Best Search Engine Optimization Practices for More LinkedIn Profile Exposure

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LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social media platforms, as its value has grown far beyond that of a tool for finding and posting jobs. With people engaging with LinkedIn content at record rates in their newsfeeds (doubled over the past year), there is an opportunity to grow your brand regardless of personal or business goals. 

Whether you are using your LinkedIn profile to develop a personal brand, to seek job opportunities, or implementing a LinkedIn marketing strategy to promote your business, getting more exposure for your profile is beneficial. Follow the tips below to help people better discover your profile in search engines and LinkedIn search results:

1. Leverage Profile Links

LinkedIn gives you the ability to customize your profile URL. Leaving the combination of random numbers and letters that are auto generated for your profile URL will make it hard for people to remember your profile, and will impact its rankings in search engines when people search for your name. By creating a profile URL that includes your name, you take the opportunity to brand your URL and increase discoverability. 

Adding links within the content of your profile is another SEO opportunity, as you can give beneficial backlinks to web properties like your other social media profiles, blog, portfolio or personal website. When you add a link to your LinkedIn profile, you are prompted to categorize the link (i.e. portfolio). 

Rather than using the preset website categories, select the “other” option for categorizing your website link. This will allow you to insert keywords in the link’s title, and to include a description that features your keywords. This will have the dual benefit of driving traffic toward your website by giving it a valuable backlink to improve its SEO, and giving you the opportunity to add more keywords to your LinkedIn profile to improve its own search results. 

2. Research Other People in Your Industry

Conducting research on the profiles of leaders and colleagues in your industry will reveal tips for the ways in which they brand themselves, the keywords they use in their profile sections, and a reference for positioning yourself in a similar fashion. For example, if someone has a job title you aspire to reach yourself, or owns a business similar to yours in your niche, researching the way in which they utilize their LinkedIn profile can reveal tips for your own profile optimization.

In particular, checking to see what terms they use in their profile descriptions, bio, and descriptions of their job roles will inform your own approach to using keywords on your profile. Once you’ve collected a list of key terms that are common across profiles in your industry, check this list using a keyword tool like the Google Adwords Keyword Tool or SEMrush to see how competitive these terms are, their search volume, and to generate other keyword ideas for your industry niche. 

Include keywords on your LinkedIn profile that have a combination of high search volume, and medium or low competition (if possible). Including these keywords on your profile will improve its search engine ranking when someone is searching for phrases associated with your profession and skillset. 

Places to Include Keywords on Your LinkedIn Profile:

  • Profile headline
  • Bio
  • Descriptions of your current job role. Summarize what you do in your current role and add a bulleted list of your job duties, strategically placing keywords in each
  • Your custom profile URL
  • Profile link category and URL (see profile links tip above)
  • Within the skills you list on your profile (see LinkedIn skills tips below)

3. Include Links to Your Profile on Other Websites

Backlinks are a key factor in determining search performance for web pages, and this concept applies to LinkedIn profile SEO as well. Finding relevant places to share a link to your LinkedIn profile will increase the likelihood that people visit your profile, and increase engagement for your content.

Places you can include a LinkedIn profile link to increase exposure: 

  • Your email signature
  • Your personal brand portfolio website
  • The URL in other social media profiles, like Twitter and Instagram
  • The ‘About’ page on your business’s website. This helps people know the people behind your business, and allows you to leverage your personal brand to add credibility to your company
  • Email newsletter footers
  • Website footers
  • Include the URL on your physical business card (this is where the personalized URL above comes in handy)
  • Provide your profile URL any time someone is going to list you on their website. For example, if you are ever speaking at an industry event and they list you as a speaker on the event website, or if you provide a testimonial for a company’s website.

4. Add Skills to Your Profile

The skills section on your profile is one to be sure not to leave blank. Not only does this display relevant skills on your profile for visitors to see, it also gives you the opportunity to gain credibility through skill endorsements and to improve your profile visibility in search results. 

Check the skills section on the profiles of your industry peers, or job postings for job roles you want so that you can display skills that cater to your target audience of potential customers for your brand, or potential employers. This step is important, because it will show you the common keywords people are using to describe skills. Otherwise, you risk phrasing them in a way that doesn’t match what is most common in your industry, and limiting your profile’s exposure. 

For example, a designer might list Adobe Photoshop as a skill on their profile, but it may be more common for designers in that industry to list Adobe Creative Cloud or Adobe Creative Suite as the phrasing for that particular skill set rather than getting specific about a particular piece of software within the suite. Matching the most common phrasing will increase the likelihood that your profile is found by your audience. 

5. Display Your Work

LinkedIn features several opportunities to display your work, and add additional content to your profile that improves its appearance in search results. Add materials like PDFs, blog URLs, images, and videos to your profile that display your work, and add more rich content to your profile that promotes search results. 

Opportunities to Feature Your Work on Your LinkedIn Profile:

  • The professional experience and education sections of your profile allow you to include links to URLs and files that show your work. Try adding a few documents and URLs from previous job roles that show your work in order to add more SEO friendly content to your profile.
  • The ‘Featured’ section at the top of your profile allows you to highlight one of your LinkedIn post updates, complete with a URL and preview image for it.
  • Link your portfolio or website in the profile link section mentioned in the tips above.
  • Share your work via LinkedIn post updates. This will share them with your network, and also automatically add them to the activity section on your profile.

6. Give and Receive LinkedIn Recommendations

There is clear value to having recommendations on your profile, as they represent testimonials for your work, personal brand, and your business. Aside from that obvious component, they also represent an additional text field that contributes to your profile appearing in search results.

To increase the likelihood that someone writes a recommendation for you, try writing recommendations for others first. It is common practice for someone to return the favor if you provide a recommendation to an individual with whom you’ve had a positive professional experience. Try writing 5 or 10 recommendations for other people in your network, and see if it yields any recommendations of your own. Coworkers, former coworkers, classmates, professors, and old bosses are all good targets for LinkedIn recommendations. 

An added SEO benefit that recommendations create is that they are also listed on the profile of the person who wrote it for you, creating an additional link to your profile.

7. Post Frequent Updates 

If you think about your LinkedIn profile in the same sense as a website, you want backlinks to your profile. Backlinks offer avenues for people to find your profile by clicking them and being referred to your profile, just like website referral traffic. Posting LinkedIn updates is one of the easiest and most effective ways to create backlinks to your profile.

Posting videos, photos, and text updates that appear in people’s newsfeeds will create links back to your profile. The same is true for publishing articles on LinkedIn Pulse. Not only does posting updates create a web of content that leads people back to your profile, these updates are also stored on your profile under the recent activity section, which adds additional search friendly content to it.

For more ideas for LinkedIn posts that can increase exposure for your profile, check out these LinkedIn marketing content ideas.

8. Be an Active Member of Your LinkedIn Community

Just like with website SEO, filling your site, or in this case, your LinkedIn profile with keywords and rich content provides the foundation for appearing in search results. The next critical step once your profile is complete is community engagement. LinkedIn’s core functionality as a social network means that its algorithm favors individuals and company pages that contribute to conversations by showing their content more, and driving more traffic to their profiles and pages. 

In addition to posting frequent updates, be sure to respond to any comments you receive on your updates. This type of organic engagement is the best type you can receive, and it will not only increase engagement on that particular post, it will raise awareness for your personal brand and your profile.

Aside from responding to comments on your updates, look for opportunities to respond to popular updates that appear in your newsfeed. Engaging in conversations with industry peers and weighing in on industry trends on popular posts will drive more traffic to your profile and organically expand your network by helping you create real connections with other users.

Joining groups is another way to increase exposure for your profile. Whether you’re trying to appeal to recruiters, network, or discover potential customers, LinkedIn groups offer the opportunity to engage in conversation around your industry’s trending topics. Try joining groups within your niche to add new layers to your network on the platform.

Get more tips for being active on LinkedIn in this article about leveraging LinkedIn profiles for brand development.

Regardless of your goals on the platform, having a LinkedIn marketing strategy that includes SEO for your profile will have benefits across your personal brand and business interests. Follow the tips above to improve the search results for your own LinkedIn profile within search engines, as well as organic search results on the platform.

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