Your LinkedIn headline is the most important piece real estate on your profile. It communicates your professional brand, determines if you will be found and whether someone will click on your profile. Creating a compelling,keyword-rich headline is crucial to your success.
The concept of keywords starts with a search. LinkedIn is a search engine, like Google. The results are determined by SEO, Search Engine Optimization: the art and science of getting found when someone enters a keyword, or phrase, into a search engine. Like Google, there is an algorithm that determines the rank or results when someone conducts a search on LinkedIn. Rank is driven by the relevancy of a keyword in your headline, and throughout your profile, to match what people are searching for.
Every time you communicate on LinkedIn your headline appears next to your name and profile photo—it travels with you to comments you make in Groups and Status Updates on the Home and Company pages. Use its 120 characters to clarify what you do and how you help. It’s a reduced version of your value proposition.
Here’s how to make sure your profile will be found when someone does a search:
Create a keyword-rich, optimized headline: Keywords in your headline drive internal and external search on Google. If you have an optimized LinkedIn headline and a 100% complete profile, when you “Google” your name your LinkedIn profile will likely be the first or second result. Don’t use your job title (no one is searching for a Vice President) but the keywords someone would search by to find a professional who does what you do.
How to find the right keywords to use in your headline:
- Use the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool to gain ideas. See what keywords people are searching by on Google.
- Search the profiles of your competition and other LinkedIn users in your industry. Leverage a database of 235 million professionals; study how they position themselves.
- Do a job search on LinkedIn of what you do; study the job descriptions noting the words that appear often.
- Use terms your customers would use that resonate with your target market. What language do they use? Ask your customers how they found you. Don’t assume, confirm.
- Do “test” keyword searches on Google and LinkedIn and evaluate the amount of results. Simply enter keywords into the search engine and see what comes up. For example, if someone was searching for Real Estate, would they enter the brand name of a real estate firm, terms like realtor, or would they search by “real estate in Westport, Ct.” It would be the latter.
Once you’ve determined the best keywords to use, you need to strategically pepper them throughout your LinkedIn profile. Include them in your Headline, Summary, Experience and Skills section to gain keyword density. Keyword density is the percent of time that keyword appears among all the other words on the profile page.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional business network; it is a platform for you to find and be found by prospects, partners and like-minded professionals. Optimizing your profile Headline will position you to accomplish this.