improve the user experience as well as the ranking in Google search results. (These can be added in the profile in Settings > About.)
    8. Prestigious grants and honors can also increase the probability that a profile will come up in search results, so it is recommended to add notable ones to the profile. (These can be added in the profile in Settings > About, under Honors.)
    9. It is recommended to mention sought-after courses taught by the researcher under Activities.


    System Administrators or Google Search Console Administrators, IT or Web Team

    We recommend setting up a Google Search Console, using an HTML file verification method; for instructions, see Setting up the Google Search Console and Analytics. The console allows you to see the status of page indexing in Google and address issues by requesting re-indexing or by sending it to the Esploro support team to resolve issues. If you would like our assistance with this, please add us to the console:

    It is recommended to submit the sitemap in the console – the sitemap can be accessed at [your domain]/view/google/siteindex.xml (if you ran the publishing jobs mentioned above). For more information on how to use and understand the data in the Google Search Console, see About Search Console.

    Esploro does not have control over the time it will take Google to index the pages, we can only see the status.


    Crawler – Automated software that crawls (fetches) pages from the web and indexes them

    Sitemap – A file on your website that tells search engines about new and modified pages on the site

    Google Search Console – A free service offered by Google that provides tools to help you submit your content to Google and monitor how well it is doing in Google Search

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