LinkedIn now has 900+ million members – and continues to be a hotbed of job search activity, with job seekers vying for attention.
With such fierce competition, you’ll need to employ aggressive keyword and SEO (findability) strategies in order to be found by recruiters and employers.
Here are the best ways to boost your presence on LinkedIn and optimize your Profile for SEO, including search algorithm strategy and keyword adjustments:
1 – Add Keywords to Your LinkedIn Profile That Represent Your Top Skills.
Keywords, otherwise known as skills and areas of competency, are used by LinkedIn Recruiter subscribers to find matching Profiles. These terms are typically described in job postings.
Adding keywords to your Profile can strengthen your findability. For example, a recruiter seeking Sales Professionals might search for Prospecting, Customer Relationship Management, Salesforce, or Contract Negotiations. A search for a Chief Information Officer could include Enterprise Systems, DevOps, or IT Operations.
To find keywords for your Profile, first review job postings to identify skills, then put these items into a word cloud (such as Tag Crowd) to see which terms are mentioned most frequently. For example, a Plant Manager job yielded keywords such as Service, Compliance, Quality Regulations, and Safety.
If you paste multiple job descriptions for similar jobs into a word cloud, you will benefit even more by seeing the keywords common among most employers for your desired job.
Why should you 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.
2 – Improve The Keyword Density of Your LinkedIn Profile.
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.
This isn’t difficult. If you want a stronger draw on a skill such as AI, you’d simply add this phrase in multiple sections, such as your About 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, and marketing might add only these terms on LinkedIn, but they could rank lower on 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 read your Profile.
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 and Job Title (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 your Headline (see A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline). Fill in as many of the 220 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, AI, Infrastructure, Mobile, & SaaS Channels. Robust C-Suite & Tech Team Presentations. Consistent 120%+ of Quota
COO, VP Global Operations. Manufacturing Efficiency, Production Quality, Capacity Growth, Greenfield Operations, M&A, & Turnarounds. APAC, US, Canada, & Europe
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 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.
Keyword strategy is an important part of a strong and effective LinkedIn Profile, enabling you to optimize it for findability 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.