In my humble opinion, LinkedIn is the most important search engine, if you will, for employers, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs.
In fact, nearly 8,000 professionally-oriented searches are conducted on LinkedIn per minute — not a paltry number to consider if you’re looking to improve your online visibility.
If you want to create more productive online connections with people that can provide value to your business or your career, it’s high time you did something to make your LinkedIn profile more searchable.
If you haven’t created a LinkedIn profile yet, establishing one is as easy as signing up for an email account. The first thing you want to do before getting the word out about your profile is to complete it with relevant information that describes your professional achievements and what you do as an entrepreneur.
Focus on including things you believe people will find valuable, such as a skill that helps businesses achieve their desired bottom line.
You should also include contact information to make it easy for them to get in touch with you. And don’t forget to put a face on that profile. When you’ve completed the profile, you’ll want to get connected to people who matter.
Some entrepreneurs fail to capitalize on numerous opportunities to become highly visible in search. If you assume that all there is to LinkedIn is completing the profile and making connections, you’re not utilizing all it has to offer.
Most newbies tend to ignore LinkedIn features such as LinkedIn Answers, Recommendations, and Applications. These tools offer a whole range of terrific benefits that could make your profile very noticeable IF you bother to take advantage of them.
Let’s take a look at each of these features and discuss how they can be beneficial.
This is actually a personal favorite of mine. I’ve gathered a substantial number of leads with LinkedIn Answers. Sad to say, it is poorly utilized by many entrepreneurs. LinkedIn Answers allows you to pick a topic about which you are knowledgeable and promote your expertise by answering a few questions. This allows you to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
When you answer a question on LinkedIn Answers, your connections receive an alert, which makes you much more visible on their LinkedIn timeline.
If you need a boost in terms of trust and credibility, you can get that by making use of Recommendations. When a lot of people recommend you for your skill set and knowledge, other people will trust you more. As a consequence, your profile will appear on an increasing number of searches on LinkedIn.
However, you shouldn’t go asking all your connections to give you a recommendation. As with anything else, quality trumps quantity. Ask for recommendations, but try to concentrate on getting them from connections who possess very high authority and credibility.
You can enhance your LinkedIn profile with Applications. This feature adds value to your profile by helping you engage your connections.
Some of the applications you can take advantage of include Slideshare and Blog Link for WordPress. These two applications allow you to highlight your expertise and share valuable information across your connections.
As soon as you’ve optimized these areas on your LinkedIn profile, you are just about set. But there are a few more steps you should take to optimize your profile for search and make it easier for people to find you online.
The following are key areas on your profile that you need to optimize for search.
Start with keywords
Keywords form the basis of everything you need to do to improve your searchability online, and this goes for LinkedIn as well. The keywords you should choose are those that other people are most likely to type in to find you, based on your expertise. If you are a web developer, for example, use keyword research tools such as Google’s AdWords Keywords tool to identify terms that relate to your field.
After determining the best keywords, use them at strategic locations within your profile — such as in the summary, in links that point to your website, and in your professional headline.
Optimizing the professional headline
Your professional headline is second only to your name in terms of importance. In fact, for many, the professional headline is deemed the most important part of your profile in terms of value for search.
Be sure to insert keywords into your professional headline so that each time you get involved in certain activities on LinkedIn, such as participating in LinkedIn Answers, your professional headline shows up. Most importantly, your professional headline will make it a lot easier for potential clients to determine what you are all about.
Your LinkedIn profile URL
Your LinkedIn profile comes with a customizable URL. My profile URL is www.linkedin.com/in/charlemagnesolanor. By including your name in your profile URL, you will not only make it look professional, but more importantly, it will help you rank better in search. To change your profile URL, log in to your account and go to Profile > Edit Profile > look for your professional URL right below your photo > click Edit.
Include Skills and Expertise
Whatever your skills and expertise are, include the details in your profile. This is one of LinkedIn’s coolest features. You are more likely to get recommended by colleagues and people who know you very well for your skills and expertise, especially if they see them in your profile.
The Skills and Expertise section can be found just below the Experience section. Include as many items as you can, as long as they are related to what you are known for and have accomplished. These also serve as keyword-optimized tags to help search engines determine how you should rank in search.
Evaluate your standing
See how you stack up against the competition. To know where you stand, use LinkedIn’s search feature, which can be found on the upper right area of your profile. Type in your skill or expertise; for example, web developer.
Did your profile appear in the search results? If not, you may need to tweak your profile a little more. One of the best ways to find out how people are using LinkedIn properly is to pick any one of the people who appears on the search result, especially the ones among the top five. Study their profiles. See what they are doing right that you might be able to incorporate into your profile.
As with anything of value, optimizing your LinkedIn profile takes some sweat to make it work. If you apply the tips outlined in this post, in time you will see your profile appear for most searches that relate to your skills and expertise . . . not only on LinkedIn, but also on the search engines.