Many self-published and independent authors feel comfortable with the concept of creating a profile on Facebook or Amazon, but they are not always aware of the benefits and opportunities available via LinkedIn.
If you thought LinkedIn was just social media for professionals, or only an online resume, think again. When you optimise your LinkedIn profile, it can help your name, keywords, book title, content and articles be found through a Google search. Here’s how to do it.
1. Change your public profile URL
Your LinkedIn profile has its own unique resource locator (URL). Mine is https://www.linkedin.com/in/sueellson—and as you can see, I have managed to change it from the automatic version with dashes, numbers and letters to just my own name. If you haven’t done this, you can do this online. If your name (as one whole word in lower-case letters) is not available, you can try putting a dash between names, or add your pre- or post-nominal letters (Dr, PhD, etc) or a number (but not one related to your date of birth). If you have a Twitter account, you may like to use something similar.
By updating your URL, you are optimising your LinkedIn profile for Google’s search results. It also looks much better on your business card, email signature, biography, and so on.
2. Update your LinkedIn headline
This is directly underneath your name and is the most powerful location on your LinkedIn profile for appearing in search results on both Google and LinkedIn. Just try typing ‘LinkedIn Specialist’ into Google and you will see my LinkedIn profile in the search results!
I suggest that you start with some sort of memorable label that you wish to be known by (mine is Independent LinkedIn Specialist) and then, after that, include any other words related to your area of expertise, and finally add something memorable about you.
For example: ‘Young Adult Fiction Author—YA Writer, Romance, Teenagers, Youth, Surfer and Skier’.
If you also earn a living in some other way, you may decide to focus on those skills instead and add your author status at the end.
For example: ‘Freelance Writer, Journalist, Editor and Author—Tenders, Policy, Procedures, Technical Writing, Young Adult YA Fiction’.
Note: If you update your headline on your mobile phone or tablet, you will have more characters available than if you use your laptop or desktop computer. More tips are available if you’re interested.
3. Add your keywords in other locations
While I cannot prove that these are the best locations for keywords on your LinkedIn profile, the more often you include your keywords in the following locations, the more likely you are to appear in search results: Current Job Title, Past Job Title, Education (yes, include your subjects in the Description box), Volunteer Experience, Skills & Endorsements, Recommendations.
This means that when you list your job as ‘Technical Writer’ at ‘XYZ Enterprise’, you should also add your keywords after the job title.
For example: ‘Technical Writer – Tenders, Policy, Procedures, Submissions, Proposals, Grants’. Find out more about keywords you should use.
4. Optimise your posts
When you post an update on LinkedIn that goes in the newsfeed, make sure you add a picture or video first, then type your post using engaging language. Also be sure to ping others (by typing @ before a person’s name or company name) to trigger notifications, and use hashtags to direct your content and to encourage discoverability.
Remember that your posts can go viral if you generate early engagement (likes, comments and shares), and if you personally respond to all comments and shares. Posts can be a fantastic way to remind people about what you are up to—but once their cycle is finished, their value disappears.
However, I would still recommend that you aim to post at least once a month. Read more about LinkedIn posts.
5. Optimise your articles
When you write an article on LinkedIn, you can optimise it so that it can found through Google search long after it has been published. Just try typing ‘LinkedIn for authors’ into Google and you will see my article on this topic on the first page of Google’s search results.
Likewise, if you write some longform content, you too have the potential to create another top Google search result for the name of your book, your genre, your area of expertise, and so on. Once again, you need to generate some early engagement and respond to all comments and shares.
Articles can be a great way to showcase your expertise, and they can potentially generate lifetime value. I would recommend that you aim to publish three or more articles per year.
Ultimately, LinkedIn is just one of many online tools you can use to help raise your profile as an author and be found online—not just by your fans, but by journalists, publishers, event organisers and more.
To your publishing success!