LinkedIn: how to increase your profile visibility

April 20, 2015

Despite LinkedIn’s popularity, few people are aware of the ranking factors that decide whether your name will turn up in the top results.

For the start of spring, the WU Executive Academy is introducing a new series to help readers pep up their LinkedIn profiles. In cooperation with Ritchie Pettauer, an expert in online marketing strategy, the next 12 months will include LinkedIn advice which can be used to create a strong and successful presence on this social and professional online platform. Consistent with spring cleaning efforts, the first tip helps readers clean out their pages and get down to the important criteria for being found as the first or second contact in a specific field or industry first.

By Ritchie Pettauer

LinkedIn is the world’s most popular business social network. Unlike Facebook, many core features are built around LinkedIn’s elaborate search function which is not limited to name-related queries. Keyword searches play an increasingly important role in lead generation. But how does LinkedIn’s algorithm calculate profile rankings? This tutorial explains which factors are crucial for the visibility of your own LinkedIn profile.  Imagine an entrepreneur who wants to launch a new homepage. Unsatisfied with his current web designer, he starts looking for a new business partner on LinkedIn. His LinkedIn search for the term „web design“ produces a mixed listing of personal profiles, groups, jobs, companies etc.

Our potential client is looking for an established web designers and clicks on the “persons“ filter. How does LinkedIn sort the resulting list of profiles though?

Two different factors come into play:

  1. Personalization: LinkedIn always populates the top spots with 1st / 2nd level connections. Search results vary depending on each user’s network.
  2. Profile Factors / Activity: LinkedIn evaluates, how closely the search phrase matches your profile’s content. The Constant activity also results in a ranking bonus. The search result is a combination of these two factors. How can you incorporate these findings into your own LinkedIn strategy?  


How to increase your Profile Visibility  

The first part of the equation clearly depends on the size of your network. Generally speaking: The more connections, the better. Adding as many people as possible isn’t the smartest course of action though. When it comes to search results, connections from the same industry / the same geographical area count more than random contacts.

The second leaves plenty room for creativity. Follow these tips, and your LinkedIn profile will definitely outrank your competitors‘ profiles!  

  1. Complete your Profile: Don’t leave a single field empty – LinkedIn loves complete profiles. Filling out all fields strengthens your profile enormously. Be sure to upload a portrait photo, because LinkedIn always ranks profiles with no picture last.
  2. Make use of relevant tags: Your „tagline“ (job description below your name) and your profile summary should contain your industry’s most important keywords. Make sure to include terms potential clients will search for.
  3. LinkedIn Groups: Membership in relevant groups is not enough – active members who regularly comment and participate in discussions receive a huge ranking bonus. 
  4. Promote your profile elsewhere: LinkedIn monitors profile visits. Make sure to include backlinks to your profile on your homepage, blog and other social media channels. 
  5. Ask for recommendations: Recommendations are much more valuable than endorsements. They require more time and effort and boost search rankings quite effectively.
  6. Update your status: Regularly updating your status increases your visibility as well. Focus on news in your industry and post updates at least twice a week. Blog postings get even more visibility than status updates; Read more on this topic next month.

About the Author:

Ritchie Pettauer is an independent consultant, specializing in the creating and implementation of online-marketing strategies. In addition to teaching at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna and at several universities of applied sciences in Austria (online content management, customer experience management, web analytics), he also holds discussions and workshops on “Corporate Online Marketing and Social Media.” The popular weblog, datenschmutz, has also been part of his work since 2006.

View his full resume on LinkedIn.


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