Top 11 LinkedIn SEO tips

How are people finding you on LinkedIn if they don’t know your name?  What keywords and/or titles are they using?

I have a LinkedIn premium account and can therefore see how people find me. 22% (up from 15% a few months ago) of the people who found my LinkedIn profile found me by my name, firstname and/or lastname.  The next largest hit was 4% (combined) for vendor names mentioned in my profile. However, finding me by those company names has zero value to me – I’ve since removed the vendor names and that 4% disappeared.

How do I want to be found on LinkedIn?  This started my research into LinkedIn SEO tips as LinkedIn provides virtually no help here except for one faq.

Your Unique Lense

LinkedIn’s Search results are based on your Profile content and activity.  However, one early and (now) seemingly obviously discovery is everyone searches LinkedIn through their own unique “lense”.  Your lense is the people in your network, your 1st, 2nd, 3rd level connections, group connections and your Industry.  Below is my part of my lense into the LinkedIn population – the 1st level connections.   Image underneath each dot is another cloud of connections (your 2nd level) then each of your 2nd level connections has a cloud of connections under them.  Those 3 layers of cloud connections is part of your unique lense. Because of each person’s unique network, virtually no two persons search results will be identical.

Consider that the value of LinkedIn is ensuring your search results are most relevant to you, delivering search results of people in your network.  If I’m searching for title “CEO” in location “Toronto”, I want my results to start with people in my network, people I have a good chance of knowing, or know someone in common, so I may rapidly connect with that CEO.  That’s the other power of LinkedIn, facilitating rapid connections.

Your unique lense also includes your Industry.  You set your Industry with your profile settings.  My Industry is Information Technology & Services.  Therefore, when I search “CEO” in location “Toronto”, I would expect the results to be of CEO in my industry, vs. CEO’s in the Fishery industry.

Your Profile

Before you embark of SEO Optimizing your LinkedIn profile you need to ask yourself a) how do you want to be found and b) by whom – what keywords / titles would they use?  There are two ways to search LinkedIn profiles, from within LinkedIn itself, and externally via a search engine as your #LI profile is indexed by search engines.

During my research I came upon the following results, from reputable sources.

11 LinkedIn SEO tips

  1. Customized Profile URL with your name.  Keywords in URL are search engine optimized.
  2. Change the standard names for the (up to) 3 website URLs (i.e. from “my company”) to customized names (e.g. Stomphorst.ca) for SEO passing authority. You may want to rename the site within LI to attract your target audience, vs. the actual url name.   BTW, don’t list your employer’s website.
  3. Repeat your professional specialty and keywords many times in your LI profile, however keep in mind LI says “More keywords aren’t always better”.   E.g. If you are a BI Specialist:
    1. Professional Headline: BI Specialist
    2. Summary: I’m a BI Specialist in the….
    3. Current & Past Titles (if/when applicable): BI Specialist
    4. Description within job: I was a BI Specialist ….
    5. Specialties: BI Specialist
    6. Skills & Expertise: BI, business intelligence, business intelligence tools. Insert all the keywords you want to be found from.
  4. Remove non-relevant keywords to eliminate false positives. E.g. I was receiving significant hits (relatively speaking) due to single mentions of “Rypple” and “Intelex” in my profile.  This adds zero value to my profile.  30-60 days after I removed mentions of “Rypple” and “Intelex” from my profile, those search words don’t appear in my “Top Search Keyword” (include screen capture)
  5. Set your profile to Display all information
  6. Set your Industry accordingly
  7. Participate in Group discussions – increases the number of internal links to your profile from within LI, thus strengthening your visibility in search engines.
  8. Answer questions on LI answers – increases the number of internal links to your profile from within LI, thus strengthening your visibility in search engines.
  9. Link to your LI profile on other social sites (i.e. link backs)
  10. Request Recommendations. Have at least 10. Elevates your profile within LI.
  11. Endorsements: LinkedIn isn’t weighing endorsements at this feature’s release in Sept 2012, “but will soon.”  “…the more endorsements for your skills and talents that you get, the more often you’ll appear in search results” according to Dave Kerpen.

Gaming the System

I classify the following suggestions as “gaming the system.”  They likely produce a positive impact, but I can’t corroborate their effectiveness. I don’t use them.

  1. Recognizing that LI users search through their “lense”,  LI will elevate results for connections within their network (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd level connections, groups). Therefore, to be in as many networks as possible and therefore found by as many people as possible, you need to be connected to as many people as possible.  Accept any and all connection requests (I’m breathing in a paper bag as I type this).
  2. Similar to above, this too seems seedy, join as many Groups as possible (50 max).  Join the groups with the largest memberships (where’d that paper bag go?).
  3. Add applications like WordPress to promote your blog and Slideshare.net to promote your slidedecks.
  4. List any media attention in the Honor & Awards section. Obviously include any other honors or awards.
  5. Use the Projects section to promote your whitepapers

3 thoughts on “Top 11 LinkedIn SEO tips

  1. Question: You state in point #2 to not list your employer’s website. Why? My LinkedIn profile is a big part of my brand and it belongs to me. My contact information is my personal one, but I use my profile daily to promote my employer’s brand too. Why do you say not to link to employer’s website?

    Thanks. Good piece.

    • Great question. Two perspectives.

      1. If you’re a/the principal with the company or if you’re primary role is sales, then yes, I would include your company’s web site.

      2. Your LinkedIn profile is about your professional identity. If you’ve already listed your employer, their website is 1-2 clicks away. You want to promote *you*, e.g. your web/blog site. Does listing (for arguments sake) Microsoft’s website in your #LI profile help your SEO?

      Your mileage may vary.

      • Thanks for the reply Rick. That makes sense. Also like the graphic of the connection map and am generating mine now.

        I’m preparing a presentation for a group of business owners in my industry and trying to focus on “best practices” for LinkedIn. My erase arch so far says there are some good ideas but it is still the Wild West on LinkedIn and not so many definitive best practices.

        Thanks.

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