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Conduct Keyword Research to Capture Attention during Your Job Search

When you write online to use social media in your job search, you’re not just writing for people; you’re also writing for robots. Imagine the Internet is a large village of both people and robots. Whenever a person says something in this village, the words float through the air. Pretty soon, a robot grabs those floating words and takes them to a processing plant with millions of other words.

These robots are the search engines of the Internet, and they’re constantly scanning and categorizing online content — yes, even your LinkedIn profile.

The content producers who know how to write copy that attracts more search engines (robots) ultimately get more people reading their content. Good web copy is keyword rich. Think of a keyword as a noun that has more points with the search engines and a keyphrase as a series of keywords.

You can create content for a nonhuman audience by thoroughly understanding how search engines like Google spit out results, pinpointing the right keywords for your personal brand, and then keeping track of (and actually using) those keywords in your online profile.

The nouns, or keywords, you choose upfront become part of your personal brand. You use them not only in your value statement but also in your résumé, business cards, and so forth. These words are going to help define and differentiate you.

Career advisors used to distribute lists of power verbs to add to otherwise uninspired résumé. Using these power verbs was, of course, great advice for paper résumés. After all, the only consumer of a paper résumé is a human. But now, in an online world, humans still love to read power verbs but robots prefer to read nouns, or keywords.

When was the last time you entered only verbs into a Google search? Your interactions with searching on the Internet are typically through finding people, places, or things. Imagine that when your future boss is ready to look for a new employee, he goes to Google or LinkedIn and types in the position he’s looking to fill for the city where his company’s located.

He scans through the search results and clicks on the first few names that speak to his company’s needs. If you want your name to come up in the search, you have to understand how Google ranks its results, because ultimately Google decides which people show up on that first page.

Google’s legendary search algorithm has gone through several iterations over the years. With each cycle, Google’s robot seems to get more human in its understanding of how people use language to convey meaning. In other words, the higher a page ranks on Google’s first three pages, the more likely that site is relevant to the searcher.

Let’s face it, how many times have you searched in Google and found the results useless? Most of the time, Google gives you exactly what you’re looking for. Furthermore, you’re not very likely to look beyond the first three pages of results.

Google is able to tell whether a website is spam and irrelevant or has great content. This determination is called relevance, and Google ranks websites based on relevance. Today, experts can boil down Google’s search algorithm to the following on-site elements. Note: If you’re knowledgeable about search engine optimization, then this explanation may appear oversimplified, but these points are critical for anyone writing profiles for social media networking sites.

  • Exact match of the search keyword/keyphrase: Based on its appearance on the web page, Google ranks (or displays) an exact match first.

  • Semantic match of the search keyword/keyphrase: Using a semantic match means that Google may rank a website based on the meaning of the nouns, even if it doesn’t have an exact match. Think of a semantic match like synonyms for the keyword/keyphrase you used.

  • Appearance of the search keyword/keyphrase in key places: These key places on the web page refer to headlines, titles, and bold font.

  • The readability of the text on the screen: People who pack keywords on their page get penalized. Generally, Google prefers text that’s easy to read.

  • The authority of the website that content is housed on: This website authority is called PageRank, or PR. LinkedIn has a very high PR, which is why job seekers often see their LinkedIn profiles rank higher than some of the other websites they use.

The better keywords you choose and the more often those keywords appear in your profile, the better off you are.

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