If you are an expert in an academic subject, the process the advertising world calls search engine optimization (SEO) is a way you can get what you know into online study and conversation. With SEO you can get your webpages to the top of the SERPS (search engine result pages).
The bare bones SEO are these two steps:
First, be sure meaningful keywords for your webpage appear in its URL, title, first few words of text, and the anchor text (which is made up of the words you highlight in your text to hyperlink to another page.)
The second aspect is to lure respected people in the subject your webpage is about to link to your page. Anyone who links to your webpage gives it what SEO folks call juice, and the more respected the linker is, the more juice is received by your webpage.
At GoldenSwamp.com’s sister blog Learnodes.com, I am experimenting with creating small landing pages that are SEOed for academic subjects. The following is an example of how SEO and giving juice are actually quite effective and powerful.
Last week I created a Learnode.com blog post (a blog post is a webpage) titled Learn Node: How Fish Muscles Work. If you will click to this fish muscle learn node, you will see that the URL, title, first words of the text, and anchor text all repeat words that describe the subject of the landing page (this blog post). If someone lands on this page, they will find three excellent links highlighted to lead them to fish muscle knowledge.
Within 2 days after I published this blog post, search engine spiders had found it, it was evaluated at Google, and it showed up as #2 on Google when I searched for “how fish muscles work”.
Something else very interesting happened. One of the links I had featured in my learn node about fish muscles is a webpage from Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole. The webpage is excellent science about Opsanus tau, a very ugly fish whose swim bladder muscles are the fastest twitching muscles in the vertebrate world. The Woods Hole page had no SEO. The title of the webpage (sounds like a cosmetics ad!) is “It’s Not Going to Win Any Beauty Contests But . . . “; the URL identifies it only as “labnotes/6.3/beauty”, there are few hints in the first paragraphs of the muscle information in the webpage, and there are no outgoing links with anchor text.
Nonetheless, when I included the Woods Hole webpage in my “How Fish Muscles Work” learn node that I SEOed — lo, the Woods Hole webpage appeared on Google’s first page of SERPS as #3 link! The image above shows that both the learnode I made and the Woods Hole page I linked to had enough SEO juice to jump to the top of the SERPS.
Silly as this language may seem, it is of fundamental importance for delivering knowledge to students and colleagues in our new connected age.