The Small Business LinkedIn Optimisation Guide

LinkedIn is a powerful social networking tool no professional or company can afford to neglect. From its inception in 2002, its core aim to forge mutually beneficial connections between professionals and companies has not altered. LinkedIn currently boasts more than 200 million members and an astonishing 5.7 billion searches were conducted via the professional social networking platform this year alone.

LinkedIn members must ensure that they are carrying out searches utilising all the tools LinkedIn provides, but they must also take the time and make the effort to optimise their personal and company profiles so that they are LinkedIn search friendly and that potential professional connections can glean all the information they desire fromone visit.

Fortunately, there is tried and tested optimisation best practice for LinkedIn that can be adopted and implemented to help make your individual and company profiles more search friendly. The aim of this guide is to give a clear and concise set of actions that will help you improve your visibility on LinkedIn and the experience of other professionals visiting your profiles.

Essential LinkedIn Basics

Professionals using LinkedIn want to discover and be discovered as simply and efficiently as possible. The LinkedIn filter options facilitate this well, so ensure your profile is suitably optimised to appear in people, job title, company and group searches. Improving your LinkedIn optimisation is relatively painless, as these top tips reveal.

Ensure Your Profile Is Key Information Rich

Start with your profile. Undertake a thorough examination. View it from the perspective of a visitor and potential connection. Does it truly communicate everything that makes you and/or your company stand out from what is an extremely large crowd?
Does it provide you with all the information you could hope for? Is it keyword rich? Have you applied your corporate branding, which may be familiar to visitors?
Are your blog, personal and company links prominently displayed? If not, it is time for some amendments.
Choose a well composed and professional looking profile image.
The new LinkedIn layout features a larger photograph as well as a cover photo option, so upload an image you feel perfectly projects how you would like to appear to a new professional acquaintance in order to make a good first and lasting impression.
Ensure all the information and features mentioned above are applied and your profile will provide everything it should.



Optimising Your Profile Headline

Working in much the same way as a meta-description, your LinkedIn profile headline must be optimised to improve your search ranking. Your profile headline is the perfect opportunity to include those all important keywords that will help you to be found. For example: Web Designer, SEO Consultant and Copywriter. It is a good idea to also include some form of contact details, for example an email address, so that profile visitors can quickly and easily reach out to you with enquiries and commissions.

Optimising Your Profile Summary

Your profile headline strengthens your search visibility. Now it is time to focus on your profile summary and ensure it is keyword and semantically rich without being overly crammed and spammy. Think of your profile summary as an ideal opportunity to introduce yourself. List your core skills and specialties, but remember to humanise your summary with details of your professional ethos, passions and goals. Include as much of your experience as possible and also include links to any portfolios, websites and social media profiles you may have.

Stating Your Job Title and Summarising Your Job Description

How many people just do what their job title states? Very few. Don’t hesitate to succinctly list all your duties and responsibilities. Yes, your job title will help your search visibility, but what will make you stand out from other people with the exact same job title?
Do you have leadership skills that come into play when mentoring new colleagues? Have you developed yourself in a different direction to fill a gap in your current employer’s workforce, acquiring skills not exactly within your remit? Sell yourself with the experience and abilities that make you the professional you are.

Connections, Endorsements and Group Memberships

It is crucial that you establish and curate a formidable network of professional connections, acquire a strong set of endorsements and join a sizable number of groups related to your professional area(s) of expertise. Obviously, this is what LinkedIn was designed to do, facilitate effective professional networking, but many users neglect to put real effort into growing and maintaining relationships within their network.

Your connections, recommendations and group memberships speak volumes about your professional experience and expertise and can act as strong inbound links. Developing your connections into solid business relationships, obtaining recommendations from professionals and companies and joining business specific groups and engaging with peers is essential activity.
They demonstrate your professional standing, your commitment to your profession and enable you to voice your opinion on pressing issues and share best practice within your area of expertise, thereby establishing your authority within your sector.
Networking should be a vital and ongoing part of your professional endeavours, so reach out and don’t forget to sufficiently personalise your communications and include links to valuable content you have created to seize and hold the attention of your sector peers and stimulate interaction.

 

Conclusion to Essential LinkedIn Basics

Following the tips detailed above will help any LinkedIn user who has not kept on top of their profile optimisation to improve their search rankings and will enable new LinkedIn users to build strong profiles from scratch. However, recent changes made to the professional social network in 2012 and 2013 have demanded that LinkedIn optimisation evolves. Part II addresses these changes and details how to optimise your profiles for the fresh layout and improved search engine.

Using Homepage Content Feed

By now you should have soundly embraced the marketing maxim “content is king”. The new Facebook-inspired LinkedIn homepage has elevated the status of new content like articles, blog posts, guides and infographics for the bottom to the top of the page. The content that appears at the top of your homepage is ordered by an algorithm utilising keyword and connections data.

What does this mean for LinkedIn optimisation in 2013? It means sharing content is even more important than before for getting your profile, knowledge, experience and sector authority noticed by other professionals. Quality content is among the best ways to strengthen your current connection relationships and build new ones. Get creative and remember to make the content you share as information rich, engaging and valuable for your audience as possible.

Highlighting Skills and Sharing Endorsements

The fresh skill and endorsements feature has not only been quickly and fully embraced by professionals in the LinkedIn community, it has engendered a new form of LinkedIn etiquette. You can now state a skill you possess and have professional connections with whom you have worked provide endorsement for your ability in that area. This obviously has great value for recruiters and those seeking new employment opportunities, basically representing a series of micro-references on specific skills.

It has also established a new mutually beneficial form of etiquette between connections wherein endorsements are usually reciprocated between the endorser and receiver. This creates a fresh form of LinkedIn optimisation. You must set aside some time to list your specific skills, updating as you develop new ones, and to give endorsements to others. It will make you stand out as skilled, actively building connections and as a professional who feels recognising the talents of others nurtures strong and positive business relationships.

Auto-complete and Suggested Searches

The more you use the new LinkedIn search engine, the more it will learn about your search habits and use the collated data to provide predictive auto-complete search entries. It will now also use keywords and semantic fields to produce suggested searches customised to your past search activity. These new search tools should encourage you to be a more active LinkedIn user, but also to go over your profiles again to ensure they are as information keyword rich as possible.

Smarter query intent algorithm with enhanced advanced search

As mentioned above, the new smarter query intent algorithm being used by LinkedIn will reap information from your searches that it can use to learn more about you, gain a deeper understanding of your search activity and provide results shaped to be ever more relevant to your intentions.
In short, LinkedIn has become big on personalisation, following the other search and social networking giants. Also featured within this enhanced advanced search engine is the ability to conduct more accurate and in-depth searches utilising new filters such as company, school and location.
Again, this should encourage you to make sure all your information fields are complete and up to date so that you can be found more easily by a wider network of professionals.

Automated alerts

The final and particularly useful feature of the new LinkedIn search engine is the ability to save your searches and receive automated alerts when your searches are updated. This will be of great help when seeking out new opportunities, the best connections to make, the must-attend events to sign up to and business-specific groups to join. To ensure you appear in a wide range of search updates remember to regularly add fresh information and share content and activity updates such as groups you have joined and events you are/have attended.

If LinkedIn optimisation is something that you would like further help with, we are here. Our social media services cover LinkedIn.