Making sure your profile can be found on LinkedIn® is super important because you are one of 249 MILLION people vying for profile attention. Today, when we think of finding something, we think of Google or any search engine where we know our needle in the haystack item is just a search button-click away. You, essentially, are an online product on LinkedIn® (just like items you search for on Amazon). You are a professional brand. A professional brand is no good to you unless you are positioned in a way that allows you to be searched (and found). On LinkedIn® (and any search engine), this requires basic knowledge of SEO.
What is SEO, you ask?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization” or simply: the art of being found amongst all the internet clutter. It’s what determines where you appear or rank in the search results. Are you on page one of the results, toward the top? (YAY)! OR are you on page 35 (you know it as the page you never get to when you’re trying to find the best online results).
Why is SEO important for LinkedIn®?
SEO is super important for LinkedIn® because if you think about it – the only purpose for being on LinkedIn® is to find or be found. And quite honestly, when it comes to the job search, the only thing better than having to apply for a new job (increasing sales, becoming an industry influencer, insert your goal here) is being found by a hiring manager, startup, client, key contact, or recruiter.
How does SEO work on LinkedIn®?
Where you rank in LinkedIn® search results is based on your relevancy to the searcher. (Take a moment to digest). This means even if you and I performed the exact same keyword search, our results would be entirely different. So being relevant to many searchers on LinkedIn® is important.
What can you do to boost your LinkedIn® relevance?
Knowing how to be relevant on LinkedIn® is important for SEO and is also fairly simple to apply. Even if you don’t understand SEO in full, there are 4 simple steps to becoming more relevant in your LinkedIn® profile SEO.
1. Complete Profile
Your profile must be 100% complete. A complete profile is indicated in the status bar on the top right side of your profile page.
2. Add Skills
Skills can be added towards the bottom of your LinkedIn® profile and are important because many people search for LinkedIn® members using skills keywords. While you can add as many skills as you want it’s important to have a minimum of 3 (for profile completeness). It’s also important to keep your most valued skills towards the top of the list as these will be the skills that are pushed out to your contacts for endorsements. The skills with the greatest number of endorsements will make you more relevant when searched by the particular skill keyword.
3. Connect to People (2nd and 3rd Degree Connections Count)
When searching for contacts based on keywords, part of the way results are ranked is associated with the degree of connectivity to the searcher. Therefore if you are a first degree connection with someone, you will likely appear higher up in the results. The same goes for 2nd and 3rd degree connections. The larger your network, the more relevant you become so the best strategy is to to connect and keep on connecting so you can grow your network as large as possible.
4. Use Standard Job Titles
Last but not least you should use standard job titles when creating the “Experience” section of your profile. Similar to skills keywords, title keywords are also a popular way to search for LinkedIn® members. For example, if you have a standard title like “Accountant” it’s likely you will do well when another member searches keyword: “Accountant.” However if you have a more creative or less standard title like some of the titles used at startups, it’s unlikely that the average LinkedIn® member will think or even know to search for your specific title. For example I just came across someone at a newer company, with the title, “Customer Coach.” Now it’s likely they are serving the role of Customer Service or Support. If I were to try and find someone to recruit for my Customer Service team, and this Customer Coach was the absolute perfect fit, I might never find her profile given the creative title.
So take a moment to brush up your relevance factor and rest assured that you’ll be on your way to a more optimized profile.