Out of the box, LinkedIn is a pretty fantastic tool for anyone looking to promote their business or especially for anyone looking for a new job in these turbulent economic times. To really get the most from LinkedIn, you need to attract search engine traffic, and there are some minor tweaks you can make to your profile that will make all the difference in the level of search engine success you enjoy.
Here are my top 5 LinkedIn SEO tips:
1. Vanity URLS
When you first create your LinkedIn profile, you get a numeric profile name, which is fine for LinkedIn itself in terms of keeping track of you. For real human visitors and search engine spiders, this means absolutely nothing, and from a human point of view, a string of numbers can be very difficult to remember. You have the option of creating what's called a vanity URL within LinkedIn to change that numeric string to your own name. This is far more search engine friendly, not to mention user friendly and business card friendly.
2. Profile Keywords
You've written a great profile about yourself and really tried to promote yourself as effectively as possible in there. Now the search engines can crawl your profile and serve it up in relevant search results, thanks to the industry or niche related keywords that you included in your text. You did include these types of keywords in your profile description, right? It's okay: most people forget to do this step, but it's a critical step in optimizing your profile for search engines. All you need to do is sprinkle some keywords related to your business or your job function naturally in your profile text to help Google and Bing get a better angle on who you are and what you can do, and to enable searchers to find you. (Not sure what keywords to use? Try WordStream's keyword tool.)
3. DoFollow URLs
LinkedIn is one of the few social networking sites that actually allows you to include what are called DoFollow links as part of your profile. A DoFollow link is one that passes some search engine love (as in authority and link value) from the LinkedIn site to whatever sites you choose. As a matter of fact, you get to use three DoFollow links that can point to your company site, your blog or even your Twitter account, so make use of these - they're extremely valuable. Oh, and don't abuse this feature, otherwise you run the risk of LinkedIn making these links NoFollow which will ruin it for everyone.
4. Add Content
Google puts a lot of value in content that's shared on LinkedIn, so make the most of this by adding new content on a regular basis. Don't spam LinkedIn by adding a bunch of irrelevant content, but as news and information becomes available that's related to your job or your industry, then make sure to include it as part of your LinkedIn updates or blog.
You can and should be tracking the traffic and keywords used to find your LinkedIn profile, and one way of doing this is using the Profile Stats Pro package, which gives you the ability to analyze that exact type of data. As of right now this service is only available to paid users of LinkedIn, but if you're serious about your LinkedIn SEO, then this is a small investment to make in your future.
Using just a few of these LinkedIn SEO tips is enough to make a dramatic difference to how well your LinkedIn profile fares with the search engines. If you consistently use all 5 of these tips you're going to enjoy the type of search engine success with LinkedIn that other members can only dream about.