Image by smi23le on Flickr.
Guest post by Anthony Piwarun
Like most in the SEO (search engine optimization) community, I’m always looking for ways to improve content for my clients. Whether it’s a website, blog or a press release, there is always a way to make it rank better. Recently I began optimizing profiles on LinkedIn, the social networking site for business professionals. Using my own LinkedIn profile as a test, I’ve discovered that the same principles we use in the SEO field.
For two months, I altered various fields of my profile and logged the effect on the number of searches that it appeared in according to LinkedIn analytics. While I’m not one to rely heavily on a single method of measurement, LinkedIn doesn’t offer an option for analytics so my primary method of measurement was the in-house tracking system. The results I found were conclusive: It is possible to optimize your LinkedIn profile to rank better in search.
Before diving into the results of my study, I’d like to point out a few areas that I believe are key to achieving an optimized LinkedIn profile and also give a brief “how-to” on optimization techniques.
How to handle the profile headline
The first and most important field to optimize on your LinkedIn profile is the headline. The headline field can be most equated to a meta description in SEO terminology. It’s a way to explain what you do and how you do it (in as few words as possible) to the world without having to use one of those awful labels known as a “job title.”
For my headline, I opted to go with three keywords and my contact information. For those that aren’t too familiar with LinkedIn, contacting a non-connection isn’t easy unless you’re in the same group or you have a mutual friend, so adding contact information is helpful for new business development. Like its SEO counterpart the meta description, it’s the first thing a searcher sees when searching on LinkedIn.
A LinkedIn summary is a chance to describe who you are, what you want to accomplish, and what you aspire to be. In SEO terms, I like to think of it as the first 100 words of the page. This is a great opportunity to add a ton of keywords, related terms, and longer, more descriptive strings. While it’s important to use your targeted phrase a few times throughout your summary, keep in mind this is a professional profile and if you sound like a robot you most likely won’t win the bid, get hired, or be able to go more than 4 consecutive hours without your coworkers calling you R2D2. Just like any effective website, a LinkedIn profile optimized with user experience in mind will get the sale long before a keyword-stuffed can of Spam.