SEO on LinkedIn is too often overlooked, and it’s time you start viewing LinkedIn, just like Google, as a search engine. With access to a whole network of professionals, the opportunities for those who are savvy enough can be endless. LinkedIn is the most popular platform for B2B companies to acquire new clients so being able to optimize your LinkedIn presence has a whole array of potential benefits – both for your personal profile and also for your business.
Due to its high domain authority, search engines deliver a lot of results from LinkedIn in the SERPs for certain search terms, particularly those revolving around job roles. This post considers how you can stand out and how to occupy the top spot for your business.
Devil in the detail
The first step is to fill out as much of your profile as you possibly can. Don’t be lazy and avoid cutting corners – provide the details which will help to elevate your profile. But don’t just mindlessly fill in all the fields; make sure to be descriptive, engaging and use carefully chosen words. Keep it descriptive but to the point through revealing the important information but leave a tad of intrigue. Use bullet points or lists to make it more digestible and encouraging to read.
Remember to upload a clear, professional picture. If you still have your graduation picture, it gives the wrong impression and suggests you are a university grad, not a respected professional with three years of valuable experience under your belt. Right or wrong, consciously or subconsciously, people will inevitably base their first impressions on your picture. Give it a little thought and don’t just publish a pixelated picture from that bar the other night. As a final picture tip, make sure it is named appropriately to increase your chances of appearing in image searches.
Think in keywords
Just like you target certain keywords when optimizing a website, you need to do the same when optimizing your LinkedIn and give considerable thought to user intent when approaching the SEO of a website.
As with optimizing a website, be sure not to overdo keywords. It’ll be so obvious to anyone reading if you’ve stuffed the keyword ‘content marketing expert’ into one paragraph seven times. Remember to be engaging and genuinely interesting. Getting people to find you is only the first step – what’s going to make them ‘convert’, or hit you up with a snazzy job offer / potential new business?
Make use of the summary section to further amplify your keywords. This is likely the first section people will read on your profile, so it goes without saying that you need to make it absolutely flipping fantastic. Self-promotion is great, but put the focus on how you help others. People aren’t visiting your profile to see you congratulate yourself; the chances are that they want something and you need to demonstrate how you’re the right person to speak with.
Customize your URL
If you’ve never previously thought about this, then just take a second to glance at the URL for your LinkedIn profile. A vague reference to your name is not helpful for anyone, particularly not for search engines. Take a second to update your custom URL to something that includes your full name. If you’ve got a painfully common name like myself then you may need to be a bit creative, but keep it professional and as clear as possible. An easy way of doing this is to think whether you’d be happy seeing that URL on your business card.
Network as much as is socially acceptable
LinkedIn is, at the end of day, an online space for networking. So don’t just make your profile pretty – you’ve got to use it. In a very similar way to building links in SEO, if you haven’t got any connections on LinkedIn then you’re far less likely to appear in the search results.
Networking is arguably one of the most important points here. LinkedIn’s search algorithm is based first and foremost on showing people with similar connections and groups. You’ve probably noticed that the results which are prioritized when you search on LinkedIn are those with 1st, 2nd or even 3rd level connections to you. It, therefore, follows that the more people you are connected with on LinkedIn, the more likely you are to show up in the search results. It’s a social network after all, so be social, and network.
Engagement and interaction
You’ve got opinions, so share them. You’ve got expert knowledge, so divulge it. You’ve got a voice, so use it. Like any social network, it’s absolutely imperative to engage with people if you want to make the most out of it. Although this may not directly increase your chances of being found in the search results, it does increase your exposure to other people on LinkedIn. And one thing always leads to another.
Participate in groups
This is an extension of the points about engaging and networking. Groups are an excellent way of finding like-minded people in your industry. Spend some time identifying the groups most relevant to your expertise and profession. It also makes you more visible, as joining a group with thousands of people will suddenly make you more relevant to them in terms of the search results. You’ve got nothing to lose and you’ll probably gain a lot along the way.
Nobody seems to know whether or not a higher number of endorsements or recommendations helps your profile appear higher in the search results. Either way, it’s certainly worth trying to collect as many of these as possible. Just like buying a product based on positive reviews, it’s the same theory for hiring humans. Endorsements and recommendations imbue a level of confidence and trust in the authority and credentials of a given person or business.
Just being really good at what you do, sitting back and waiting for the endorsements to come in probably isn’t going to cut it. Take a proactive approach and start endorsing or recommending people in your network. Don’t expect to get anything back as standard, but with any luck, you’ll get at least some people to return the favor.
Sharing is caring
Let’s admit it, one of the primary functions of LinkedIn is shameless self-promotion. This is a place where you can proudly share your work, show it off to the world, and create open discussions. Just remember that sharing is caring but oversharing is overbearing. As long as you are sharing content and updates which are genuinely interesting and provide value to people, then you’re golden. Don’t approach it as a way to stroke your ego – that’s a recipe for disaster – rather, it’s about collaborating on ideas and sharing value. In short, it’ a great way of interacting with your network and reaching new people. This leads to new connections and a wider network and, a better chance at ranking highly.
Publish posts on LinkedIn
This is different to sharing articles you’ve written elsewhere. Just click on ‘Write an article’ underneath the status update and lay down your best words. Pushing out content as part of an SEO strategy helps boost your authority and ramp up those rankings and the same goes for LinkedIn. Publish some brilliant articles and you’ll be hailed as the go-to industry expert in no time at all. Actually, it does take a bit of time but it’s absolutely worth doing if you are looking to build your LinkedIn profile and enhance your personal brand.
Writing optimized content for LinkedIn is no different to writing content as part of an SEO campaign with all the same rules applying. You can also repurpose content you’ve written elsewhere – just don’t duplicate content because we all know how Google feels about that. For example, if you have an article on your blog that’s no longer doing particularly well, it’s worth including a synopsis of the post as an article on LinkedIn and then link to the full article on your blog. This can also work vice versa.
Generate links to your profile
If you’re even a little bit familiar with the world of digital marketing then you’ll understand the importance of backlinks. It’s no different when you’re trying to rank your LinkedIn profile higher. Always be aware of trying to gain backlinks to your LinkedIn profile at every possible opportunity.
If you’ve got a blog, be sure to link back to your profile. Add a link to your email signature. Promote your LinkedIn profile across other social media accounts. Guest posting is another great way to build on those links, as it’s very common practice to include social links in your author bio. You’ll then find a snowball effect – the more links you have, the more people will see your profile, the more people will engage with you, the higher your profile will rank and the more links you’ll get… you get the idea.
Many of the above points can be applied to both your personal profile and your business page. Make the most of SEO on LinkedIn and you’ll be able to reach new audiences, generate leads and build on your professional profile. As a final point, don’t forget to make absolutely sure that your LinkedIn public profile is visible and not hidden.