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[LinkedIn SEO] 5 Simple Steps to Outrank Your Competition on LinkedIn

Is search engine optimization (SEO) important for your website?

I bet you just laughed at that question.

Everyone knows how important SEO is for your website.

(RELATED: Designing Your Search Marketing Strategy)

However…

Very few people know SEO is important on LinkedIn. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile can give you a huge competitive advantage.

LinkedIn is adding two new members every second. With over 330 million business professionals, LinkedIn is the fastest growing social network — growing faster than Facebook and Twitter combined.

Despite LinkedIn’s rapid growth, most LinkedIn members create an account, partially complete their profile, then rarely log in because they think LinkedIn is still just a place to post your resume.

Savvy LinkedIn members understand they have access to the world’s largest database of affluent business professionals. LinkedIn is a search engine just like Google, giving you access to millions of business decision-makers in seconds.

Knowing this, I teach my students the two primary purposes for LinkedIn.

1. To find your ideal clients

2. To get found by your ideal clients

LinkedIn SEO works the same way SEO works on your website. Strategically placed keywords throughout your profile helps you get found by the LinkedIn search algorithm and rank you at the top of search results.

Where do you place keywords to rank well in LinkedIn?

There are 5 magic hotspots and I’ll break down my LinkedIn profile to show you where they go and help you rank at the top of LinkedIn searches.

With that said…Let’s get you SEO’ed on LinkedIn.

1. Your Name Field

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The first place LinkedIn looks for keywords is in your name field.

One of my target keywords is “LinkedIn coach” and I’m the top result on a simple LinkedIn search. My search ranking for “LinkedIn Coach” increased dramatically when I changed my last name to Prodromou, LinkedIn Coach.

While LinkedIn allows up to 40 characters in your last name field, I don’t recommend stuffing long keyword phrases into your last name field. Adding too many keywords and symbols looks unprofessional and can make it harder for people to find you when searching for your name.

Adding too many characters to your name field can also cut off your Professional Headline in the People You May Know sidebar widget. Notice how Carey Davidson’s profile is displayed below. Most of my LinkedIn profile views come from this widget so take advantage of this opportunity to grab the attention of LinkedIn members.

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2. Your Professional Headline

The second place LinkedIn scans for keywords is in your professional headline.

At least 90% of LinkedIn members use their job title and where they work as their professional headline. This doesn’t help your search rankings because there could be thousands of LinkedIn members with the same job title as you.

I recommend using the Professional Headline field as a headline, just like you use in your online ads.

One of my target keyword phrases is “award-winning author” so my professional headline is “Best-selling, Award-winning author of Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business & Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business”. I rank number one for “award-winning author” and I receive tremendous exposure for my books by placing their titles in my Professional Headline.

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3. Your Summary

The Summary section of your profile is another key area to place your keyword phrases. Use keyword phrases naturally like you would on your website but don’t overuse them. From my experience, adding keyword phrases in your Summary helps your ranking but not as much as using them in your Name and Professional Headline.

Many LinkedIn experts suggest using your Summary as a sales page for your services, making it all about you. This approach can be very effective but I prefer to use the “WIIFM” approach.

Your prospects aren’t interested in you and your accomplishments. They are interested in solving their own problems. WIIFM stands for “What’s In It For Me” and my Summary works better when I focus on the prospect and their problems.

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4. Your Experience

In the Experience section, using your keyword phrases as your job titles is the second most important factor in ranking well. Most people use their job title like President, Director or Owner. While it’s important to let people know your role in your business, it’s more important to rank well for your target keyword phrases.

One trick I use is to create many jobs within my own company. Each job happens to be one of my target keyword phrases. After I created multiple jobs within my company, I instantly ranked well for each keyword phrase!

Don’t forget to add your keyword phrases in each job description which will further improve your search ranking.

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Notice how I also added Online Lead Generation to the beginning of my company name which also helps me rank well for Online Lead Generation.

5. Your Skills

The Skills section is a goldmine for your keyword phrases.

LinkedIn lets you add up to 50 skills so make sure you include all of your target keywords as Skills. After you enter your skills, reorder them by dragging them so you prioritize your keyword phrases.

LinkedIn will display your skills to other people and ask them if they want to Endorse you for these skills. The more endorsements you receive for each skill, the more it helps your search ranking.

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Bonus – Your Interests

Last but not least, the Interests section is another hotspot for keyword phrases. Most people don’t know this and just add their hobbies. I add my business keyword phrases in addition to my hobbies and it works like magic!

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Action Steps

1. Do some LinkedIn searches for your target keywords and track where you rank in a spreadsheet

2. See who ranks at the top of the search results and view their profile to see where they place their keywords

3. Add your keywords in the same places as the top search results and see if it improves your ranking

4. Add new connections every day. LinkedIn doesn’t tell us what factors help you rank well, but most LinkedIn experts agree that the more connections you have, the higher you rank.

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