Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile For Next-level Results

Search Engine Optimization is a pain in the ass.
The rewards of doing it are great – really great, but it seems whatever you do online has to be “optimized” for the all-powerful search engines.

Take LinkedIn, for example. LinkedIn is a social networking site where like-minded people get in touch to further their careers. What a simple, yet brilliant idea. But did you know a LinkedIn profile also needs to be Search Engine Optimized to be at its most effective, even though it’s already on one of the World’s most popular sites?

I know what you’re thinking: I need to SEO-up my LinkedIn profile? What’s next, keywords in my Facebook posts? Meta-tags in my Twitter bio? You’re right to be skeptical, but it works. Here’s the thing….

Very few people know that SEO is important on LinkedIn.

Read that above line again. Did you get that little tingling of excitement that you get when you spot an untapped into niche? You should have done.

LinkedIn has 330 million members at the time of writing. When you read this, that number will have increased given that 2 new people join the site every second. Standing out is difficult. That’s an understatement.

Looking beyond LinkedIn’s membership numbers reveals the answer getting spotted though. Despite having faster growth than both Facebook AND Twitter combined, the amount of half filled-in profiles and dormant accounts is sort of an epidemic. Most people think it’s a place to post your resume then leave alone.

Savvy LinkedIn users know better, and you’re about to become one of them. You have at your fingertips access to the World’s largest database of prosperous business people. As a search engine (similar to Google) LinkedIn means millions of top decision-makers can find you in seconds.

How can you get them to find you? Read on…

Search Engine Optimization on LinkedIn works the same way as on Google. Carefully placed keywords dotted around your profile get found by the search algorithm which then places you higher up on the results list.

Where do you need to place these keywords? I’ll show you.

1. In Your Name Field

Like any good reader, the first place LinkedIn crawlers start is from the beginning: your name field. Your last name field allows up to 40 characters, but that doesn’t mean 40 is the optimal number. Avoid using long keyword here phrases or you risk appearing unprofessional.

Too many characters also compromises your Professional Headline, meaning those in the People You May Know widget aren’t getting the full story. Make the most of your Name Field, but keep it short and sweet.

2. In Your Professional Headline

The second place LinkedIn’s hard-working crawlers search is your Professional Headline. Almost everyone you see will use their job title here, but that doesn’t help you get found. Well, unless your job title is pretty darn unique.

Using the Professional Headline section is far better used as a regular headline section, as a way to attract attention.

If “Veteran film producer” is one of your target keyword phrases, the headline “Award winning veteran film producer part of The Hobbit franchise” is likely to get you ranked very near to the top.

3. In Your Summary

The summary is probably the most obvious place to include your keyword phrases. Use keywords in a natural manner, the way you would when writing SEO content, and be careful not to overuse them. There’s a saying in SEO: “Write for humans first.” That’s more true on LinkedIn.

You can use your summary to gain overall exposure in two ways. First, use it as a sales page. This method is good, but not quite as good as focusing solely on your ‘buyer’. What do you offer whoever’s reading your summary? What can you give them, and what problems can you solve?

4. In Your Experience Section

The experience section is ready made for keywords. Using keyword phrases in place of your job titles is one of the best, if not the best way to improve your overall profile ranking.

Rather than focusing on your job title (which search engines don’t care about) use that as a secondary to a job title you know people are searching for. Enhance your ranking for each keyword by including even more keywords in your job description section. When done right, optimizing a LinkedIn profile can be done perfectly without resorting to the 2005 strategy of keyword-stuffing. Save the stuffing for Christmas.

5. In Your Skills Section

Last, but certainly not least, is your skills section. Your skills section and keywords go together like cookies and milk, or vanilla and ice cream. LinkedIn allows 50 different skills per profile, meaning you have an abundance of room to enter and ensure you rank for all of your different keywords and keyword phrases.

Endorsements add weight to your skills section, so try and pick them up wherever possible.

6. In The Your Interests Area

While other people are telling LinkedIn’s search crawlers they like walks on the beach and cuddles by the fireplace, you need to be telling them that you’re perfect for a job that relates to a certain keyword. Saying you like playing soccer at the weekends really doesn’t add anything to your profile. Inserting business keywords however, works like magic.

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