SEO isn’t just for your company’s website: it’s for everything your company does on the internet. Integrating some basic search engine optimization practices into your LinkedIn profile is an easy and effective way to expand your online presence.
Ready to enhance your LinkedIn’s profile search engine rankings? Here are some basic SEO tips that will get you started.
Start By Filling Out All Information on your Profile
Fill out your LinkedIn profile with all relevant information, using keywords wherever possible. Make sure you mention your job title and the areas you service. That way, keywords like [your job title] and [your location] will appear on your profile, so when people search for those keywords, your profile will appear somewhere in the search rankings.
LinkedIn lets you enter extensive descriptions about your job titles. Make sure you take advantage of this by listing your experiences, special projects, volunteer history, and any causes you care about. The more content on your page, the more opportunities you’ll have to use keywords.
Long, information-rich content is also very good for SEO whether you’re on LinkedIn or any website.
Don’t Get Creative with your Job Titles
When someone wants to hire a janitor, they don’t type in “sanitation technician” into Google Search. They type in janitor.
Don’t get creative with your job titles. Use the title that the majority of people will use when trying to find someone in your profession. LinkedIn lets people search by job title. So if you want more people to find you via LinkedIn’s search feature, then you need to use the commonly-accepted term for your job title.
Build Backlinks to your LinkedIn Profile
When you point more backlinks to your LinkedIn profile, you’ll inevitably have better SEO value on your LinkedIn profile.
Not all backlinks pass along link value. However, all backlinks provide some value. At the very least, they point more people towards your profile, generating more traffic to your page.
Put links to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature and in your profiles on other social media websites. Update your Facebook page with a post linking to your LinkedIn profile.
If you want to build even more SEO value to your LinkedIn page, then consider writing guest blog posts on blogs with lots of traffic. Link back to your LinkedIn profile. You’ll get some valuable link juice while also directing traffic towards your page.
Take Advantage of your LinkedIn Profile Links
LinkedIn lets you post three links on your profile by default. These links appear on your page and pass along SEO value to the target.
Most people use these links to point towards their official website or other social media pages – which is a great way to use these links.
However, what many people don’t realize is that you can actually change the anchor text on these links. You can change the naked URL of your website to anchor text referencing your profession and your city, for example.
If you’re a graphic designer in Seattle, for example, then you may want to change your LinkedIn profile anchor text to [Your Name], Seattle Graphic Designer. Your site will more likely show up when people search those keywords.
Get Aggressive About Expanding your Network
When you search for someone on LinkedIn, the person with more connections appears over top of a person with fewer connections. LinkedIn determines these rankings based on your connections within a network – like your first, second, and third level connections.
What does that mean for your LinkedIn SEO? It means that you need to aggressively expand your network to increase your profile’s visibility. Start adding contacts and searching through your email address for old contacts. Get connected to as many people as possible, and your LinkedIn profile is more likely to appear before a competitor’s.
Customize Your LinkedIn Profile URL
Your LinkedIn profile URL has enormous SEO value. When your profile URL is your name or your job title, it has a better chance of appearing higher on search engine results pages.
Customizing your LinkedIn profile URL is easy. Just edit your profile by following these instructions:
Step 1) Hover your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and then click Edit Profile
Step 2) You’ll see a URL link under your profile photo that looks something like www.linkedin.com/in/JohnSmith. Move your cursor over that link, then click the Settings icon (the gear icon) next to it.
Step 3) Enter your desired URL. If you’re maximizing SEO value, then you may want to try to squeeze your name, city, and job title into that description. Some people just throw out the name altogether and type in something like www.linkedin.com/in/NewYorkCityLawyer. Officially, LinkedIn encourages you to just enter your name.
URLs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The URL is not case-sensitive. You can use anywhere between 5 and 30 letters or numbers.
There’s a limit on how many times you can change your URL: you can change it up to 5 times in a 180 day period. After you change your URL for a 5th time, you’ll be locked from changing it within 90 days.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Up above, we’ve talked about the importance of adding keywords to your job descriptions and LinkedIn profile. But there’s a limit to this: never stuff too many keywords in your LinkedIn profile description.
Sure, you might be a very good New York City lawyer who’s based in New York and provides New York attorney services to clients requiring NYC legal services, but that doesn’t mean you should write your description like that.
If your page can be read out loud without making you sound like a lunatic, then you should be okay. Make sure your page is readable. Make sure people can understand what you are and what you do – it’s not just search engines reading your pages.
Of course, search engines are smart enough to detect keyword stuffing and they’ll actually punish your search engine rankings for such behavior. If you try to stuff too many keywords onto your page, and a search engine notices it, then you may see your LinkedIn profile ranking plummet.
LinkedIn has a neat feature called Recommendations where you can endorse people in your network for different skills. The obvious value is that people can see your areas of specialization before they work with you.
But there’s also enormous SEO value to recommendations. Many recommendations are worded using common keywords like “social media marketing” or “online marketing”. These are the exact keywords your future clients are typing into search engines to try to find you.
Start asking your network for recommendations, and people will find you more easily when searching for your endorsed skills online.
There’s actually some hard evidence behind the SEO value of recommendations on LinkedIn. Stomphorst.ca found that people with 10 or more recommendations appear higher in search engine rankings than those who have fewer than 10 recommendations.
There’s no real downside to having lots of recommendations. Focus on building them up on your personal profile page.
Remove Irrelevant Keywords from your Profile
You might have different brands, companies, and services listed on your LinkedIn profile page. Maybe you were a burger flipper at McDonald’s when you were in high school. You could get incoming search traffic for that keyword, which isn’t exactly the traffic you’re looking for. Remove irrelevant keywords to ensure people are visiting your page for the right reasons.
Set your Profile to Display All Information
Did you implement all of the above tips but your profile still isn’t attracting search engine attention? Try setting your profile to display all information. Sometimes, this option can get changed inadvertently, hiding valuable information from your audience.
Remember to log out of your LinkedIn account and check your profile page to see what it looks like to other users. Your LinkedIn profile page may also look different depending on if someone is logged into their own LinkedIn profile, or if they’re logged out. Ask a friend to check your profile and take a screenshot to make sure everything is showing up exactly how you intended it.
Participate in Group Discussions
There are thousands of articles online talking about how to market yourself on LinkedIn, and about 90% of those articles mention LinkedIn Groups. They’re a great marketing tool that lets you interact with people in your industry, niche, or geographic area. You can easily get your name out there and expand your personal brand using LinkedIn Groups.
But LinkedIn groups also have phenomenal SEO value. Every time you participate in a LinkedIn Group discussion, you increase the number of internal links to your profile from within LinkedIn, which strengthens your visibility in search engines.
Now that LinkedIn Answers is gone, Groups are your primary way to build internal LinkedIn backlinks. Add intelligent contributions to Groups, and your SEO value will inevitably grow over time.
LinkedIn SEO isn’t much different from ordinary SEO. Use the right keywords, expand your online brand, and practice good inbound marketing tactics. If you can do that, then your search engine rankings are guaranteed to rise on both traditional search engines as well as LinkedIn’s internal search engine.