Michael Utley: Hey everybody. This is Michael and Chris. Welcome to this episode of Dodgeball Marketing. This is episode number 27. We're going to talk about how to optimize your LinkedIn page for SEO. LinkedIn is really great, Chris. Let's get into this. We want to give some real nuts and bolts for how people can make their LinkedIn page, whether it's their personal profile or their company pages—.
Chris Raines: Yeah, we're going to go back and forth between the two.
Michael Utley: We're going to talk about all of it, but let's start off with this choosing keywords for a tagline for other stuff. Tell us about that.
Chris Raines: Yeah. So the tagline, if you're watching this you probably have a LinkedIn profile and LinkedIn is really just on a rocket ship right now in terms of organic reach-
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: In terms of engagement, in terms of number of people regularly signing in and I know you use it a lot, Michael, with the videos-
Michael Utley: Gotten really excited about LinkedIn this year, yep.
Chris Raines: So it's great and it's still a great opportunity out there, but first let's talk about a tagline. Now if you have a LinkedIn profile you know that you can put a tagline right underneath and that gets viewed anywhere where your profile is shown either on the platform or off the platform in search engine results, that will show along with it. So if you look at mine, I think mine says I clicked off my profile.
Chris Raines: It says "Marketing expert, Facebook ads, Google ads," something like that. So it's really anytime you see your name shown up what you want to be associated with that. So it's a great opportunity to put in, do some keyword research on maybe what people are searching for, if you're an individual, maybe people are searching for PHP developer, Shopify developer.
Michael Utley: Mm-hmm.
Chris Raines: If that's what you do. So figure out what people are looking for when they're looking for your services and go ahead and put that... Pick things that have, you can use tools like SEMrush and other keyword research tools to see what's getting more volume and people are going to search for that. So people might search for, if I was a Shopify developer, people might be searching for a Nashville Shopify developer. Well, if I had Nashville Shopify developer in my profile, I would have a chance of popping up there with my LinkedIn profile and potentially get a job doing Shopify development, if people search for that.
Michael Utley: Yeah. And of course, if you have your URL on your company profile, we'll talk about some more nuts and bolts stuff as we go.
Chris Raines: Sure.
Michael Utley: But these keywords are essentially being associated with the target URL.
Chris Raines: Exactly.
Michael Utley: So there's a reason we're doing all this and thinking about SEO.
Chris Raines: Yeah, and it all gets indexed by the search engine and it tells the search engine what this company or person is about, and what they do, and what they're associated with. So step one, do a little bit of keyword research and find terms that are most relevant to you and most searched by users and put that in your tagline.
Michael Utley: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And we're doing all those things that you just described. We're using right now, "Online marketing to grow your business. Based in Nashville team."
Chris Raines: There you go, so you've got the geographic modifier there.
Michael Utley: Yeah we did that geographic... We serve clients all across the United States, but there's a little bit of a wanting to make sure that we're not hiding the fact that we're somewhere.
Chris Raines: And people still search for local, even though you do a business that can serve anyone anywhere and it's digital, people still will want to search within Nashville for companies in their community, so that's important, I think, to include that.
Michael Utley: Cool. Next step. So yeah write a detailed LinkedIn About section. All of the texts that's on your LinkedIn profile, whether it's your personal profile or your company page, all of this is being indexed and added to search engines and being associated with the target URL of the page. And if you have your URL on your profile, which you absolutely should, you're using all of this text real estate as keyword content to associate that offsite link with the destination website. And of course, if you've gotten to know anything about SEO or you've been listening to any of the Dodgeball Marketing podcasts, or you've ever talked to Chris at Bullhorn Media or me at GoEpps, you know that these inbound links are really valuable. So all of this real estate that LinkedIn gives us is really good. I would say, short of your personal name or your company name, everything else is up for grabs.
Michael Utley: If you're a marketing VP or a business development executive, and your company has some old tagline that really doesn't have any good keywords, maybe in the branding conversations, you can kind of say, "Hey guys, we want to have a marketing tagline that's different than our brand tagline." We have our logo and we have, maybe "Sherwin-Williams: Paint the World". Paint the world doesn't have any keywords. It could be "Sherwin Williams manufacturing the best products for painters to grow their businesses."
Chris Raines: There you go. Isn't it "Cover the world in paint"?
Michael Utley: "Cover the world in paint".
Chris Raines: It's the worst tagline I've ever heard.
Michael Utley: Sherwin-Williams is watching. So no offense Sherwin-Williams. Talk to us we will do a branding project just for you. Actually, we know a number of people have attacked that brand over the years, Sherwin-Williams we'll do a free consultation session to discuss the problems of cover the world.
Chris Raines: It's a horrific image.
Michael Utley: And it's the paint over the globe.
Chris Raines: So many deaths.
Michael Utley: It might be a little dated. It might be a little dated. We know that conversation's already happening, but yes, all of this outside of, if it's your personal page, outside of your name or your company name, those are areas where these are real handles of "Am I in the right place?" So there's some sort of higher order or actually lower order thinking things that need to happen with names. Outside of that, everything needs to be considered in relationship to the lens of keywords and this is not about keyword stuffing. This is about using appropriate benefits-oriented language that matches how your audience is thinking about this content. So your About section, that's really an area to make sure that all of your key services are represented. Nobody cares about the history of the company. You don't have to have the history in there for people to sort through and get to what you're doing, start what you're doing for people that really matters.
Chris Raines: Great.
Michael Utley: Chris, tell us about the next thing. Yeah.
Chris Raines: So update LinkedIn regularly with fresh content. Now there's two ways to update with content. One is the video text image posts which show up in the feed, which you do a lot of. And I used to do a lot of and need to start doing again.
Michael Utley: Yep.
Chris Raines: And the second one-
Michael Utley: I was imitating you.
Chris Raines: I need to re-imitate you that was imitating me.
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: So that's one way to get out there. And like I said before, the organic reach on LinkedIn is still phenomenal. You could open up a brand new account and if you have a really great post that really strikes a nerve, you can have four connections and get seen by thousands and thousands of people. That's how it's kind of like Facebook was in 2013, it's just wide open. They haven't hampered it back in the same way that Facebook has. So yeah, organic content there's still, if you make good posts that are good content that people want to consume and comment engage with, there's a huge amount of opportunity for reach.
Chris Raines: Secondly, and this goes back to, that's less about search engines, more about platform stuff. Secondly is LinkedIn articles. Now articles are, it's a separate area of LinkedIn you can go to, to write an article. You can write a full article, include pictures and links and embeds and other types of things. Now articles don't get a lot of play on the platform. I've tried writing articles, they just don't show up. LinkedIn just prefers the posts and the videos to show up in the feed. But what is important with articles is they do get indexed by Google and the other search engines.
Chris Raines: And so if you write a great article—long, thorough, that's valuable, provides good content and it gets decent engagement with people within the platform, even though the hamper it, like I said—that will show up on Google search results. I've done many searches trying to solve a specific problem with digital advertising. And in the top 10 results was somebody posted a LinkedIn article and I clicked on it, clicked on their profile, checked them out. So it's just an avenue beyond what we talked about in terms of simple things like tagline and description to really get your thoughts out there and your expertise out there in a way that really regular posts on the platform don't allow. Search engines really focus on those articles-
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: —in a bigger way than posts.
Michael Utley: So let's recap, there's a little bit of an X, Y axis here. You've got personal pages and company pages and then you've got posts and articles.
Chris Raines: Which I believe posts can only be done by individuals.
Michael Utley: Mm-hmm.
Chris Raines: And I don't know that a company, I might be wrong on that actually, we need to check on that.
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: I don't know if a company can actually author a post. I think people author posts and then a company can share it maybe, but the point is, its great content, great fodder for a search engine. They do get indexed, they do get placement and they do get clicked on.
Michael Utley: Yeah we've played around with moving some content and some blog momentum over to LinkedIn, and we've just never gotten the traction from it to make it a real standard for us. But we've tested that out, whereas lately with posts, yeah it's taken off.
Chris Raines: Yep.
Michael Utley: Yeah as people have been home and on social media more with COVID, it's really... And as people are looking to connect and do things online, whereas they used to do it more in physical interactions, LinkedIn and Zoom are really the rock stars right now. I think Zoom has gotten more attention because it's been part of a real public experience, but LinkedIn has really filled in a gap during COVID.
Chris Raines: Mm-hmm.
Michael Utley: Good, yeah, next step. So keeping company info accurate on LinkedIn is really important. So keep your company info accurate. And this is a basic strategy of SEO. So this applies not just to LinkedIn, but to any platforms where you have listings profiles and there are limitations to what you can do with a lot of websites. Like on a lot of websites, you can't go in and just start pasting the nice notes that your customers sent you as a review. And with some sites, you can't even start driving traffic to get more reviews. And another example of where it's really tough is with Wikipedia, you can't necessarily go and just start putting a lot of sales content on Wikipedia, it'll get struck out right away. But there is something that you can have a lot of control over that you need to have a process in to review monthly or quarterly and make sure you have really good discipline about, and that is your basic business info.
Michael Utley: This is going to include your hours of operation, your URL, your locations. And then when you get beyond LinkedIn over to places like Google My Business, they're adding new features like ways that you can interact or use services during the pandemic. So think about LinkedIn as an anchor and a real primary point of contact for your customers understanding the basics about what you're doing, but you can also extrapolate this kind of thinking out to your other channels and we really recommend at a minimum once a quarter doing just a check and having a list of all the different URLs or all the different accounts that somebody just needs to go and put eyeballs on and make sure they're okay. And then for just making sure, seeing how you appear in search results, doing a check on schedule at least once a month.
Michael Utley: So going out to Google and doing a search and so this could include something like your company name, plus the word LinkedIn and seeing how that looks in search results. Or your company name, and then looking at your Google My Business profile, or your company name and your city, if you're a regional or local provider. So thinking about keeping company info accurate, this is really important.
Michael Utley: We often think of LinkedIn as one of the things that the CFO is going to go through before they sign the big contract. It's a little bit of a place to see if people have their stuff together. If they're organized, if they're managing proactively in terms of their listings and their presence on the internet, and you really don't want that CFO who has veto power over your million dollar proposal to go through and say, "Yeah, this is a little sloppy." You really want them to have no catch, no concerns, no unclaimed listings, no weird errors, or an old URL. And if it, "Oh yeah, it redirects it's no problem. We use it for email or something." No, no, no, whatever your marketing face is, have everything really clean and tight and populated on your LinkedIn profile.
Chris Raines: That's great.
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: And our last thing about LinkedIn here, and this kind of is associated with that whole vetting process, is choose high-quality images for your company LinkedIn page. And so we're thinking photos of the office, teammates, events, ways that you're involved in the community and use real photos, go out and have some real photos made. Don't use stock images, if you can help it.
Michael Utley: Mm-hmm.
Chris Raines: And this kind of goes back to, I mean, for me I think the primary reason to include photos, make them good photos and real photos is that vetting process. It's not just potential clients that are looking at your LinkedIn page, it's going to be investors that are trying to suss out a company, if they're looking to invest in a company like, "Well, you told us you have X number of employees. How many do you actually have?" Make sure all of your employees are linked up.
Michael Utley: Yep.
Chris Raines: And so they'll show under number of employees.
Michael Utley: And make sure they look good.
Chris Raines: Make sure they look good. Yeah, make sure none of them have a weird profile image where they're like selfie with the sun behind him or something.
Michael Utley: Yeah if the photos of your team members that you're asking people to trust that you've on your website presented as like, this is our team, this is us and they get to the LinkedIn directory and they're poking around and they're seeing high school prom photos you've kind of missed the boat. And it's a reasonable thing, if somebody's on staff with a company just to have a little bit of expectation there.
Chris Raines: So yeah choose your images with the perception that it's not just potential customers, it's going to be investors that are looking to invest in your company or potential employees. LinkedIn is a place where your next important piece of talent is going to come from, maybe. And so they're going to look at, employees, they're going to look at the job titles of employees. They're going to look at the photos of the space that you're in or the events that you attend and so forth, they're going to use that as information. And so you don't want to have, to your thing earlier, you don't want to have something there that's going to make them go like, "Ah, don't really want to work here, they don't have their stuff together." So it's all part of this package of how you present yourself to the world and it's important to consider. So high-quality photos and do it with the intention that not just employees-
Michael Utley: Authentic images, high quality, consistent publishing of posts, images that reinforce your message and your brand not detract from it.
Chris Raines: Yep. Perfect. And that's all we have.
Michael Utley: Good. Yeah. We're bad at outros.
Chris Raines: Yeah end of podcast.
Michael Utley: Yeah end of podcast now. Thank you we'll see you on the next one.
Chris Raines: See you on the next one.