A few questions asked by my network… Appreciate the questions – all good. And a couple recent pictures to add color.

Golfing at The Johnny Cup, Cleveland

Golfing at The Johnny Cup, Cleveland

  1. What are the best techniques to deploy to get your personal/business appearance in search results higher?
  2. How to promote your business more on Linkedin.
  3. How to use LinkedIn for job postings.
  4. What should I be doing to stay engaged with the contacts I have on Linked In when there is no pressing business need to do so?
  5. Ideas on how others are using LI to expand their network and more about what’s possible with forming and participating in various discussion groups.
  6. What companies do you know of that have set the bar for making really great use of their corporate pages to attract potential employees and promote their business?
  7. How often do people take time to update/tweak their profiles?
  8. If you have updated your profile, is there something specific you can point to that immediately made a difference in how often your profile was returned in search results or how often you were contacted by recruiters?

Following is my best attempt to shed light and add value. But like with most things, the more POV’s we can get on the subject, the better. So perhaps add your and then ask your network to take a look and add their thoughts as well. There’s a lot too it, so I’ll tackle these questions one at a time.

#1 Appearance in Search Results

Now just to be clear, this question relates to the stats you see on your home page (or on this page http://www.linkedin.com/wvmx/profile). Appearance in search results is different than Views. Views include actual visits to your profile – so someone clicked on your name and hit your profile. “Appearance in search results” relates to how often your profile is returned in a Linkedin search made by someone else. But the real question relates to the all-important word “higher”. So if there’s a list of 421 people that fit the search criteria, how do you get on page one or two, just like Google search results, right?

To understand the question, you really have to understand Linkedin Advanced Search. Take a look at the Advanced Search form, from top to bottom. The Boolean (AND OR etc.) fields are at the top. Second, notice the search “filters” in the middle. Lastly, look at the “Sort by” choices at the bottom.

Finding Dad/Grandpa, Vietnam Memorial Wall, Akron

Finding Dad/Grandpa, Vietnam Memorial Wall, Akron

Now I will say that I searched high and low on the Linkedin site for information on search ranking. As is no surprise, there is NO mention of exactly how the Linkedin Search results page returns results. It seems a closely held piece of information – understandable; kind of the secret sauce.

So how would your profile show up higher in search results? To a certain extent, it seems out of your hands; dependent on the filters and sort-by choices a searcher makes. But to get on the list to begin with, it would seem important to do the following things. Consider this list as table-stakes – things to do to get invited to the dance and show up in someone’s search results:

  • Keywords in Headlines and Titles
  • Connections with as many people as possible (legit connections, unless they are LION’s)
  • Keywords in other areas, especially Interests, Skills, and Groups & Associations
  • Keyword matches the Industry selected in the individual job profiles
  • Obviously, your profile has to fit the other Boolean criteria as well (location, etc.)
  • Numbers of Recommendations
  • Group involvement

Now to the question of Search Rank. Again, it depends on the searchers choices in the “Sort by” field. Since the default is “Relevance”, it would seem to make sense to pay particular attention to that concept. So how do they define relevance? Intuitively, one would think it would be based on the following:

  1. keyword density across the Profile (relevance)
  2. number of Connections (influence/importance)
  3. number of Recommendations (positive influence, also to the keywords, though less-so)
  4. number of mutual connections (relationship)
  5. number and activity within keyword-related Groups (relevance, influence, relationship), especially shared Groups

With this in mind, what are some of the critical must-have’s/must-do’s with your profile relative to appearing in search results?

  1. Add keywords everywhere, but especially in the high profile areas listed above.
  2. Focus on Recommendations, especially from people you do business with (versus employees and associates)
  3. Connect with as many people as you feel comfortable with. My recommendation? If you were to meet someone at a job, industry or social event and they have some relevance to your job, career, or interests, connect with them.
  4. Join and be active with Groups that have relevance to your job, career, or interest. How active? Up to you – how fast you think and type, how visible you want to be, how much influence you want to develop. Time is scarce, but do something. Know that, depending on your activity broadcast settings at the time, Comments in Groups also show up in your activity list to your 1st level connections. So Group comments can also keep your profile fresh.
  5. All this applies to Linkedin Answers as well, though I freely admit to not getting engaged in that element yet.
  6. You might also consider paying the $25/month to become more of a player in the space as well. We’ll get to where the value is in that in future posts – and there IS value, depending of course on what you are are trying to accomplish.

That’s it for now. Please Comment. Thanks in advance.

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Top Sources:

http://www.slideshare.net/vferraro/increase-visibility-on-linked-in-presentation-updated-3-7-2010

http://www.youtube.com/LinkedIn

http://twitter.com/#!/linkedin

http://searchengineland.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-linkedin-today-how-to-optimize-your-presence-on-it

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Next: Company pages, Promotion, and Recruiting