With more than 400 million people registered, it’s easy to get lost in the beast called LinkedIn and put it in the too-hard basket. What many clients I work with don’t realise is that LinkedIn first and foremost is a search engine, so it acts like Google. In fact, your LinkedIn profile can turn up in Google search results through an organic search and can even be seen on the first page.
The problem is that most people copy and paste content from their resume into their LinkedIn profile and are unsure how a customer thinks when they are trying to find them.
So, how do you embed SEO into your profile? You need to identify and research the keywords your customer would use in a search.
For example, we recently worked with a financial planner in Brisbane, Australia. This client specialised in retirement planning in Brisbane. We thought about his ideal clients and the keywords they would use to find people like him. We considered words such as “financial planning”, “retirement planning” and “Brisbane”.
Think about who you want to be found by and what words they would use. You need to build your profile around the keywords your ideal audience would use – not industry-specific buzz words. Not sure what words your ideal audience would use? You can always ask them what words they use when doing a Google search.
Once you have your keywords, conduct your own search on these words and see who returned in the search results.
Is it what you expected? Are they your competitors?
LinkedIn has never shared its algorithm. However, based on research we have undertaken and after writing hundreds of profiles, we know that you need to fully search engine optimise your profile. By not ensuring that you have the correct keywords, not only will you not be found, but you won’t attract your ideal client. You won’t be able to make sense to them in less than four seconds. So your profile’s a bit like a magnet: you will either repel or attract your ideal client or audience.
Think about what people you want to find you and what words they would use. Once you have identified your keywords, you can build your content around them.
Keywords need to be based on your goals moving forward and may not directly reflect what you are doing at the moment.
For example, we worked with a member-based organisation that had a reputation for servicing teachers, and was looking to expand into other industries, such as nursing. In this instance, the profile was developed around attracting nurses and other future client industries, as well as teachers.
There are five areas that will fully search engine optimise your profile. These include your:
- Title: You have 120 characters to work with for your title and it needs to reflect your keywords and the problems your customer has.
- Summary: The summary is a key component of your LinkedIn profile. The summary positions you for your target audience. It offers a great opportunity to include keywords, validation and a strong call to action.
- Employment history: In this section, you can use up to 2000 characters for each position you’ve held. Essentially, this is your positioning area and it needs to reflect your customers’ problems, why they should care, how you can help and who trusts you. You can also leverage your testimonials here.
- Skills and endorsements: You might be endorsed for skills you’ve never heard of before or by people you’ve never met, yet they still carry a heavy weighting in the search results. But you can take control of them. You don’t need to accept what people endorse you for and you don’t need to prioritise the numbers LinkedIn gives you on your profile. You have complete control over your skills and endorsements.
- Recommendations: You will need to help people write recommendations for you, but they are a high priority on your profile for SEO and validation.
Blog posts also contribute to search engine optimisation, as well as being returned in search results with your name, headshot and headline.
There are some character limitations you need to keep in mind. These are:
Website label: 30 maximum characters.
Company name: 100 maximum characters.
Job title: 120 maximum characters.
If your profile reflects what you’ve done as opposed to what you want to be doing, your profile will look like an obituary rather than a marketing document.
As the funny meme says: “The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google search results.”
Love to know your thoughts.
Jane Anderson works with Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Thought Leaders, Experts and CEO’s to leverage the expertise of their talent through LinkedIn.
She is an author of “CONNECT: How to Leverage Your LinkedIn Profile for Networking, Business Growth and Lead Generation”. Her 1 day Brisbane LinkedIn For Lead Generation Workshop can be delivered in-house. You can find out more about Jane’s CONNECT book here.
To inquire about Jane speaking at your next event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org