The 3 Most Important LinkedIn Profile SEO Places for Relevant Keywords

by Meg Guiseppi on February 10, 2014


How do executive recruiters and hiring decision makers at your target companies find good-fit candidates like you?

In a word . . . keywords.

They go to the LinkedIn search engine and type in various relevant keywords and phrases that match the qualifications they’re seeking.

All of the content in your LinkedIn profile should contain the most-searched relevant keywords specific to your targets, and supporting your executive brand and the value you offer them.

But the content in certain sections – typically those that sit higher on the web page containing your profile – rank higher with LinkedIn’s search algorithm.

Strategically placed, the right keywords elevate your search rankings in LinkedIn’s search engine, increasing your profile’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the likelihood you’ll be found and considered by them.

I’m not including the Summary section in my “Top 3″, because it’s not as highly indexed as the others. Even so, with 2,000 characters available, that section also needs to be packed with your most brand-reinforcing relevant keywords . . . within readable, smooth-flowing content.

3 Key Spots to Add Select Keywords for an Optimally SEO-friendly LinkedIn Profile

1.  LinkedIn Name Field

You may not realize that, along with your actual name, you can add a total of 40 characters in the name field for your last name, which allows most people enough room to add a bit more.

According to LinkedIn Help, the following are acceptable additions in the name field:

  • Suffixes and certifications
  • Former names, maiden names, and nicknames

The following are NOT allowed in the name field:

  • Personal information such as email addresses or phone numbers
  • Symbols, numbers, or special characters
  • A user profile for anyone other than a real, natural person – this includes creating profiles with group, alumni, or company names

Here’s an example of an acceptable, keyword-rich name extension:

William Jones, PMP, SOX, CSM, CSSBB

2.  LinkedIn Professional Headline

If you haven’t changed the default headline LinkedIn automatically populated for that spot, you’re not making the best use of that prime real estate.

You can pack quite a punch with the 120 characters allowed. Use as many of the characters as you can, while keeping the headline comprehensible. More relevant keywords = more likelihood your profile will be found.

This is not the place to put phrases like “Open to Network” or “Seeking Opportunities in XYZ”. They use up precious space for keywords. Move those to your Summary section.

Here’s an example of a keyword-rich professional headline:

Senior Project, Program Manager – Process Design, Financial Analysis, IT & Data Systems, Risk Exposure, Six Sigma, Agile

3.  LinkedIn Job Titles

Of course, you must use the same job title on your profile that you’ve used on your resume and elsewhere, to avoid sending up red flags that you’re exaggerating or misrepresenting yourself.

But LinkedIn allows 100 characters here, so you can add relevant keywords to each actual job title.

For example, this job seeker’s actual job title at one company is:

Senior Technical & Business Project Manager

But he can add a few choice keywords to improve SEO:

Senior Technical & Business Project Manager – Capital Markets Risk Management, MBS Disclosure

Be aware that LinkedIn may change the functionality or usage regarding the “Top 3” here, so check the Help pages for updates.

Related posts:

How to Use the New LinkedIn for Executive Personal Branding

How Strong is Your Executive Brand Online for Job Search?

Personal Branding Really Matters in Executive Hiring

The Biggest Executive Job Search and Personal Branding Mistake

photo by Coletivo Mambembe

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meg Guiseppi February 11, 2014 at 8:20 am

Steve, rarely have commenters on my blogs consistently been so gracious with their support, and forthcoming with valuable information. I greatly appreciate your words of wisdom!

As you said, it’s a good idea to adjust the privacy settings, before you make changes to your LI profile. If you’re in a confidential job search, it is critical to do.

And yes, I did mention this in an earlier post, “How to Use the New LinkedIn for Executive Personal Branding – Part 1” —

Many thanks, Steve, for jumping in and adding value by commenting here regularly.

2 Stephen Q Shannon February 11, 2014 at 6:01 am

Meg consistently pin points valuable information in concise fashion. Know that I am bigoted and biased in her favor. She also is receptive to additional ideas or thoughts. How golden is that!
For example today Meg inspires me to recommend before you follow her SEO (keywords) ideas to a “T” you tweak your privacy settings to prevent LinkedIn software from announcing (broadcasting) to the world, what you have done to optimize your LI profile. Not cool. Not sure how to do that? Interact with Meg, she will let you know if she has not already addressed it in an earlier blog postings. I’m thinking she has and I missed it. sQs Delray Beach FL aka – Village By The Sea

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