Optimize your LinkedIn Profile: Catch Attention with an Informative Headline

LinkedIn is one of the oldest and most established social networks.  It is the world’s biggest professional network with more than 259 million members in over 200 countries and territories.  Membership in the United States is over 84 million.  If you aren’t already using this tool, you should be.  It can be a major asset in your marketing arsenal.  This series of posts will help you to optimize your LinkedIn profile in five easy steps.

Before we dive into optimizing a quick word on why this is an important step.  LinkedIn values users with what they call “complete profiles”.  For instance users with completed profiles show up higher within LinkedIn’s search results.  Spending a little time now to get your profile in shape will pay off later.

Tip:  If you are already an established user with lots of connections you may not want to alert all your connections of small updates as you optimize your profile. You can turn your activity broadcasts on or off and select who can see your activity on their homepage from the Privacy & Settings page.

Step One:  Catch Attention with an Informative Headline

Following your name and picture the profile headline is the first impression that potential connections will have of you.  It is also a key factor in making your profile rank higher within LinkedIn’s search.  When writing your headline keep those dual purposes in mind.  Be clear about what you do for clients and try to include as many applicable keywords as possible for the search algorithm.  Multiple titles, descriptions of what you do, books you’ve written are all good ideas for your headline.  Be aware that there is currently a 120 character limit for this section.

For example having a headline such as “President of John Smith Consulting” gives prospective clients very little to go on and is easily passed over.  Wouldn’t you be more interested in talking to someone who is a “Facebook Marketing Expert Author & Trainer | Social Media Speaker | Relationship Marketing Specialist” or “CEO @TopRank Online Marketing, Author: Optimize, Public Speaker: Integrated Search, Social, & Content Marketing”?

The headline section is only the first area in which you will want to use keywords.  There are online tools that can help you identify what people are searching related to your particular field.  Google has an excellent one that I recommend checking out.  It’s important to consider what are known as short tail and long tail keywords.  Basically, long tail keywords are keyword phrases made up of 3-5 words whereas short tail keywords are one or two words.  Short tail will be the common and popular words associated with your industry.  The long tail ones are less popular but are more targeted to specific searches and come with less competition.  Including a mixture of both is the best strategy.

Have you come across any LinkedIn headlines that caught your eye?  Let us know in the comments and come back for the next post on pumping up the summary section.

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