This past March LinkedIn announced 100 million members worldwide. So it is safe to assume there are at least hundreds of individuals on LinkedIn with your same job title and perhaps thousands within your specific industry. We are all very aware LinkedIn is mined by job recruiters looking for new candidates all the time. This is why understanding LinkedIn search is critical if you want to appear ahead of your colleagues or competitors on the LinkedIn search results page (SERP). For some I might need to explain what a SERP is before diving deeper.
Quickly log into your LinkedIn account and look for the search feature located in the upper right of the page. Enter in a search query and press enter. The next page will list in rank order results for your query; that is a SERP. For the example below I use “SEO.”
“SEO” is a very popular skill to add to a LinkedIn profile as the SERP returned 306,170 results. Can there really be that many SEO professionals on LinkedIn? Turns out the answer is no. LinkedIn’s internal search engine is very rudimentary and relies heavily upon a very old and defunct SEO tactic used to increase search visibility for your website with Google, Yahoo! and Live (When Bing was Live). Their search algorithm loves keyword density and the LinkedIn profiles that appear first for “SEO” use keyword stuffing to increase their profile’s keyword density. Let’s check out Lil B, SEO Master and Daniel Gonzalez’s profiles.
That is Lil B’s entire profile. I am serious there is nothing more. Just SEO hammered out over and over again.
Daniel at least has added details to his experience listing past employment. However, toward the bottom of his profile he leverages keyword stuffing like Lil B.
There might be a few other factors that decide how profiles appear in rank order but keyword density and keyword stuffing are the most important. I added a term to my profile six additional times and went from page nine of the SERPs to page six overnight.
However, you need to find balance with this tactic on LinkedIn depending upon your goals. If you want your profile to be reviewed by recruiters do you really think a job recruiter will be impressed with Lil B’s and Daniel’s LinkedIn profile? Treat your LinkedIn profile as you would your resume. Listing “SEO” three hundred times on your resume is not going to impress a hiring manager. If anything if might land you in a loony bin.
Also, do not implement keyword stuffing on your website thinking you will rank better in Bing, Yahoo! and Google. You will not and in fact you might incur a penalty depending upon how badly you are keyword stuffing. The discussed tactic is purely for LinkedIn’s internal search engine.