Are You Being Found on LinkedIn for Your Ideal Search Terms?

Des Walsh Owner/Partner, Des Walsh dot Com

Posted on January 15th 2013

Are You Being Found on LinkedIn for Your Ideal Search Terms?

Linkedin pen picture from The Seafarer via FlickrOn LinkedIn, make it easier to be found for the services you offer

One of the most basic considerations for creating and editing our Professional Profile on LinkedIn is to ensure it is well stocked with the words and phrases we want to be found for – our ideal search terms.

By the way, for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t so far delved into this area much, the jargon term is “keywords”. I have to admit it took me quite a while to figure out that the term “key words and phrases” is more accurate and might be more quickly understood by people who are not search experts. “Coach” can be a keyword: so can “business coach” “sales and marketing coach”, “Chicago business coach”, and so on.

There are a couple of ways we can test for what we might call the “keyword effectiveness” of what we’ve done in setting up our LinkedIn profile.

One process I always recommend in my LinkedIn coaching is to set aside some time to do some searching on LinkedIn ourselves, using those search terms (keywords) we want to be found for, and seeing where our profiles come up in the results. The process is similar to what we might do with Google or other search engines – first page has top ten results etc – but with the difference that if we tweak the words in the profile the differences in ranking can come up pretty well immediately.

This can take some time and I find that it’s more efficient when you don’t have to stop in mid course to do something else. Which is why I suggest that it is something to do on the weekend if you can.

Turn off notifications

To save annoying our network with multiple notifications of changes we make while experimenting, it is a good idea to switch off those notifications before starting – Settings -> Privacy Controls – and then on again when we finish.

Turn off LinkedIn activity notifications

The testing process

The basic procedure I use for testing is as follows:

First set up a simple system for recording your changes and the results. I use a notepad like a legal pad, or (paper) notebook, and keep a running score, with times. You could use a spreadsheet if you prefer.

Before making any change, search for your preferred term under People (top right corner of your LinkedIn page), leaving the Relevance filter untouched. Search through the results and see where you come up in your network. As for Google, the ideal is to be in the top three, preferably number one, but the top ten is good too. Each page of results, as for Google, has ten results.

On your notepad or spreadsheet record where you come, which may be zero at this stage, and the time.

Then add in the search term you want to be found for. When you start to make changes, at first change one element at a time (later you can make a few changes at a time) and then test the result. I usually start with the Professional Headline (just under your name on your profile). 

For example, if you want to be found for the term “Business Strategist”, put that in your Professional Headline (without the quotation marks).

What I do then, having done a global search and recorded the result, is search with a location filter – Advanced Search, left hand sidebar – usually by country first, and sometimes then by a more specific location. (You can of course use other filters with, or besides, the location one.)

And then note those results.

Then make some more changes and test each of those. I usually go from the Professional Headline to the Summary, then to other elements of the profile.

What if you keep getting a zero result?

I hope that with some creative work on your profile you will start to rank much better. If that fails, then you might want to get help from me or another LinkedIn specialist.

If you don’t want to do that but would like some more insight, why not join one of the LinkedIn Groups that focus on LinkedIn and how to use it more effectively? The LinkedIn Bloggers group, which I co-manage and which has been going since 2005, is a good place to ask questions and get help. 

The LinkedIntelligence site, hosted by social media specialist Scott Allen, and for which I am about to start writing, is a rich – and freely available – source of information about LinkedIn and how to use it.

Next week I will share, as a demonstration, some results from my following the process as outlined above. I think you’ll be surprised at how it turned out: I was gobsmacked! Till then, stay safe and get linking. :)

Image credit: LinkedIn pen, from The Seafarer (Sheila Scarborough) via Flickr, CC BY 2.0



Des Walsh

Owner/Partner, Des Walsh dot Com

Des Walsh is a business coach for the social business environment. He is a certified social media  strategist, a published author and international speaker. He is passionate about sharing his understanding of the benefits of social media in a way that makes good sense for business.

Business owners, executives and freelance professionals get personal, highly focused business coaching, and practical guidance to make effective use of social media.

Des brings to the table a lifetime of varied experience, from taxi driving and working on farms to being a senior executive in the public service, to creating hhis own business over 20 years ago. He puts a high priority on listening intently before he offers you any views of his own: basically he commits to eliciting your greatness and helping you create the best business or career you can.

His coach training is from, he's a Certified Social Media Strategist from the social business thought leading Society 3 Academy, and a published author on how to use LinkedIn effectively.

Des lives on the New South Wales and Queensland border, at the southern end of Australia's beautiful Gold Coast.


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Kent Ong
Posted on January 16th 2013 at 5:12AM

Hi Des, it can be easily done (since Malaysia LinkedIn is not that competitive yet), we just need to put some keywords in the title. Try to fine tune the summary as well.