SEO | Leverage LinkedIn: The Basics

In a few short years, LinkedIn has become an online staple for business people and many educators.

It’s an easy way to connect with a range of professionals, some you know and others you want to meet.

If you’re in the job market, it can be a practical way to highlight your skills, qualifications and capabilities.

If you're a small business owner, LinkedIn offers other advantages.

For example, once you create a LinkedIn profile, your online findability factor (your F-Factor), goes up almost immediately. That alone may be sufficient reason to create a profile.

Be forewarned, however.

LinkedIn encourages you to make connections and share information by displaying a prominent progress bar and percentage score that tells you whether your profile is complete or incomplete, according to LinkedIn standards. As a result, LinkedIn can become a competitive sport where profile completeness and number of connections become an artificial measure of success.

There are a number of LinkedIn basics you might want to pay attention to, whether you’re the owner of a micro business or part of a larger organization.

First, keep things simple. Second, establish guidelines.

It’s easy to achieve a complete, or nearly complete, profile rating by providing just the basics: current and a few past job highlights, education and your website link. Add a few connections and you’re on your way.

Keep your profile content simple, particularly if you’re just starting out. You can always add information. Once content is released on the web, well, it never truly goes away.

If you have more than one person in your organization, establish guidelines. LinkedIn is technically a business connectivity tool. This means both individual and company profiles should emphasize business-specific content. Skip personal info unless it closely relates to your business or professional endeavors.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, do this simple test. Conduct an online search for your name, your organization or both. Capture or print the SERP results. (SERP means search engine results page.)

Create a basic LinkedIn profile, and repeat the same search. Again, capture or print the SERP results and compare them to your preliminary test. Have the SERP rankings changed?

Soon, we’ll take a closer look at simple steps you can take to leverage LinkedIn in a controlled manner.

Meanwhile, the most basic profile can improve your overall online findability, and for many small businesses, this may be the one way LinkedIn provides real value.

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