Make Your Taxonomy Less Taxing: Keywords for Tech Transfer Listings

When you’re preparing online technology listings for posting on your technology transfer office (TTO) Web site or a service such as the AUTM® Global Technology Portal or Flintbox® or any of the dozen or so others, effective keywords are… well, key to your success. An effective taxonomy will improve the accessibility of your listings in every place they are posted.

Here are our recommended do’s and don’ts for including keywords in technology entries.

Do focus on the audience: Just as effective marketing materials use industry/market-focused language, use keywords that align with industry’s terminology and perspective. What words would your potential licensees use when searching for a solution to their problem? Use those.

Don’t use uppercase letters unnecessarily: Since some search engines and cloud algorithms are case-specific, it’s best to stick with lowercase letters. For example, use cancer rather than Cancer. The exception is terms that use uppercase as a standard, such as 3D, AC/DC, LCD, LED, AIDS, HIV, Parkinson’s, etc.

Do use comma-separated lists of individual words: Titles, phrase-based, or sentence-style keywords require the searcher to use that exact wording in order for the entry to show up. Therefore use acoustics, music (which will hit when using either term in the search field) rather than acoustics and music (which will hit only when that three-word phrase is used).

Don’t use extraneous punctuation: Avoid using quotation marks, colons, hyphens, parentheses, etc. For example:

  • Use green technology rather than “green” technology
  • Use diagnostic imaging rather than diagnostic: imaging
  • Use MTBE rather than (MTBE)

Do exclude case numbers and tracking codes: Many third-party services offer an “institutional ID number” type of field, so in most (if not all) cases the tracking numbers is not needed in the list of keywords.

Don’t use symbols: We have seen many &reg characters show up where the ® symbol was intended. Leaving off the registered trademark in the keyword (and the title, for that matter) in favor of a notice in the description will help protect your mark while not throwing off the technology’s searchability.

One final recommendation: Since many TTOs use an automatic feed to upload their technologies from their IP management system (e.g., Inteum, Sophia, TechTracS) to various internal and external sites, all of these suggested changes should be made in the original IP management system. This way, the improved keywords/tags appear in all posting sites with the next data synch.

What advice do you have for effective keywords?

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Posted by Laura Schoppe

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