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SEO: Search Engine Optimization

How public search engines work.

The real deal

We've spent a long time being negative about search engines-- Google, more specifically, but we aren't saying you can't use Google for your research. There are times when a scholarly article in the databases isn't exactly what you are looking for. Be mindful and think critically about your search engine results.  The examples below are using the previous "essential oils and anxiety" search.

More credible

Taking a cursory look at the results, I see one with an .edu domain. While it is a blog, I know that generally .edu sources are credible:

I see that the author is not trying to sell me the oils, just inform me about them. She has a long list of References at the end and her author profile describes her credibility as an expert in the field:

Less credible

Looking at these two results:

While they do have links to credible references throughout, they also are trying to sell you the oils:

A compromise

The first Google result is from a .com site and does have ads on the page and links out to the Amazon results of the oils.


However, Healthline has Trusted Sources that indicate the link goes to one of their credible sources, which takes it a bit above the other .com sites:

This link takes us to PubMed Central, a National Library of Medicine database: