What do you do when you want to learn more about a product or service? I bet the first thing you do is go to Google and search the internet.
With so much data available to us today, search engines are an integral part of our life. When you search Google, you can find information about literally anything in seconds.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is similar to optimizing your website or blog, so you can rank highly in Google.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile not only helps people find your profile through the search function, it helps LinkedIn recommend people to connect with, companies you may be interested in, or your perfect job.
LinkedIn scans your profile and uses your keyword phrases, to make targeted recommendations for you. The more targeted your profile is, the more targeted the LinkedIn suggestions will be.
Once your LinkedIn profile is fine-tuned, you will see targeted recommendations in your sidebar every time you log in. The LinkedIn algorithm is a very powerful, artificial intelligence tool.
The most important component of search engine optimization is keyword selection. Search engines use keywords and phrases to find and rank websites.
The crawler or spider-based search engines—so called because they sift through websites and add keywords to their databases—sort through millions of websites by following an algorithm, or set of rules.
LinkedIn has its own search algorithm, which ranks user profiles on a number of factors including your keywords. The more focused your keyword phrases are, the more your profile will stand out.
To increase your chances of having your LinkedIn profile rank highly, use your keywords in these sections of your profile:
- Profile Headline
- Current Work Experience
- Past Work Experience
Think about these questions while creating your list of keyword phrases:
- What are your skills?
- What is your expertise?
- What job titles best describe you or the job you are looking for?
- What makes you different from your competitors?
- What makes you better than your competitors?
If you are like most people, you have a hard time describing your skills and areas of expertise, so you’re struggling to come up with your keyword list.
If you’re struggling to come up with a list of what you’re really good at, ask your friends or colleagues. They’ll be glad to tell you what you’re good at (and what you’re not so good at, if you’re brave enough to ask!).
LinkedIn Ranking Factors
My clients and students frequently ask me what determines the search rankings on LinkedIn. Some of the ranking factors are as obvious as I’ve shown in previous examples.
Use your target keywords as your last name field, in your professional headline and in your profile summary.
As obvious as these seem, LinkedIn doesn’t officially tell us what determines our search rank.
LinkedIn uses proprietary algorithms to rank and order the results you get, when you search for people on the site.
- There's no single rank for LinkedIn search. Unlike the standard search engines, we generate relevance scores uniquely for each member. Even though a query will return the same results for everyone, the order is determined in part by the profile, activity, and connections of the person searching. Testing a query from a handful of users is not likely to reflect the overall rank any profile has across the millions of queries that LinkedIn has every day. A closer measure would be the number of views your profile gets, which you can learn about in the Who's Viewed Your Profile section on your homepage.
- Searcher relevance is based on a variety of factors. Relevance is a proprietary algorithm that we are constantly improving. Our goal is to optimize search results for the searcher. Before we return results, we consider the searcher's activity on LinkedIn, the profiles returned by the query, and other members who have run similar searches in determining the sort order. These, along with other factors, combine to provide us with data to improve the overall quality of our members' search results.
- More keywords aren't always better. Our advice would be to only include the keywords, including repeated keywords, in your profile that best reflect your expertise and experience. If you integrate an extended list of keywords into your profile, you're likely showing up in a high number of searches. The question you need to ask yourself, however, is whether members consider your profile relevant to their search. If not, their behavior as a collective group may be influencing the algorithm used to rank you in search results.
Keep these things in mind as you optimize your profile and you’ll be found easily, by the people you most want to get to know.