The Secret to Getting on Page One of LinkedIn’s Search Results

Melonie Dodaro  •  LinkedIn

If you are in business, you cannot afford to sit around and wait for your ideal clients to find you. To be successful, you need to take a more proactive lead generation approach and not just wait to be found.

That said, at some point people will go looking for someone who offers a solution such as yours on LinkedIn. And when that happens, you want to be found on page one of LinkedIn’s search results.

Just as those who show up on page one in Google’s search results stand the best chance of getting contacted for new business opportunities, the same is true for LinkedIn.

In fact, just this past week, two companies contacted me seeking my services: a Fortune 100 company is asking me to deliver a social selling training for the senior leaders in Europe and another company is inviting me to train its sales team in its Middle East division.

Do you know how they found me? LinkedIn!

Not all professionals, however, benefit from keyword optimization on LinkedIn. Believe it or not, I sometimes tell my clients and students to not worry about optimizing their LinkedIn profiles for keywords.

Who are those groups of people? Two examples come to mind.

The first group is sales professionals.

I provide social selling training to companies all around the world, and when I train a sales team, I tell them to remove terms such as:

  • sales
  • account executive
  • business development
  • quota crusher

If they are actively using LinkedIn for social selling, I encourage them to remove any sales related keywords that might prompt a decision-maker to click Ignore in response to their connection requests.

To leverage social selling, the first hurdle you must pass is to get your connection request accepted. If you can’t make connections, you can’t build relationships. And if you can’t build relationships, you can’t engage in social selling.

The second example is financial advisors.

I have spoken at numerous financial services conferences and have worked with some of the most successful financial advisors in North America and Europe. In each instance, I’ve told them they shouldn’t waste their time and character space optimizing their profiles to be found in LinkedIn’s search.

There is no industry where TRUST is more important than in the financial services industry.

People are not searching for their next financial advisor on LinkedIn.

If you are a financial advisor, your success will always come from referrals and relationships you build with your prospects. The good news is that LinkedIn can be used to start those relationships. Once you nurture a relationship, you can move it offline, where real trust can develop.

Just recently I provided this exact feedback to one of the students in my online LinkedIn lead generation program. During a coaching session, I critiqued the LinkedIn profile of one of my students, who was a financial advisor.

She had optimized her profile incredibly well to be found in LinkedIn’s search results. She had effectively incorporated the term “financial advisor” everywhere.

Imagine her surprise when I told her to remove it all.

I then encouraged her to focus on optimizing her profile for authority and credibility so she can build trust with potential clients.

In other instances, people will in fact search for professionals delivering certain services, possibly like yours.  In that case, you should focus on using the right keywords in your profile so that you can be found through LinkedIn search engine.

In my case, I focus on keyword phrases such as “Social Selling Keynote Speaker” or “Social Selling Trainer.”

Some of the other keywords I may optimize my profile for could be:

  • LinkedIn Expert
  • Social Selling Training
  • Digital Transformation
  • Social Selling Influencer
  • Digital Marketing
  • LinkedIn Training (or Trainer)

Click here to look at my LinkedIn profile for inspiration.

Do you want to be found through LinkedIn search?

Let’s look at the ways you can optimize your profile to be found in LinkedIn search results.

The first thing I need to tell you is do NOT keyword stuff. It looks spammy, and no matter how many people land on your profile or how high you show up in LinkedIn’s search results, people will be turned off by it.

Here’s how to do it right….

7 Steps to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Search

1. Understand keyword optimization for Google vs. LinkedIn

You are likely familiar with the way people search on Google.

The way prospects search on LinkedIn is very different from the way they search on Google. On Google, they search for information, whereas on LinkedIn they search for a person.

For example, if someone is looking on Google for information on how to write a great LinkedIn profile, the person might search using a variation of this keyword phrase “how to create a LinkedIn profile.”

On LinkedIn, they’ll search for a person who can teach them how to create an excellent LinkedIn profile or even write their LinkedIn profile for them. In this case, the person might search using keywords such as:

  • LinkedIn Expert
  • LinkedIn Consultant
  • LinkedIn Profile Writer

People will often look for title-based keywords on LinkedIn, so when you are choosing your keywords, consider your various titles.

2. Choose your keywords

To choose the correct keywords to optimize your profile for, you need to know your ideal clients.

You might be thinking, if these keywords describe my solution, shouldn’t I use the keywords I think are best?

That would be okay if you use the same language to describe your solution your ideal clients use when searching for someone who does what you do.

But if they use different language to describe your solution, it won’t matter how well you have optimized your LinkedIn profile for search. They simply won’t find you, and you lose a potential lead.

For example, let’s say I wanted to use the term “LinkedIn sales strategist” but my ideal clients are searching for a “social selling trainer.” It makes sense for me to use the terms they enter into the search field.

When trying to learn what language your ideal clients use to describe your solution, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is your ideal client (and, more specifically, who are they on LinkedIn)?
  • What is the typical language of their business, industry or organization?
  • What kinds of challenges do they face?

A great way to learn what terms your ideal clients might be searching for is to first identify and then find them on LinkedIn. Listen to the language they use to talk about their problems and the solutions they are looking for.

Once you know what search terms they use to search for someone like you, choose one to three main keywords you want to be found for.

3. Create a compelling LinkedIn headline

Your LinkedIn headline is the MOST critical part of your profile because, along with your name and profile photo, it is the first thing people see when they find you in the search results or land on your profile.

The role of your LinkedIn headline is to get your ideal clients’ attention and make them want to learn more about you. Your headline will determine whether they will click on your profile to learn more or leave.

It is also a very important place to add your keywords if you want your prospects to find you when they search for someone like you.

There are several styles you could consider for your LinkedIn headlines:

Client-centric: use it if your top goal is to attract more clients using LinkedIn.

Ego-centric: use it if you have an established personal brand/career or you’re an influencer, high-level executive or public figure.

Mission-centric: use it if you are building a company brand or have a mission much bigger than you.

Keyword-centric: use it if your keywords match your clients’ interests and you want to be found in more searches.

You can also incorporate more than one style into your headline. For example, let’s say you want to have a client-centric headline that also incorporates one or more keywords. This is easy to do.

In addition to working with companies, I also provide LinkedIn training to governments. It’s a niche market. In fact, I have trained governments from across North America, South America, Europe and New Zealand on how to attract more foreign direct investment into their regions.

If I wanted to speak to this audience specifically, my LinkedIn headline could read:

I help Economic Development & Investment Promotion Agencies attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) using LinkedIn.

Keep in mind, you have only 120 characters to write your LinkedIn headline – make sure you maximize them.

Understand, however, that it is not enough to show up in the search results as you will be competing with many other profiles there. Your headline needs to capture your prospect’s attention and make them want to click on your profile to learn more about you and your services.

The key is to make your LinkedIn headline compelling enough so that people – the right people – click on your profile or accept your connection request.

4. Incorporate your keywords into your About & Experience sections

In addition to your headline, include your keywords in other areas of your LinkedIn profile to fully optimize it. When incorporating your keywords into these sections, make sure they read naturally and do not come across as keyword stuffing.

About section: This is where your prospects learn more about you. You have 2000 characters to share with your prospects who you are and your why story, showcase your credibility as well as explain who your ideal clients are and how you help them. Try to incorporate your keywords naturally throughout this section.

Current Work Experience: This is where you describe what you’re doing right now in your business or your current position. You have 2000 characters here as well. Be sure to include your keywords – where it makes sense – in both the title and description of your experience. You can even add a list of the services you provide, which is a great way to do additional keyword optimization.

Past Work Experience: As in your Current Experience section, add your keywords to both your title and description of each relevant past experience. This does not require a detailed description, but you should include at least a short paragraph describing what you did in the past and any accomplishments you achieved during that time, especially if they are relevant to what you do now.

5. Include your keywords in your Skills section

Your Skills section offers another excellent opportunity for you to feature your keywords. Plus, if people are endorsing you for your skills, you get the added benefit of increasing the level of social proof of your expertise as well as improving your search ranking.

You can have up to 50 skills on your profile. In addition to listing all the skills you possess, also include the keywords you want to be found for. As an example, LinkedIn Speaker and LinkedIn Expert aren’t technically skills, but they are keywords I want to be found for, so I include them along with the skill Social Selling.

Once you list all your skills, re-order them, ensuring the top three you want to be endorsed for are located at the top. While LinkedIn will add your three skills with the highest number of endorsements to the top by default, you can rearrange your skills, ensuring your three most important skills are located at the top.

Include your keywords in your LinkedIn Skills section

6. Optimize your Contact info with a customized website description

Rather than using just your company name in the Websites section (in “Contact Info”), include your keywords. For example, instead of having “Company Website,” I use Master LinkedIn + Social Selling. Not only is this more relevant to new visitors of my profile, it provides another opportunity for keyword optimization.

7. Hashtags within status updates & LinkedIn Publisher posts

Hashtags are another great way to be found on page one of LinkedIn’s search results. When you create LinkedIn Publisher articles or status updates that relate to your keywords, you can add these keywords as hashtags to your posts.

Hashtags make it easier for people to find your content, including your 2nd- and 3rd-degree connections, when they search for that hashtag, which is also your keyword.

When one of your status updates gets significant engagement, LinkedIn may classify it as a trending post with the relevant hashtag. For example, just today LinkedIn notified me that I had two trending posts with #socialmedia and #entrepreneurship hashtags.

Trending hashtags within status updates & LinkedIn Publisher posts

The benefit of this is that LinkedIn will recommend your post to interested and relevant connections in their notifications, providing valuable third-party credibility and driving traffic to your profile for your keywords.

Get found more often when you optimize your LinkedIn profile for search

Remember that if you want to generate more business from LinkedIn, you need to take a proactive approach to lead generation, and not wait around to be found. However, don’t miss out on receiving inbound lead opportunities by not optimizing your LinkedIn profile.

Getting yourself found on page one of LinkedIn’s search results is not difficult. Just make sure your profile impresses a potential client when they land on it.

If you are like many people, you want to optimize your LinkedIn profile but struggle writing about yourself. Did you know we offer a LinkedIn profile writing service? We ensure you put your best foot forward while also getting found in the search results! Click here for more info.

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