LinkedIn Profile SEO

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for SEO

In case you haven’t heard, LinkedIn has now attracted more than 500 million members – becoming a hotbed of job search activity, with recruiters pursuing desirable candidates and job seekers vying for attention from hiring decision-makers.

With such fierce competition, you’ll need to employ aggressive keyword and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) 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.

Executive Resume Writer

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, using powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC

How to write your LinkedIn Headline

A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline

Far from being just a placeholder, your LinkedIn Profile Headline has an important job to do. If you’ve adjusted it to market you effectively, it can represent your personal brand and become an online promotional workhorse.

The most highly indexed part of your Profile (next to your name), your Headline allows recruiters and employers to locate you, based on the search terms or keywords you specify… so if you’ve filled in only part of the Headline or let LinkedIn populate it with your current job title (the default value), you could be missing out on valuable traffic to your Profile. Don’t let that happen!

Instead, use as many of the 120 characters available in your Headline – ensuring that it represents your career level and personal brand, while distinguishing you from your competition. Try the following formula when you’re stumped for an effective LinkedIn Headline that leverages your industry expertise, achievements, and keywords: Continue reading “A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline”

How to Win Your Next Executive Job in 2017

executive_job_search_2017Seeking a change in your C-suite role, or rising to an executive position for the first time in 2017?

Your job search has changed – substantially.

If you haven’t kept abreast of the latest trends in executive job search, prepare to be surprised. For example, most CEOs, CFOs, and COOs eschewed the use of LinkedIn for many years. However, social media use has finally taken hold among executives, with the average CEO now possessing more than 900 connections on the site. In addition, most headhunters will now spend considerable time assessing your digital identity before presenting you to client companies.

While longstanding job search strategies, such relationship-building and networking, are still of value, many employers have now turned to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes by keyword density and skills matching. You’ll also find a constantly expanding group of online resources at your fingertips for nearly every topic from company research to executive interview tips.

Read on for important trends and actions of impact to your 2017 executive job search: Continue reading “How to Win Your Next Executive Job in 2017”

How to Double – And Triple! – Your LinkedIn Traffic With SEO

LinkedIn_SEOBuilt a LinkedIn Profile that doesn’t seem to be “working” for your job search?

You might not be drawing enough traffic to it.

Years ago, I realized that applying Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques on my Profile attracted more traffic. Applying my knowledge of web SEO and database optimization, I was able to draw a sizable audience on LinkedIn, with just a few tweaks based on what I noticed in the site’s search algorithms.

The good news? I’ve figured this out so YOU don’t have to — and it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Continue reading “How to Double – And Triple! – Your LinkedIn Traffic With SEO”

What’s The Secret to Getting Hired From LinkedIn? (Part 5: Your Follow-Up)

LinkedIn Follow-upNot sure why LinkedIn isn’t working for your job search? 

If so, you’ll need to check out these strategies used by successful job hunters:

Here’s the last, critical step in getting results from LinkedIn:

5 – You DO need to use LinkedIn for follow-up.

Applying to an online posting (on LinkedIn or elsewhere) is no longer a good idea without some form of follow-up.

If you have any way of finding out the company name, great. If you have any method of getting the hiring manager’s name, excellent!

To access this information, comb through a list of employees at the target company (perform a Company Search on LinkedIn, of course). Identify the most likely person there who would hire you (usually 1 or 2 levels above your ideal job).

Next, read the company’s press and look at what’s going on in the industry. Your mission is to determine their pain points. Why do they need to hire you? What’s happening in this company that requires your expertise?

Then, use the contact name you identified to reach out. Send an email, LinkedIn InMail, or even an FedEx overnight letter. Explain that you applied online and want to follow up, or better yet, explain how you’ve identified the key areas of need at this company, and how you can help.

Whether you’re doing this in reply to an online job announcement, or just looking at likely employers to pursue, the process is the same. See how much more personal and focused you can be with this approach?

In short, if you’re still wondering if you missed the LinkedIn train to job search success, the answer is yes.

Now go out and sharpen your approach with these extra steps to get more employer attention!

Need a competitive edge in your job search?

As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate – PLUS arm you with the job search tools that will get you hired faster.

My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Google, Disney, and Pfizer, plus niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results my expertise can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC 

What’s the Secret to Getting Hired From LinkedIn? (Part 3: Analyzing Your Competition)

LinkedIn CompetitionWondering if LinkedIn will REALLY help you land your next job? This strategy is another part of my series in answering these common LinkedIn job search questions:  

“Why are others getting hired off LinkedIn, but not me? What am I doing wrong?”

Part 1 (Build More Connections) and Part 2 (Set Your Strategy for Groups) may already be actions you’ve missed.

Here’s the next step in maximizing LinkedIn for your job search:

3 – You DO need to use LinkedIn to check out your competition.

Let’s say you applied to 12 jobs last month on LinkedIn, but you didn’t hear anything back. Now what?

First of all, figure out who your competition was for these jobs. That’s right – I’m suggesting you look for candidates the same way recruiters would look for YOU.

Use the “search for people, jobs, companies, more…” function at the top of your LinkedIn page, but click on Advanced next to it for a more robust search.

Enter Keywords, Job Titles, and other criteria; change these until you get the most likely candidates for your target jobs (people with job titles and locations similar to yours). Now, you’re looking at your competition!

Do you see any consistent pattern in their skills or career backgrounds that differ from yours? If so, you may need to either adjust your career goal, or set out to learn new competencies.

After all, if you can find these job hunters, so can recruiters.

If you don’t take these steps, you’ll continue to apply to jobs on LinkedIn, and continue to be passed over in favor of these candidates.

Up next: What’s the Secret to Getting Hired From LinkedIn? (Part 4: Improving Your Findability)

Need a competitive edge in your job search?

As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate – PLUS arm you with the job search tools that will get you hired faster.

My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Google, Disney, and Pfizer, plus niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results my expertise can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC