The importance of SEO in communicating research and innovation projects

WIT Berry are focused

Search engine optimisation is a big deal in all commercial sectors. Each and every business owner, communications manager and sales manager tries to get their website to rank as high as possible, preferably within the first three items on the first page of search results. But is SEO also a big deal in research and innovation projects? Sure it is!

Let me explain what SEO is, why it is a big deal in communication and dissemination activities of research and innovation projects, why you shouldn’t neglect it, and what would be the easy steps to take in order to follow best practise.

What is SEO? 

In very simple terms, SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process of improving the quality of a website to drive a larger amount of higher quality traffic from search engines (mainly Google). Your goal would be to make your website appear at the top of the Google search results for specific keywords.


What should you optimize and why?

You would like your content to be findable and seen by others, right? Thus, normally any content that you post online should be optimized – your personal website, your project’s website, news updates on the website, the abstracts of your articles, any videos on YouTube, etc. Does that mean that your content will become less appealing and more technical? Absolutely not! We have prepared some tips and tricks on how to optimize your content so that it will still be appealing, not lose its main purpose, and help you rank high!


SEO for research and innovation projects

SEO in science

Step 1 – Keywords

First you have to choose the keywords you would like to focus on. I would suggest choosing 5–10 keywords to focus on at the very beginning. Think of your research topic, for example. There are various tools that can help you implement this task. However, the easiest way is just to use your own logic.

Think like this: “If I was a representative of the target audience X (stakeholder, researcher, engineer, policymaker), I would enter X, Y, Z keywords into Google to find relevant information.” Google will also propose some ideas when you start typing, so take them into consideration.

Don’t be too vague! If you are a space engineer and, as your keyword, you choose just “space”, you will have to compete with various keywords that are not even related to the space sector. For example, “coworking space”, which has nothing to do with your field of interest. Thus, try to use your best judgment in defining keywords. Terms consisting of 2 or 3 words – for example, “electric propulsion” – are already a better choice. But if you are interested in attracting an even more specific target audience, you might want to be even more precise, for example, “gridded ion thruster”. If your research or innovation is associated with a specific location, it is always a good idea to include it as part of your focus keyword phrase. For example, “Radio Astronomy Centre in Latvia”. 

Step 2 – Content ​

On your website

Even if you have made a list of 10 keywords, it doesn’t matter if you include them in every piece of content you write and post. Ideally, keywords should only be introduced when they are relevant. For example, if you write an article for your website about “electric propulsion”, you might want to include this keyword 3–4 times and then also the keyword “gridded ion thruster” 1 or 2 times. The keywords should not exceed 3% of the total text of the article. The best places to include your keywords are, when possible, headlines and sub-headlines.

On YouTube

When publishing videos on YouTube, you should also try to include the keyword in the headline and at least once in the description. This will help your video become findable.

On social media

You should definitely include the keywords in the post text. You might also like to choose the appropriate hashtags (#) and mentions (@) when possible. For example, #electricpropulsion #griddedionthruster etc.

Other online resources

Sometimes you have no power over the way the content is published on certain media or websites. In order to contribute to the findability of your research results, you might want to include the keywords in the abstract.

SEO in the horizon europe project
SEO in science

Step 3 – Some technical details

There are pieces of content within the website called page title and meta description. When it comes to your personal or your project’s website, in order to help your content rank higher, you might want to fill in these fields.

In the business world, the page title and meta description serve as a type of ad and summary at the same time. Internet users will make their decision whether to click on the website based on this information. Thus, if you want your website (with research results or achievements, for example) to be noticed, you might want to include specific keywords in these texts as well as some intriguing information that raises interest. Just keep in mind that the best practice is to keep the page title as short as 65 characters, including spaces, and the meta description as short as 165 characters.

You would also want to include the name of the project, your organisation or yourself within the Page Title. In the example we have provided you can see that the Page Title consist of the main keywords – Horizon Europe and Communication & Dissemination + our company’s name – WIT Berry.

Here is an example where the page title and meta description appear.

seo on web

These are the basics of SEO in less than 1000 words! We hope that by applying these simple steps you will be able to make your communication about your research or innovation project more visible.


If you have any questions or would like to enlist our help with SEO for research and innovation projects at the stage of proposal writing or during project implementation, do not hesitate to contact me:


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