In case you haven’t heard, LinkedIn now has 500+ million members – establishing itself as a hotbed of job search activity, with recruiters pursuing candidates and job seekers vying for attention from hiring decision-makers.
With such fierce competition, you’ll need to employ aggressive keyword and SEO strategies in order to be found for a choice job.
Here are the best ways to boost your findability on LinkedIn and optimize your Profile for SEO, including search algorithm strategy and keyword adjustments:
1 – Add Keywords Representing Your Top Skills.
Keywords, otherwise known as skills and areas of competency, are not a new concept for job seekers. Resumes are routinely passed through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), where they’re scanned to ensure an adequate match on a set of pre-defined, desirable capabilities.
On LinkedIn, recruiters search for candidates using these same terms found in job descriptions, trying to find talented professionals. By adding these keywords to your Profile, you’ll ensure a stronger match on the strengths preferred by employers.
For example, the following keywords will be relevant to Sales Professional jobs: Prospecting, Customer Relationship Management, Salesforce, or Contract Negotiations. A Chief Information Officer can leverage keywords such as Enterprise Systems, Applications Development Oversight, Project Portfolios, or IT Operations.
To find keywords, first peruse job descriptions and look for common terms. By putting the job requirements into a word cloud application (such as Tag Crowd), you’ll be able to see which keywords are mentioned most frequently. For example, a Plant Manager job description yielded keywords such as Service, Compliance, Quality Regulations, and Safety.
The main reason to add keywords? You’ll never know exactly how employers are searching for candidates like you. Therefore, the more phrases you add on LinkedIn, the more likely you’ll be coming up in search results – improving your chances of becoming a viable candidate for an open job.
2 – Improve Keyword Density.
So you’ve now learned about keyword content and the reasons why your LinkedIn Profile should contain relevant skills, job titles, and competencies for better traffic. However, optimizing your LinkedIn Profile isn’t just a matter of keyword volume: it’s dependent on keyword density.
Density refers to the frequency of keywords relative to the overall number of words on your Profile. The good news? This doesn’t have to be a difficult task. If you want a stronger draw on a skill such as SAP Development, you’d simply add this phrase everywhere possible: in your Summary, Experience, Certifications, and Headline.
Keep in mind, however, that great SEO from just a few skill sets means you might miss out on other traffic. For example, a General Manager skilled in growing companies and managing functions such as manufacturing, sales, product development, and marketing might add only these terms on LinkedIn, but he or she could rank much lower on abilities such as Team-Building, Restructuring, or Mergers & Acquisitions.
It’s best to routinely review the keywords on your Profile and look for more ways to add them in multiple sections. By doing so, your Profile will more closely align with common skills in your field, with better density for each term.
3 – Remove “Fluff” Words From Your Profile.
In addition to boosting your keyword volume and density, you’ll also need to remove words that are not likely to represent your brand or ROI to an employer. For most job seekers, the terms Responsible For, Unemployed, Experienced, Professional, and Highly Accomplished are overused and do not add credibility on LinkedIn.
It also goes without saying that these words won’t help your LinkedIn SEO. By replacing these phrases with terms taken directly out of job descriptions, your keyword density will improve – and you can be taken more seriously by employers who find your credentials online.
4 – Employ Keywords in Highly Indexed Fields for Better SEO.
When deciding where and how to add search terms to your Profile, look no further than the site’s most highly indexed fields: Headline, Job Titles, and Certifications (your name field is actually the top most indexed field). While you can incorporate keywords into any part of LinkedIn, your Profile will have more “pull” if desirable terms appear in these areas.
It’s easiest to begin with the #2 indexed field, which is your Headline (see A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline). Fill in as many of the 120 characters allowed with keywords specific to your career, such as your desired job title, skills, and results, as shown in these examples:
Sales Engineer. Presales Leadership in Cloud, Virtualization, Infrastructure, & SaaS Channels. Consistent 120%+ of Quota
COO, VP Global Operations. Manufacturing Efficiency, Production Quality, Capacity Growth in APAC, US, Canada, & Europe
Portfolio & Project Manager. Rapid Deployment Using Agile XP in Multi-Site Environments. Team Direction & Mentoring
You can then repeat this process for other important fields, such as your Job Titles, where you can add a keyword next to your official title (VP of IT – Infrastructure Leadership or CFO, Global Forecasting & Accounting).
5 – Review & Optimize Your Keyword Strategy for Results.
If your LinkedIn Headline, Summary, Job Titles, and other sections are drawing the traffic you want, with plenty of employer views and inquiries, then your Profile is working perfectly! If not, you’ll want to swap out keywords and strengthen your Profile for better results, particularly if you’re in an active job search.
If you’ve recently made changes to key fields on LinkedIn for better SEO, it’s best to wait for at least a week to gauge any change in your LinkedIn connections or traffic.
In the meantime, run a search (using the Search feature at the top of the page) for people with similar titles or credentials. Make note of the keywords used in each Profile, and where they appear. You’ll gain insights on potential competitors in your field, as well as inspiration for changes you can apply to your own Profile.
The takeaway? Keyword strategy is an important part of a strong and effective LinkedIn Profile, enabling you to optimize it for SEO and a continual flow of traffic.
By staying on top of desirable skills in your field and adding terms that represent your expertise, you can reap better value from your LinkedIn presence.
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– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC