The October 18, 2016 Tuesday call brought Telarus CIO Justin Chugg back in to provide part two to his LinkedIn partner training which covers how to rank higher in LinkedIn. Part 1 of his training revealed his secrets to building the perfect prospect list using LinkedIn and can be read here. The entire partner call recording can be watched here.
Why You Should Try To Rank Higher in LinkedIn
According to Sirius 68% of a sales rep’s time is spent researching. The remaining time is spent prospecting and an even smaller amount of time is dedicated to closing (roughly 3%). If inbound opportunities achieved the same level of sales, 97% of your time could be replaced with more productive activities that enable you to exponentially grow your sales number. Unfortunately there is always too much emphasis on how to prospect and too little effort on how to attract new prospects. It’s time to quit prospecting and begin attracting by improving your ranking on LinkedIn.
Your greatest stumbling block to ranking on LinkedIn is your interest in being everything to everyone. Generalization is fastest way to increase your cost of customer acquisition and achieve bankruptcy. The only way to truly rank within LinkedIn is to focus your keyword strategy on a specific vertical that enables you to dominate rather than flounder on page two.
The process of choosing the correct key words can either be painfully slow or lightning fast. Option one requires a long drawn out process of trial and error which may never find the optimal formula. Option two leverages massive real-time data, which will predict the perfect keywords, and maximize your ranking potential within LinkedIn.
On average Google processes 1,400,000,000,000 search queries a year. By tapping into this massive data collection via google.com/trends, you can visualize what the most popular key phrases are for both your vertical, market, and ideal customer. In the example below we can see search queries for the term HIPAA in the California market over the past 12 months with in the Computers & Electronics category.
Results are broken down by smaller geographic regions. The top category (Palm Springs CA) is compared to the neighboring top regions and each region has a percentage next to it which represents how it is compared to the top category.
Near the bottom of the page are the top key phrases that use the word HIPAA to help you know where to target your efforts.
Long-tail keywords are much more effective than single keywords. By focusing on these top three phrases within your LinkedIn profile, you will significantly increase the chances of being found and being found more often. Once you have honed in on the top three phrases, you will begin optimizing your profile for both relativeness and keywords.
Steps to Rank in LinkedIn
Update your website categories to reflect the top keywords in each category and tie it back to a webpage that reflects each of these topics on your site. This will enable both Google and LinkedIn to identify your profile based on the keywords found in this section.
If your competition has employed the same tricks, you can rank above them by increasing the number of common connections between you and your prospect. To do so you must first connect with your prospects and then explore their connections and filter for second degree connections. The results will list your prospect’s first degree connections that have yet to connect with you. To enable this view click on “View Connections” to the right of any first degree search results (note: not everyone shares their connections).
LinkedIn is interested in finding and ranking results based on commonalities. One of the commonalities LinkedIn weighs heavily is whether or not you share LinkedIn groups with the individual. At the bottom of any of your prospect’s profiles, you will see a list of the groups they are members. Join as many as you can and LinkedIn will reward you in the search results.
LinkedIn also rewards individuals who stay active on LinkedIn with articles and or profile updates. This signals to LinkedIn that the information portrayed in their database is both accurate and up-to-date.
The most important field on LinkedIn is the name field. If you’re lucky enough to have a short last name, you have the ability to include up to forty characters in this section. Unless someone else uses the same key phrase in their name, you will always outrank others regardless of their relationship to the prospect performing the search.
As previously mentioned in step four, LinkedIn knows that whoever is searching values good data and an excellent indicator of quality data is how complete the profile is.
LinkedIn also weighs in on how popular your profile is. This may feel like a chicken and egg scenario, but in reality it’s going to take a lot more than just your search ranking to get a high number of profile views.
The key to increasing your profile views, which will result in higher search ranking, is to create more inroads to your profile. This can be accomplished in five ways:
- Endorsing Others
- Giving Recommendations
- LinkedIn Activity
- External Links (Email/Social)
- Profile Projects
Profile endorsements, recommendations, and linking other profiles to projects on your profile leave permanent inroads back to your profile. It is important to invest time in creating inroads from profiles that will likely drive traffic from your prospects (like your competition).
Staying active on LinkedIn will not only build up your existing and potential relationships, but will also increase the number of profile views. Participating in LinkedIn groups, discussions, and posting relevant information is an excellent way to gain some lucrative attention.
From a keyword standpoint, your name has top priority, but in a close second is your professional headline. This is a great place to store key phrases that do not fit in your name field. It is also important to recognize the balance between keywords and your value proposition. The two need to align so that once you attract the right prospect, you are able to convert the prospect when they see your profile.
Your vanity URL should be customized and for search engine purposes, could include your top key phrase. This cannot be changed in the future, so if you don’t plan on pursuing this keyword forever, you may want to stick with your name. Whatever you decide to do, a custom LinkedIn url will always help boost your rankings in the LinkedIn search results and help you be found within traditional Google searches as well.
Chances are your LinkedIn profile will rank higher than your website. Hiding your profile from the search engines is a bad idea. By configuring your keywords just right, there is a good chance that you can leverage LinkedIn’s high SEO ranking to find yourself in the top ten search results. Public profiles are also shown to appear higher on internal LinkedIn searches as well.
Every section of your profile provides a unique opportunity to show LinkedIn how important your profile is for the keyword being searched for. One of the common overlooked areas is the Interest section.
All of us partner with and collaborate with vendors and suppliers. These strategic relationships should not be hidden. When you represent or sell another company’s product, you are an extension of their salesforce. When these relationships exist, it is always important to list yourself as an employee for these organizations.
It is important to also remember to add your key phrases to every available nook and cranny of your profile. Remember: you will not be penalized on LinkedIn for repeating your keyword too often.
Getting ranked on LinkedIn can create a steady flow of opportunities, but you have to overcome this next mistake if you expect your profile to create new sales opportunities. A majority of the profiles on LinkedIn make the mistake of only talking about themselves. This egotistical approach destroys the opportunity to convert potential customers. Rather than feed your ego, focus on talking to the individual reading your profile and demonstrating your value proposition. Provide specific examples of how you cater to their industry, including case studies, statistics, and references.
By following these fourteen steps you will be able to reinvest your prospecting time into more productive activities and leave your competition behind.