Late last week I watched a promotional video from a LinkedIn guru claiming they could ensure you came top of a LinkedIn search result, this is not the first time I have witnessed such claims so I thought I would put together this short video to reveal the truth about LinkedIn search engine optimisation.
To be fair, the search algorithm is a closely guarded secret and it keeps changing which is why I go to some lengths to regularly test what works and what doesn’t.
However, the one thing that always stays constant is that the size and relevance of your network is THE most important factor!
Keywords, skills endorsements and profile strength all play their part but they are relatively minor roles.
If it is important to you to be top (or near) of a search result then you should concentrate on building a network that gets you as close as possible (2nd tier min) to the people you wish to be found by. In addition you should ensure your keywords are listed in the following fields/sections (in order of priority);
- Job Title
- Company name (edit display name)
- Summary, experience (role description) and any other profile section.
Profile optimisation is often overrated in my opinion, it’s important for sure but people get obsessed with it. If you are a jobseeker and you want recruiters to find you its critical but for anyone else, its important but not worth losing sleep over.
I am keeping a close eye on the search algorithm (exciting stuff huh?) because I expect that skill endorsements will start to become a more important factor but as it stands they pale into insignificance as a keyword when compared to words or phrases in a headline.
I will keep you informed.
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I was driving my car to a training session, as usual I had my radio on to keep me entertained for the 3 hours I would be in the car. The presenter announced the next song and I thought “Oh no not that awful song again, why do they always play the same rubbish again and again?” so I switched channels…this time the presenter was interviewing an artist who had nothing interesting to say so I switched channels again, this time to a talk station…..they were debating whether we get our bins (garbage) emptied often enough!!
“There must be a better way!” I screamed out loud to myself. “Why am I having to listen to something that someone else chooses for me? My Tony Robbins CD has been played to death and there are only so many CD’s I can carry in my car. I needed a better solution – enter the wonderful world of Podcasts! (more…)
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LinkedIn have announced a brand new line up of mobile apps and for the first time ever, they are worth getting excited about!
I will be reviewing the excellent new iPad app soon, this piece however is focussed on their brand new LinkedIn Intro app for the iPhone.
Firstly let me apologise to all of you who are Android or Windows mobile users (or anything else). This product is currently focussed on iOS only and because it is built into the Mail app, I am not sure when or if it will be available on other platforms – LinkedIn didn’t mention anything about this in their presentation.
Apparently the average professional spends 28% of their day dealing with email, this seems an astonishing fact at first but when you think about it you might find you can relate to it….to be honest I’m probably spending more than that in my email! Another fascinating fact revealed by LinkedIn was that more than 50% of emails are read on a mobile device these days and that number is increasing.
LinkedIn are increasingly focussed on mobile so it made sense to introduce an app that links your LinkedIn account to your email account.
In 2012 They acquired a business called Rapportive which is a Gmail plugin that shows you the latest social network updates from whoever you’re corresponding with. I have been using Rapportive for 18 months or so and found it very useful when dealing with emails at my desk but like most people I am increasing managing email on my phone so I have found I am using Rapportive less and less…..Enter LinkedIn Intro.
Intro is integrated into your Mail so that instead of an email looking like this;
It now looks like this;
The key difference as you can see is that the LinkedIn profile of the sender is now embedded into the email itself.
If you are not connected to this person there is a link (see arrow below) which gives you the option to connect. DON’T CLICK here! As with all mobile apps, LinkedIn just send the recipient the basic and unfriendly “I’d like to add you to my professional network message” which is poor practice.
However when you click on the profile link you get to see more information from that individual’s profile (see below). How cool is that?
It’s not just clever and cool, it’s really useful. How often do we receive emails from people who we don’t really know? This way we can check out more information about them which allows us to respond more effectively.
Of course this also has an effect on the sender in that it yet again proves just how important your LinkedIn profile is. If you need help with that click here.
I had forgotten how much I missed using Rapportive until I started using Intro today, its fantastic!
Unfortunately it’s not perfect, I have noticed some emails have an intro link that is so small you can’t really read it! See example below;
This above screenshot is larger than it appears on the phone and even then its difficult to read! I can only assume this is something to do with the format of the email and may be fixed in future updates, lets hope so.
So if you have an iPhone, open your browser of choice (Safari perhaps) and go to intro.linkedin.com, follow the installation instructions and once you have had a play, let me know what you think.
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LinkedIn groups and other online forums are full of it, LinkedIn users are outraged and LinkedIn Group Managers are tearing their hair out….so what is all the fuss about this new thing called SWAM?
For those of you who haven’t come across it yet, SWAM stands for ‘Site Wide Auto Moderation’ a relatively new LinkedIn feature designed to block spammers from LinkedIn groups.
Here is how it works;
A member of a group behaves in such a way that the manager of that group decides to ‘block & delete’ them from their group. This decision is purely made by the manager/owner of that group and LinkedIn are not involved in any way.
The result of this action is that the blocked individual is automatically moderated in every other group of which they are a member (up to 49). Moderated simply means that every post (creation of discussion, comment, promotion or job post) has to be approved by the manager of the group before it is published.
LinkedIn brought in this function to help group managers deal with the ever-increasing amount of spammers infiltrating their groups. The idea was that a group manager would only delete and block someone they believed to be a genuine spammer and this would therefore be doing a favour to every other group manager who had been unfortunate enough to have attracted the said individual as a member.
I think LinkedIn genuinely thought this would be widely welcomed by everyone (except those nasty spammers) but it has caused a massive outcry from just about everyone.
The problem is that this decision is based on the following assumptions;
- All group managers are responsible, credible members of the LinkedIn community.
- The definition of spam is uniform.
Clearly these assumptions are completely wrong and this has been the route of the problem. I have heard countless examples of professional, credible individuals who have never even considered spamming anyone getting hit by SWAM. This could be for a variety of reasons;
- They have had a disagreement with the manager of a group
- They have had a public ‘falling out’ with another member of a group (groups are after all debating forums)
- The manager of a group blocked & deleted them by accident
- The manager of a group is a competitor
- The manager had a bad day and decided to ‘cull’ some members to make themselves feel better!!
Quite often the reason someone gets banned from a group is because they continually post links to articles, this is very annoying for most group managers who have set up their group to be a discussion forum and links without commentary to stimulate debate just clog up the discussion timeline and are considered spam by many managers. This problem however has largely been created by LinkedIn themselves with their ‘Share on LinkedIn’ buttons that appear in most internet articles, these buttons allow the reader to ‘share’ the article to multiple groups and this is often the cause of the problem.
Innocent group members are suddenly finding they are effectively subject to some gagging order in all of their groups, if they are a member of many groups it can even take them some time to figure out which group they have been deleted from!
To make the situation worse, it is not easy to get yourself ‘de-SWAMed’ LinkedIn customer services want nothing to do with it and advise contacting every group manager individually and ‘pleading your case’ to get the moderation lifted. The problem is that the group manager may well believe that there is ‘no smoke without fire’ and decide to ignore your appeal (this seems to be the most common response).
Interestingly some of the most vocal opponents of SWAM are the group managers themselves! The result of SWAM to decent, credible group managers is an increased workload (significant increases in moderation) and more hassle from disgruntled members asking them to lift their moderation status.
It seems that no-one is happy.
So what do LinkedIn have to say about it?
So far there has been a wall of silence from LinkedIn on this matter, despite the deafening volume of protest.
So come on LinkedIn, its time to eat some humble pie and accept this was a well-meaning but ill-judged action.
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Nobody is suggesting we should just accept spam and everyone wants to find a solution but SWAM is clearly a very blunt edged sword that is doing far more harm than good.
In the meantime I would suggest everyone is extra careful with their behaviour in groups….oh and steer well clear of groups managed by your competitors!
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It’s probably fair to say that up to 2008 LinkedIn was primarily about recruitment. Since then this unique business to business networking platform has developed into a far more holistic site offering its members a vast range of functionality to enable them and their employers to be more productive and successful.
LinkedIn Company Pages have evolved in a similar way. Initially the only practical use of a company page was to advertise vacancies and showcase a great workplace in order to attract ‘followers’ who may one day want to work for you (in effect a talent pool).
In the last few years LinkedIn have added functionality more associated with promoting the company to prospective customers and facilitating engagement with current customers.
The problem is that many organisations haven’t kept pace with these changes and their company page is still managed by their recruiting teams rather than their marketing function.
Can you imagine a situation where a Recruiting/HR department was given control of your website? That would be crazy!
The responsibility for the company brand and communication to the wider world must be the remit of the marketing function.
The Company Profile below is a major blue chip B2B and B2C organisation and it is not an isolated example. In my experience the bigger the company, the more likely they are to be stuck in the ‘LinkedIn is just about recruitment’ bubble and I believe this is damaging their brand.
If you can find your customers and prospects on LinkedIn then you need to take a look at your company page and if it is currently controlled by your recruiting team then you need to politely ask for it back!
There is a lot you can do with a company page these days such as;
- List all of your products and services
- Show recommendations for products services from satisfied customers
- Tailor the content different visitors see when they visit your products/services page
- Build a list of relevant followers who you can engage with
- Show eye-catching ‘on brand’ images on all pages
- Embed Videos to showcase your products
To understand all of the above features and how to implement them correctly I have produced a video tutorial which you can get here
So come on marketers, get control of your page back. Each company profile has its own page for recruitment, so let your recruiters control that but make sure all the other pages are focussed on promoting the whole company and its products.
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