If you’re not thinking of LinkedIn as a search engine, simply put, you’re not visible. There are 600 million people on this platform and search is used all the time – it’s an absolutely vital part of the platform. So today, we’re going to look at the LinkedIn insights, search strategies and placements. And by the end, you’re going to understand better how to use LinkedIn SEO to get the best search results possible and get yourself high ranked where you want to be.
Just a heads up – this blog post is also a YouTube video, so if you’d rather watch it that way, you can head to this link: https://youtu.be/5XHfduW4ZWU. But if you want to try before you buy, here’s a quick preview:
Let’s take a look at where you are now on LinkedIn from a ranking perspective in order to help us understand the path we need to take. LinkedIn provides some highly detailed information about how you perform on its platform, and you can find it on your dashboard. So, start by going to the My Dashboard section on your profile, and you’ll see three subsections. The first one is profile views, that’s who’s viewed you and the viewing trends. So you can compare the viewing trend to the activity you’ve had on the platform and determine whether you’re doing something different that’s causing your views to go up or down.
The second subsection is your post views. This breaks down who has looked at the posts that you’ve made and what the post viewing trend is like. It allows you to get pretty granular on the performance of all your different posts, and make decisions based on the outcome.
Finally, and most important for our purposes, is your search appearance. These are the specific keywords people have entered that caused your profile to appear, and how many times that happened. We’ll get a bit more detaileld about the keywords further down in the article, but just understand for now that if, for example, you’re a salesperson, but the keywords you’re appearing for are all human resources related, we’ll need to make some changes to your profile to adapt for that.
Types Of Searches
So now that you have that current ranking information, let’s talk about the types of searches that you need to think about when you’re optimizing your LinkedIn profile for SEO.
People are searching on and follower hashtags in the exact same way that they do it on Instagram, which means that you can access those hashtags for people who are looking for information on specific topics. So, here’s the little hack that you can use to get the best hashtags.
Start a post and you’re going to see, at the bottom of that post, that LinkedIn will provide some suggested hashtags. You don’t need to finish the post, but grab all of those hashtags, put them in a Word document, and then start researching them on LinkedIn. What you’ll start to notice is that some of them have a huge number of followers, some have fewer, some are more or less active, etc. What you’re looking for is a large follower base, but not an enormous base.
Now, what do I mean by enormous? Let’s compare two hashtags: #marketing and #marketingstrategy. At the time of writing this post, #marketing has over 20 million followers while #marketingstrategy has around 65,000. Now, between those two hashtags, we know that fewer people will be posting on #marketingstrategy, given the access to a larger group that comes with #marketingstrategy. However, which do you think you can have the greatest impact on more quickly?
Unquestionably – #marketingstrategy. Because the number of posts, and the frequency of those posts, is much lower for #marketingstrategy than it is for #marketing.
The other thing you want out of a hashtag is for it to be active. If there are a lot of followers but no posts and no interactions, it’s a waste of time because nobody will see your posts anyway.
Keywords are as important on LinkedIn as they are on Google. LinkedIn search is used all the time, so you want to be appearing as high as possible, which means you need to have the right keywords that are related to things that people are actually searching for. And as an added bonus, consider that LinkedIn is highly indexed by Google, increasing your chances of appear in the Google search results as well. So getting the keywords right is kind of a double whammy – very high value.
So let’s talk about how to do this. The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to look at our search appearance. And we’re going to see what keywords were appearing on. If you are not appearing on the keywords that you think you should be, then we need to optimize your page and find the right keywords to put on your page so that you’re getting more people there.
The first thing to know is that there’s no way to actually do research for keywords on LinkedIn. There’s no tool that really allows for that. So we’re going to approximate it by using a keyword search for Google. It’s not one to one, but it can send us in the right direction.
I’ll use KWFinder for this example, but you can use anything you want – Keywordtool.io, Ubersuggest, and SEMrush are all great. Start by putting a search in for the keyword that you want to appear on, or at least some keyword similar to the one you want. There are four pieces of information here for every keyword on the results screen, but the two we’re going to focus on are search volume, and Keyword difficulty score.
The search volume is exactly like it sounds. This is the monthly search volume – how many times a month is this keyword generally used for a search? The other thing that we’re looking at is the Keyword difficulty score. This is a proprietary score by kWFinder. It does a decent job of identifying easy to access keywords that have high search volume – which is what you’re looking for – a low difficulty and high search volume keyword that you can take advantage of. Finding the right keywords could take an hour or two. Don’t be afraid of that time, because it’s really worth it to optimize your profile.
Now that we have that information, it’s time to gain an understand of where it should go.
Hashtags and keywords play very different roles in the LinkedIn ecosystem. One is static (keywords) and the other dynamic (hashtags). So the usage of each is drastically different.
Hashtags are all about categorizing content. Which means they’re used on the site in ways that are very active, dynamic, and in the moment. They aren’t static friendly. So if you’re using them on your profile page, your company page, your title, your headline, your summary, or anything like that, you’ll find they aren’t as effective because doesn’t categorize those areas in activity feeds.
Rather, you want to use hashtags in the content itself you want to bring value to people when they’re looking for the information that you’re offering.
So, how do you actually use them, then? Well, first, don’t #hashtag #every #word #like #this. That’s a 10 year old technique (at least) and it’s simply annoying. A better approach would be to clump them together at the bottom of your content or in a comment. I haven’t seen any data to indicate one is better for your reach than the other, so just pick one and go for it.
Keywords are much more static friendly. They need to be placed in areas of LinkedIn where you have total control (like your profile and your company page). And let’s be clear here, it’s not only important to bring people into the page. It’s also there to show those viewers on the page that you are the solution to the problem they were looking for. So let’s take a look at the exact areas you should be placing your keywords on your profile.
- Title. Your primary keyword should appear first in your title. Forget your actual job title. You’re going after emotion here. You want your keyword in there because when people see the exact result of their search sits before them, you make it much easier to get them to click on your profile.
- Headline. It’s important to place what you do here and keywords are important to reinforce that message. So, while having the keyword at the front of the headline section isn’t vital in the same way it is for your title, that keyword being placed in the headline is very important.
- Summary. This is the most overlooked part of LinkedIn, but it defines you, your business and what you offer more than any other section of your profile. And it is ripe for keywords. This is the first place when someone comes to your profile where they can read more than one or two lines about who you are and what you do. So make the summary enticing, keep people reading, and pepper it with keywords to find success here.
- Skills. This is literally just a list of keywords. So use those keywords to align your skills to the user’s search.
- Job History. Your job history is NOT a resume. You want to use it to show your client why you are the solution to their problem. And you do so in this section by listing top successes in your past related to the search you want to appear on. Which means? You got it – keywords!
- Education. This is probably the most difficult section to fill out for keyword placement. There isn’t much to say about your education, but do your best to write a sentence or two defining your education in the context of your ideal client, and it can contribute even more to that search appearance.
DO NOT keyword stuff. I know I just told you to put keywords everywhere. But I want you to be strategic about this. Make your sentences sound real. You want readers to understand what you’re saying, not be thrown off by nonsensical sentences. And you’re not just doing that to avoid annoying visitors. You also need to understand that LinkedIn is able to identify keyword stuffing and discount your place in search as a result, making the entire effort pointless.
If you follow these steps, you’ll see a huge improvement in your results in no time on LinkedIn. It’s one of the fastest platforms to improve your search results, and as long as you do your research, you can see huge improvements.