Making the Most of Website Links on Your LinkedIn Profile

websites.gifWhen LinkedIn first launched, there was nowhere to put links to any of your web sites in your profile. Then they added the ability for a single link, and later three. Now, they not only allow you to have three links, you can also make the text for those links whatever you want, rather than just the generic “My Website”, “My Blog” and “My Company”.

This is important for a couple of reasons:

  1. Branding – Reinforce your business and personal brand(s).
  2. Clarity – One of my contacts, who shall remain nameless, has two links, both currently labeled “My Blog”. Better labels help the person reading your profile.

Now, some people have mistakenly assumed that it is good for search engine optimization (SEO) because it puts keywords in the link to your site. Unfortunately, though, LinkedIn routes the link through a redirect function on the LinkedIn server which kills any search engine benefit, since the link is not actually to your site, but the LinkedIn URL, which looks something like this:

http://www.linkedin.com/redirect?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Elinkedintelligence%2Ecom

For the more technical among you, it’s now a 302 redirect, so no SEO benefit.

Anyway, the two other reasons cited above are more than sufficient reason to change those links. Here’s how to change them, step by step:

  1. Click on My Profile in the top tabs.
  2. Scroll down to the Websites section and click on Edit next to any of them:
    websites-edit.gif
  3. On the next screen, for each website, choose “Other” from the left menu, then type the name of the site in the empty field to the right. The URL then goes in the field underneath, like so:
    websites-edit-screen.gif
  4. Save changes and you’re done!

Not everyone has three websites to link to. If you don’t, there are some other cool things you can do with those unused links:

  • Link to your profile on another site. That’s probably not what LinkedIn had in mind, but I don’t see anything in the user agreement prohibiting it. If you’re an “open networker”, you could invite people to also connect with you on your networking platform of choice. Better yet, link to a site that shows all your other social connections, like FullyFollow.meXeeme, or maybe something that does so indirectly, like your Klout or Empire Avenue profile.
  • Click to call. MySkype.info provides a great web interface for people to contact you via Skype. Jaxtr uses the web to enable free phone calls from people to you. Oddly, jaxtr’s own explanation of how it works isn’t nearly as clear and concise as Mashable’s: “Your visitor enters his phone number and receives a call. Once he picks up, your phone starts ringing, and the call is connected. If you don’t answer, Jaxtr will take a voicemail message, and there are tools to block unwanted callers or only allow certain friends to call. The caller’s phone numbers are never exposed to one another.” When you sign up with jaxtr, you get a simple URL you can use on your LinkedIn profile. I suggest labeling it something like “Call me for free via jaxtr”.
  • Promote your favorite charity. Why not? You’ve got the space – if there is a cause you’re really passionate about, why not offer a link to their site?
  • Promote a friend or family member. Really, isn’t that what networking is all about? Make a link that says something like “My best friend’s startup – WidgetCorp”.

15 Comments

  1. Congratulations Scott from a week 83 SOB. Well deserved!

    I’m wasn’t actually sure if she gave me the award because she thinks my blog is “up and coming” or that she found a nice way to tell me what she really thinks of me. You know how kind she is. Infortunately, she won’t admit to anything. 🙂

  2. Okay! forgive me I”m a little slow, I have no idea what to do w/this but I want to have it pls help me! It’s to much info for me to apply. I’m clueless, so can I call someone to walk me through this?

  3. Calethia:

    I pretty much spelled it out (with pictures) step by step. I know it may seem overwhelming if you’re not familiar with it, but let me suggest printing this post out and using it as a guide while you go through it on LinkedIn.

    LinkedIn doesn’t provide telephone support. There are some groups where you might find someone to volunteer to help, e.g., MyLinkingPowerForum, but if this is presenting a challenge for you, I don’t know that going through and figuring out how to sign up there and publicly ask your question is going to be any easier.

    Really, it’s just not that hard. Try printing this out and following the instructions one step at a time — don’t get caught up in all the information at once — just break it down step by step.

  4. You mentioned something about the text in the link not being beneficial for SEO.
    “So no SEO benefit as far as I can tell, but if some SEO guru (and mind you, I’m pretty darn knowledgeable on the topic myself) wants to explain otherwise, please feel free.”

    So obviously I don’t want to pretend that nobody knows this, but scrapers of information are alive and well on the Internet, and just because the original site doesn’t allow link juice to follow anchor text in a link, it does not mean that the bots that scrape linkedin for information are going to be as conscientious.

    But a big organization that instructs 1000 employees to use that technique, probably won’t get full credit for 1000 backlinks. So do it, exactly like you said, and expect limited benefit. But expect a benefit nonetheless. And if for no other reason that people are more likely to click if there’s more description about what they will see.

    • @PJ – But even if scraped, they end up scraping the redirect URL at LinkedIn, unless they’re parsing it (unlikely). So I’m still dubious about the direct SEO benefits. LinkedIn is trying to discourage spammy profiles with this technique. Of course it’s not working, not any better than “nofollow” did at preventing blog comment spammers.

      However, I agree with you that there is definitely some benefit to be had with these links, and possibly some indirect SEO benefit. The main thing here, though, is to optimize the text for humans — the #1 best use of these links is to encourage/entice visitors to your profile to want to click through. “Company Website” or “My Blog” doesn’t do that. 🙂

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