Most people know how important SEO (search engine optimization) is for driving traffic to websites, but many executive job seekers don’t realize that these same principles apply to their LinkedIn profiles. Without strong SEO, all of the time and effort you spend on LinkedIn in the hopes of advancing your executive career search may be in vain.

Below are some quick tips on how you can increase the visibility of your online profile and optimize it for LinkedIn’s search algorithm.

1. Make sure your public profile is visible.

This may sound obvious, but many people, when they first created their LinkedIn profile, may not have been engaged in an executive career search and may have been more concerned about privacy than visibility. In order to attract potential employers or recruiters, however, you will need to reevaluate any stringent personal privacy policy that may have informed your decision on what to allow the public to see.

executive_linkedin_profile_search_optimization2. Ensure that your profile is 100% complete.

Having a complete profile means that you are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities on LinkedIn. A complete profile means including the following:

  • Your industry and location
  • Your current position
  • At least two past positions
  • Your education
  • A minimum of three skills
  • A profile photo
  • At least 50 connections.

3. Increase your number of connections.

Many people only think to include professional contacts on LinkedIn, but you can also include all of your personal contacts, including friends and family members to build your online network. Think of who else you come into contact with in a professional capacity that you may add to your connections, such as your dentist, your insurance salesperson, or your banker.

If you are hoping to leverage LinkedIn to get noticed for career opportunities, the bigger your network, the better. The reason is simple: when hiring agents perform searches, they see people within their first and second-degree connections first. Thus the more expansive your network, the greater the likelihood of ranking higher in these search lists.

4. Optimize your entire profile with keywords, paying particular attention to heavily indexed fields.

It is essential to identify which keywords might be important for the types of opportunities you are open to and to introduce those keywords throughout your profile. Obvious areas to add keywords include the summary and experience sections. However, many people are not aware of other LinkedIn fields that play a significant role in LinkedIn’s search algorithm. These include:

  • Name field. For most people this is a no-brainer—you type in your first and last names. But if you have an MBA or other significant post-nominal, this is a great place to include it.
  • Headline. Many people use LinkedIn’s default headline, which applies your current job title. But you are allowed 120 characters, so take this opportunity to introduce critical areas of expertise or qualifications such as language skills, degrees, etc. Make attractive use of alt-codes to break up the details and make it more readable.
  • Job Titles. You are allowed 100 characters for this essential field. Don’t miss the opportunity to introduce key areas of expertise that you honed during the role, following the same principles as the headline.
  • Skills. Although I stated above that you need a minimum of three skills to have a complete profile, you are allowed up to 50. Use all of them, even if you include synonymous terms. This will add SEO value to your LinkedIn profile.

5. Customize your URL.

This is a simple way you can give your ranking a bump. It also looks much better on your business card, email signature, or resume, which leads into my next point.

6. Place your LinkedIn URL anywhere and everywhere.

Examples of where to place your URL include your personal website, other social media sites, or wherever else you may have an online executive bio.  Doing so creates backlinks, which is an important factor in determining your search ranking.

7. Add content, content, content.

This is the same principle that applies to websites—the more content you have, the stronger your SEO. Consider adding any media mentions, a video bio, or a SlideShare toward the top of your profile.

By enhancing your profile with quality content, you not only increase your ranking in searches, but you add dimension to your story. Consider blogging on LinkedIn’s Pulse to continually add to your profile’s richness, which will not only give you increased visibility among your network but will have the added value of crystallizing your expertise in the minds of those in your network.

By following these simple tips, your LinkedIn profile will not only rank higher in LinkedIn searches and become more visible to those seeking someone with your unique skill set—speeding up your executive job search—but it will also become richer in content and be more engaging to readers once they land on your page.

If you are considering a LinkedIn revamp and would like professional advice, BlueSteps has a team of best–in class executive career advisors waiting to assist. BlueSteps members: simply click here to find out more. If you’re not a BlueSteps member yet, click here to join today.


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