If there was an SEO anonymous support group I’d introduce myself like this.
My name is Keith, and I have a problem. Anything that can be reverse engineered and optimized, I attempt to manipulate for fun, personal growth, or financial gain.
So naturally when LinkedIn introduced endorsements, I was all about it. The end game: getting a large amount of quality endorsements across areas I consider my strengths.
So take a journey in problem solving with me, and keep your optimization hat on. Here’s some practical Search Engine Marketing strategy you can use to increase endorsements and views on your LinkedIn profile.
Avoid Skill Stuffing
The first thing I ruled out was adding the maximum amount of skills to my profile. I call this skill stuffing because it reminds me of 2007, MySpace, and keyword stuffing. We all know how those last two worked out.
When it comes to selecting skills it should be something done with careful research. If friends and co-workers don’t immediately recognize you as an expert in that field, don’t list it as an expertise.
LinkedIn is going to assume that you are being honest with your skills, and serve those up to your network of friends and co-workers when they view your profile. While it’s a proven fact that most people lie on their resume, stretching the truth on LinkedIn won’t get you very far with endorsements.
Do The Keyword Research
The foundation of Search Engine Marketing is based on a process of data analysis and research. Now those same skills should be cultivated even more carefully based on the Endorsements display engine.
Run your current skills through a keyword tool and see what comes up. Try using popular and niche descriptions of your skill sets to see which convert the best.
Understand that when it comes to endorsements, an endorsement by someone in your network equals a conversion. The goal here is to provide better industry skills, remove the bad matches, and ultimately increase daily conversions.
Get More LinkedIn Endorsements
Add skills only after a process of examining your background, doing the keyword research, and adding only the results which match your reputation on LinkedIn.
Just like clicks and conversions are measured in paid search, you should keep track of the number of people endorsing your skills on LinkedIn. Be sure to go through every few months and remove and add skills, just like you would test different ad copy in PPC.
Remove skills that have few or no endorsements and add better ones in their place. Think of removing skills as adding negative keywords to a PPC campaign, it will be another tactic that improves your conversions over time.
It’s hard to think about removing a skill based solely on how others interpret you, but in the end who better to judge than a competent jury full of your industry peers?
Each time LinkedIn serves up the endorsements widget, you are competing with four other people for that conversion. You don’t have to have the best possible match, just the best out of four.
If you have already gone through the steps above, then you will only be showing your strongest hand each time. Otherwise it will be left up to to chance and you’ll be wasting valuable free impressions (more on this later).
Endorsements Are Advertisements
It doesn’t matter what you think you are a rock star at, how does your network interpret you as a subject matter expert? This is similar to having a conversation with a client where you say, “I know how you want to target your niche, but the data supports a different conclusion.”
I review profiles of other Keith Brown on LinkedIn, to see how poor targeting will negatively affect the percentage of people who endorse you. When someone visits your profile they are presented with an opportunity to endorse you for a variety of skills.
If some are good matches and some are bad, chances are they will begin to remove skills and if you’re lucky endorse you for one or two.
Suggested Skill Endorsements
If someone is going to go through the trouble of removing more than a few skills from the widget, they might as well abandon the whole process altogether. You want the endorsement to make sense and be a natural extension of that person’s visit to your profile page.
LinkedIn is basically giving away free impressions if you do this right. How, by serving up these suggestions free of charge? So, take advantage of the offer while it lasts. Like all good things this will likely come to an end soon, and you’ll be asked to pay for prime placement across your network.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that LinkedIn knows how much engagement endorsements have gotten, and they will look to monetize that traction more in 2013. It won’t take long given the emphasis on rolling out more improvements to their premium profile pages.
Understand LinkedIn’s Algorithm
Think about your core skills as a huge key to your visibility on LinkedIn, and if their endorsement engine isn’t already thinking, it soon will be. The skills that get clicks will get served up more, and the rich just get richer. Now is the time to tackle your profile updates, and specifically take advantage of this new feature while LinkedIn is giving you all this free exposure.
If you follow the LinkedIn blog, you’ll understand the amazing things they are doing with data. By seeing this engine through the eyes of a search engine marketer, you can be one step ahead and look forward to lots of recommendations, endorsements, and a strong LinkedIn presence in 2013.