Seriously though, let’s talk a little bit about LinkedIn and SEO (search engine optimization).
- If you have a distinctive name, you can easily dominate the search engines on searches for your name. Get your name, or some variation of it, as a domain. Which do you really want to send people to: your LinkedIn profile, which has all kinds of other stuff on the page that isn’t you, or a personal home page where you control all the content?
- If you don’t have a distinctive name, you’re going to be competing with all the other Jane Smiths (or Scott Allens) on LinkedIn. That may give you a leg up on all the people who aren’t in LinkedIn, but guess what? If they’re not in LinkedIn, they’re probably not trying to get ranked well. Being in LinkedIn is no advantage – your competition (from a search engine perspective) are in there too.
- If you’re going after rankings for keywords, not your name, your LinkedIn profile can’t even begin to compete with a blog. Sure, the blog is more work, but if you’re serious about being #1 for “extremist idealist” or “search engine optimization Jacksonville”, then LinkedIn is just one teeny-tiny piece of the puzzle. Start with a blog – that’s going to get you a lot farther with Google than LinkedIn ever will. And if your blog isn’t ranked higher than your LinkedIn profile for your target keywords, you’re doing something wrong.
- There is some benefit from the outbound links on your profile – they are indexed and followed by search engines (make sure you have set the links on your profile to be publicly visible, or that won’t be the case). However, links posted in Q&A or groups don’t give any link juice — they’re run through a redirect filter at LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is for relationships, not search engine optimization. Can it have some minor SEO benefits? Yes, but it’s way down the list in terms of strategies.
Let’s keep the focus where it belongs. Otherwise we end up with this.