LinkedIn SEO: Optimize Your Profile for Improved Visibility

Semrush Team

Jun 13, 20238 min read
illustration of a phone with LinkedIn logo sign


Like Google, LinkedIn itself can act as a valuable search engine.

In this article, you’ll learn how to leverage LinkedIn SEO to increase your visibility and reach more of the right people.

What Is LinkedIn SEO and Why Is It Important?

Search engine optimization (SEO) on LinkedIn means improving your profile (or your company’s page) to rank higher in LinkedIn’s search results. 

And higher rankings make it more likely for recruiters or potential clients to find you.

SEO for LinkedIn follows a similar blueprint to optimizing a website for Google—do keyword research, conduct a target audience analysis, and implement on-page optimizations (more on that later).

Here’s how an SEO approach can benefit your LinkedIn efforts:

Generates Warm Leads

An optimized profile means you can appear in LinkedIn search results as a credible source when people search for your company, services, or other industry keywords.

Depending on what information they’re looking for, these people could be warm leads. They’ve expressed interest in solutions you can provide.

LinkedIn enables you to find and engage with these people and move them through your sales funnel. That’s key.


Because four out of five buyers on LinkedIn have twice the buying power of the average web audience and are six times more likely to convert. 

LinkedIn is also the world’s largest professional network. So, it has the potential to connect you and your business to your target audience.

Helps You Find Jobs and Hire the Right People

An optimized profile makes it easy for recruiters to find the right candidates with LinkedIn’s robust search features. 

And job seekers can use profile optimization best practices to ensure the right recruiters discover their profiles.

Like this:

results for "seo specialist" search on LinkedIn showing matches

And optimizing your profile is even more important than it was a few years ago. Because remote job postings on LinkedIn have increased by more than five times globally since the start of the pandemic.

Simplifies Building Repertoire with Peers

Optimizing your LinkedIn profile facilitates professional connections. And you can then message industry peers, potential employers, or job seekers directly on LinkedIn. 

These connections could eventually refer you for a job, direct you to the right people, or collaborate with you on projects.

Here’s an example of how you can go right from finding someone to starting a conversation:

example of LinkedIn message

How LinkedIn Ranks Search Results

LinkedIn's search algorithm prioritizes personalized and relevant results to provide users with useful information.

The order results appear in depends on what the user is searching for—people, company pages, jobs, posts, etc.

For example, a LinkedIn overview on the member experience says that the algorithm for company page searches considers the page’s name, number of followers, content quality, and more.

Want to know more about how well optimized your personal profile is for LinkedIn search? The Social Selling Index (SSI) is a good indicator.

LinkedIn’s SSI tool quantifies the value of your social selling efforts (your ability to connect and engage with prospective customers via social networks) based on four profile ranking factors:

  • Establishing your professional brand. Publishing helpful content and completing your profile with a target audience in mind
  • Finding the right people. Identifying better prospects and building connections using LinkedIn search
  • Building relationships. Connecting and interacting with decision makers in your niche and related ones
  • Engaging with insights. Finding relevant insights and posting about them

Here’s an example of an SSI report:

an example of an SSI report

Research suggests that an SSI score of 70 or above increases your reach by 25%. So, that’s a good benchmark to consider as you measure your performance over time.

How to Conduct Keyword Research for LinkedIn SEO

Keyword research for LinkedIn involves determining words and phrases your target audiences (like recruiters and prospects) type into the search bar when looking for content or profiles related to your industry. 

For example, recruiters looking for demand generation managers are likely to search for “demand generation.”

They would see something like this if they click to filter by “People”:

LinkedIn search results for “demand generation” shows profiles that contain target keyword

To uncover keyword opportunities, run this search yourself.

When you start your search on LinkedIn, you can filter by “1st,” connections to evaluate profiles of those within your direct network.

You can also filter by “2nd,” and “3rd+” connections, which the image below shows:

LinkedIn "Connections" filter with drop-down menu containing "1st", "2nd" and "3rd+" checkboxes

You can use these LinkedIn search results to see the keywords and phrases other professionals in your field use. Including variations they use.

You can also discover keyword opportunities using our Keyword Magic Tool

Enter a “seed” keyword—a broad keyword phrase that helps you uncover other keyword ideas—and click “Search.”

"demand generation manager" in Keyword Magic Tool search bar

You’ll see a list of terms that broadly match your seed term.

Click the “Related” tab to see more results that you might not immediately think to include. 

“Related” tab

Try adding these keywords to your profile sections to see how they impact your results. Then, monitor profile views and adjust your keywords as needed.

Note: Keyword-rich profiles help with ranking, but avoid keyword stuffing. And only use terms that accurately reflect your experience.

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Better SEO

LinkedIn follows a multi-step process to ensure its search engine returns the most relevant results, so optimizing your profile is key.

Here are six LinkedIn SEO tips to optimize your profile:

Add High-Quality Images

Include a high-quality, professional profile photo to make a good impression and show your personality. Remember that all LinkedIn search results include a profile photo.

And add an eye-catching cover photo to create a warm, inviting impression that conveys your value proposition(s).

In the example below, consistent branding in both photos gives visitors a clear idea of who you are and what you offer:

example of LinkedIn profile of "Kiran Shahid" showing example of high-quality profile and cover images

Create an Impact with Your Headline

Writing a compelling headline encourages visitors to learn more about you. 

Include action words and phrases specific to your role and industry.

Jess Cook’s headline, for example, includes a position as “Head of Content,” a recognized job title. It also includes a secondary role and a specialty: 

“Delivering daily cheat codes for small content teams.” 

Jess Cook’s headline including primary and secondary keywords

You can also add a personal quirk like Amanda Natividad did. The headline reads, “Can keep hydrangeas alive in a vase for 10 days” and “VP Marketing at SparkToro.” 

Amanda Natividad’s headline including primary keyword and personal add-on

This is a good example of conveying personality and including keywords, without stuffing keywords into the headline. 

Create a Catchy ‘About’ Section

Your “About” section is the best place to use keywords related to your profession and skill set.

But don’t just list what you do—use a narrative format to pull readers in.

For example, Haus of Bold Founder Erin Balsa starts by listing her target audience’s main goals to create a connection with them.

Screenshot of "About" section from Erin Balsa’s LinkedIn

Erin also summarizes her journey and lists notable clients she’s worked with.

Erin also included keywords related to B2B SaaS and content marketing. Like “content strategy,” “content writing,” and “B2B SaaS companies.”

These elements help Erin gain visibility and traction on LinkedIn.

Optimize for Keywords in Your ‘Experience’ Section

Creating the “Experience” section of your profile to show off your achievements and feature relevant keywords can help increase your visibility. 

Describe what you do, highlight how you supported colleagues, and quantify your accomplishments.

For example, Olga Andrienko, VP of Brand Marketing at Semrush, uses this section to describe responsibilities and concrete results:

Screenshot of "Experience" section from Olga Andrienko’s LinkedIn

Keywords such as “brand strategy” and “reputation management” make it easier for people to find this profile in search results.

Complete Your Profile

Go beyond completing basic sections like work experience, education, and skills to get the most out of SEO for LinkedIn.

Your profile level meter includes recommendations for how to improve. It looks like this:

example of "Profile Strength: Intermediate" with recommendations for improvement

Once you’ve completed your profile, keep it updated to ensure you capitalize on search rankings.

Take It a Step Further: Create a LinkedIn Engagement Strategy

LinkedIn is a social networking platform, so you must be active to stand out. Here's how to get started:

Share thoughtful and relevant updates, articles, and insights to provide value to your professional network and encourage conversation. 

This content can be anything from industry news to personal stories—as long as it aligns with your brand/story.

Joel Klettke, for example, shared a unique perspective on ChatGPT that positioned him as a thought leader.

ChatGPT LinkedIn post by Joel Klettke

Ask others to weigh in as well so you can maximize your reach, engagement, and networking opportunities

You can also leverage idea-generation tools like Topic Research to find trending topics and conversations in your niche.

Just enter a preliminary topic, choose your country, and click “Get content ideas.”

“Get content ideas” with Topic Research tool

Engage with Followers and Other Relevant Accounts

Engage with your audience by liking and commenting on their posts to boost your visibility on LinkedIn.

When you comment, add your insights, draw from personal experience, and expand on ideas to start a conversation and showcase yourself as an authority. 

You can also ask questions and engage in discussions related to your industry. Like this:

example of an LinkedIn post by Mina Mesbahi with a comment from another user

Replying to commenters builds relationships, boosts visibility, and can attract potential leads. This can drive more clients and revenue for your business.

Post Regularly

Posting regularly helps you build a consistent brand presence. 

When it comes to timing, the most important thing is to post when your audience is active and most likely to engage with your content.

Note the times when your content generates the highest engagement and optimize your posting schedule to fit this.

It helps if you create a content bank and use LinkedIn's scheduling features to stay on track.

"Schedule post" box

Experiment with Different Content Types

LinkedIn allows you to share text-based posts, images, videos, presentations, articles, and polls. 

Visual content tends to perform well.

For example, carousel posts have 1.8 to 2.3 times higher reach than other posts.

Here’s what a carousel post looks like:

example of a carousel post on LinkedIn

Participate in LinkedIn Groups

Groups can help you reach a larger, targeted audience quickly. 

Engage with members in the group by liking their posts, commenting and offering advice where appropriate, participating in discussions, and sharing your content.

But don’t spam groups. Many have rules around spam and self-promotion. And you risk being kicked out if you break them.

Backlinks from guest posts, podcasts, and social media to your LinkedIn profile page increase visibility.

If you have a website or blog, you can embed a LinkedIn follow button. Visitors can then follow you on LinkedIn with a single click. Like this:

example of a blog post with embedded LinkedIn follow button

Send Thoughtful Connection Requests

Focus on establishing trust and building relationships when making connection requests to ensure you come across as sincere. 

Engage with their content, be genuine in your interactions, and respect their time.

Then, personalize messages with details from their profile, any recent activity, or a shared interest:

example of sending a message with connection request on LinkedIn

Recipients are much more likely to notice and engage with messages like this.

Maximize Your Professional Footprint with LinkedIn SEO

Using profile/page optimization techniques improves visibility to help you drive results. Especially if you take the next step to engage with others in your niche.

Want to get even more out of LinkedIn? 

Find out what makes a Forbes 30 Under 30 profile.

And sign up for a free Semrush account to find the best keywords to use on your LinkedIn profile.

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From this account we share helpful ways to use the Semrush toolkit to achieve your SEO goals!
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