Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Better Search Results
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on February 3, 2013. It has been updated for accuracy and to reflect current data.
With more than 332 million registered users, LinkedIn is surpassing other platforms as the premier social media outlet for businesses. Nine in ten recruiters use LinkedIn to find eligible job candidates and more than half of B2B companies are finding customers through LinkedIn, which makes it even more critical for your profile to be found.
Just as it is crucial for your website to be optimized for search results, so too should your LinkedIn profile be SEO'd to attract viewers. Implementing these 13 tips will help you boost the search results of your LinkedIn profile both natively in LinkedIn and in Google.
1. Use Anchor Text in Links
Every LinkedIn profile can list as many as 3 links. The default options include “Company Website” and “Blog,” and these just aren’t very SEO-friendly. You can customize the anchor text in your URLs by selecting the “Other” option. Use a keyword-rich title, such as “My Inbound Marketing Blog.”
2. Finish Your Profile
This one is almost a no-brainer. However, far too many of us haven’t taken the time to fully complete our LinkedIn profiles, and that includes not adding a (professional-looking) photograph. Ask for and give recommendations , fill out every single section and use LinkedIn’s help to guide your profile to completion.
3. Keyword-Optimize Your Job Titles
We’re definitely not recommending you describe your last position as “Management,” when it was more administrative. However, optimizing your job titles slightly to include a few keywords is just smart. Instead of “Blog Manager,” bait search engines by clarifying “Inbound Marketing Strategy Blog Manager.”
4. Maximize Your Group Membership
Joining and participating in relevant groups won’t just expand your network, but it can improve your profile’s SEO. Since the group names appear on your profile, search engines have no choice but to crawl the titles and learn more about who you are and what you do. Not only will joining industry-relevant groups improve the keywords on your profile but local groups like “Nashville Marketing Professionals” can help with geo-targeted SEO.
5. Aggressively Expand Your Network
If your LinkedIn network is one-fourth the size of your Facebook connections, it might be time to search your email contacts. Plus, it’s the perfect platform for connecting with colleagues but still maintaining a semblance of work-life separation on social media. Entrepreneur Rick Stomphorst writes: “[LinkedIn search results] elevate results for connections within a network (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd level connections, groups). Therefore...you need to be connected to as many people as possible.”
6. Optimize Your Job Descriptions
Instead of writing out full paragraphs, use a wide variety of relevant keywords in bullet-pointed lists. Formatting your descriptions will also increase your profile’s scannability.
7. Claim Your Vanity URL
The fundamental SEO benefits of claiming your vanity URL may be minimal, but it’s just good business. Connecting your LinkedIn profile to your name will allow you to be found easier by real-life connections. It will also let you add your custom URL to business cards.
8. Don’t Keyword Stuff
While you never want to hide what it is you do from search engines, repeating the same keyword ad naseum throughout your profile isn’t going to give you much search benefit. Take an approach of optimizing around secondary keywords that are still relevant and descriptive of your skill set.
9. Promote Your LinkedIn Profile Elsewhere
Put a link to your LinkedIn profile on your email signature, your Facebook, Twitter Google+ accounts and any websites you maintain to create inbound links.
10. Be Vigilant About Building Recommendations
Turns out, recommendations may have more benefit than just making you look likeable to potential employers. Stormphorst believes 10 or more recommendations will elevate your profile’s search ranking.
11. Leave No Field Blank
Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t leave too much to the imagination. Fully optimize your Honors & Awards and Languages. Again, including a photograph and samples of your work are important components of completing your profile.
12. Shamelessly Self-Promote
There’s little hard-and-fast evidence that promoting your latest eBook or high-performing blog content in the projects section of your profile will improve your SEO, but some believe it works in your benefit. Besides, being able to increase the visibility of your latest content marketing project certainly can’t hurt, right?
13. Keep Collecting Endorsements
Skill endorsements are a great way to recognize your connections' strengths and have your conenction validate your own skills and strengths as well. Endorsements increase the strength of your profile and help keep you connected to your network. While these may not have carry as much weight as other elements of your profile, endorsements help add to the overall value of your professional profile.
Want to learn more? Check out our LinkedIn Infographic!