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SEOing for LinkedIn Helps Your Job Search

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the art and science of getting found, which you definitely want to happen when you’re job searching, when someone searches a term in a search engine like Google.

LinkedIn uses a search algorithm that delivers results partly based on keyword density; that is, what percent of the time that keyword appears among all the other words on the page. If you want recruiters to find you on LinkedIn, just follow this simple checklist:

  • Know which keywords you want to be associated with.

  • Make sure those keywords appear in the following locations in your profile:

    • Professional headline

    • Job title in current and three past experiences

    • Summary

    • Skills

  • Have at least six recommendations per experience. (The person with more recommendations wins in a tie for matching keywords.)

  • Have a large network. Search results often show up based on the degree to which you are connected to the searcher. If you are first or second degree, you’ll rise to the top.

  • Have a completed profile. Profiles that miss essential parts (photo, summary, or several experiences) tend to fall down in search results.

Some people take advantage of the simplicity of LinkedIn’s search algorithm and do something called keyword packing, which is stuffing keywords into a paragraph as many times as they can. Because keyword packing looks horribly ugly, people often stuff keywords into the oldest experiences section in their profile. Yes, their profiles rank, but they’re not really playing fair. LinkedIn may start penalizing people who do this, so be forewarned.

Name dropping may sound like an underhanded practice, but for ranking in LinkedIn, the technique works marvelously. If you’ve ever worked with a big-name client, company, or publication, mention it in your profile at least once. Some recruiters run searches based on companies they are trying to steal talent from. When you use those big names, your profile may end up on their results page.

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