Built 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.

At its core, LinkedIn is merely a database of users that uses key fields to order, or index, the entire collection of data.

You can play into this indexing process by anticipating what others search for, such as particular skills or job titles, and then “loading up” your Profile with these keywords. By doing this, you’ll turn up in search results much more often than LinkedIn users who fail to use internal SEO practices.

So, here are the 5 simplest ways you can take advantage of LinkedIn SEO – and start generating more views on your Profile:

1 – Pay attention to your Headline.

The most prominent branding message on your LinkedIn Profile, your Headline is also the most critical when it comes to SEO. It’s the #2 indexed field on the site, right after your Name.

This means keywords listed in your Headline field will “count” more in the SEO algorithm than if they’re used in other sections of your Profile.

To make your Headline work harder, first remove the default (your current job), which might look like Vice President Sales at ABC Corporation. Next, add keywords and use the entire 120 characters: VP Sales. Revenue Growth in Cloud-Enabled Technology Solutions. Product Development & Sales Operations Leadership.

This change allows your more powerful keywords (Product Development, Sales Operations, Cloud-Enabled Technology, Revenue Growth) to elicit traffic.

It also prevents your employer, ABC Corporation, from becoming a highly indexed search term on your Profile. (Why advertise your employer when you could be marketing yourself?)

Now you know why using the default current-job Headline isn’t a good idea!

2 – Consider adding keywords to your Job Title.

The Job Title field on LinkedIn is also a highly indexed field (as is your Employer name). However, if your current job title is too vague, you can miss out on a chance for more traffic.

What works well in this case is to add content to your Job Title, taking care not to change the original content.

For example, Operations Director can be changed to Operations Director – Six Sigma Leader for Thermo-printing Division.This change allows employers looking for Six Sigma or Thermo-printing leadership skills to find you much more easily.

Other examples are Senior Consultant (fleshed out to Senior Consultant, IT Project Management) and Director of Finance (changed to Director of Finance – Controller Level Authority to target both Controller and Director jobs)

3 – Use your Summary for additional keyword content.

Although not considered a highly indexed part of LinkedIn, your Summary must nevertheless contain compelling text, along with a high percentage of keywords.

Look at these examples, with keywords in bold so you can see how they’re used:

As an IT Director, my goal is to satisfy stakeholders and speak the language of our trading industry users, while implementing technologies to boost processing speed and accelerate business transformation. I’ve led IT project teams of up to 110 in service delivery and brought hosting costs down 32%, even during rapid growth.

In Senior Manager and Director of Sales roles, I’ve built trust among customers and captured market trends in the oil and gas industry… with new sales channels and alliances that grew revenue 123%. I enjoy the challenge of creating a competitive edge through increased brand recognition and high-performance sales team mentoring.

Of course, this type of Summary language employs more robust keyword content than a resume Summary — which is a key reason you should NOT duplicate your resume Summary on your LinkedIn Profile.

4 – Add Projects and other “extra” sections on LinkedIn.

Often neglected as a great strategy for adding more detail, sections like Projects, Certifications, or Honors & Awards can be used to inject more keywords.

Should you decide to use these sections, keep your wording short and keyword-dense. For example, your Certification section can include credentials such as Java Developer, with only the name and initials included.

A COO in the real estate industry could also add several Projects entitled Commercial Real Estate – NYC to show proficiency in overseeing large-city construction efforts.

In the Honors & Awards section, you can add accolades that begin with your desired job title (Senior Sales Executive winning President’s Club for 5 years).

In my LinkedIn Profile, you can see extended examples of Projects that reflect accolades, links to samples of my resumes, and other distinguishing details that might not fit elsewhere, due to character limitations.

5 – Continue collecting Endorsements on Skills & Expertise (no matter what others say).

One of the most misunderstood sections of LinkedIn, the Skills & Expertise area started out as a directly searchable group of keywords. Now, it’s evolved into an SEO tool that can draw serious traffic, but only if it’s used correctly.

The terms you add to Skills & Expertise will factor more heavily in your LinkedIn searchability when you’re endorsed for them. Therefore, it makes sense to add keywords and obtain Endorsements on them.

A caveat: ensure the terms you add in this section are really keywords! Employers search for “hard skills” (such as Project Management), NOT character traits (such as Leadership).

In summary, these are just a few tips for boosting your Profile’s searchability, but they’re bound to work wonders for your job search.

Even if you don’t understand SEO concepts, remember that adding more content to your Profile will result in more visitors — especially when you create a keyword strategy to generate employer interest.

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