Keyword research forms the basis of every type of online marketing activity from Search Engines to pay Per click, email marketing and, of course, the elements of social networking and social search that we are interested in here. The keywords, and most commonly keyword phrases, that result from this research dictate to a large degree how we get found and whether we are getting found for the right things or not.
How you use the keyword phrases is important but finding the right ones is critical or else all the time that you spend using them after that point will be time wasted. If you are focusing your attention on being found for one phrase but your prospective clients are using a totally different one as they search for potential suppliers then we have a mismatch – and unfortunately you are going to be the loser in this.
Why bother with LinkedIn?
When we search for people to connect with on LinkedIn, we tend to do so for a variety of different reasons. Two of the main ones are that we are looking for a particular person, in which case we type in their name and then filter from there, or we are looking for a particular skill or service in which case that’s what we type in.
And those words are exactly the keywords or keyword phrases that we want to identify and be found for.
If you work in the legal sector, for example, then you will probably want to consider terms such as ‘lawyer’, ‘law firm’, ‘legal services’ or ‘solicitor’ as a general start point, but then also focus in on the areas of specialism such as ‘employment law’, ‘company law’, ‘family law’ etc as well as a geographic element if you work and want to be found for your town or county.
All of these keywords and their variations can and should be woven into your Personal Profile so that they make it easier for you to be found and then contacted for the services you can provide.
How to carry out Keyword Research
When we look at researching the right keywords to include then it is all too easy to get sucked into our own little world and just look at it from our own perspective – let’s face it, all of our industries have their own internal vocabulary which we use on a daily basis but may mean little to those outside of it who we want to talk to.
Some ways of identifying the best keyword phrases that you can then look at building into your LinkedIn profile or indeed your LinkedIn Company pages as well should include:
- think about what your product or service does or more importantly what benefits it offers, and also consider different ways to express that;
- talk to clients and partner organisations and ask them what words they feel best describes what you do – getting as wide a range as possible gives you the best possible start point;
- use some of the tools available to help find what words are commonly searched on and what other words and phrases are similar to them – Google AdWords Keyword Tool is a good start point – I also look at the good old thesaurus to help as well!;
- examine your direct competitors sites and their online campaigns and see what words they are focusing on.
We can also use LinkedIn itself to do the same:
- check the profiles of people who work in the same areas as you or offer similar services: see which words show up the most frequently on their profile;
- ideally, filter your search results on LinkedIn by “keywords” rather than the default of “Relevance” and you should find more hits with regard to the keywords you want to find;
- take a look at their ‘Specialties’ section which ideally would be used to highlight keyword phrases.
Remember: it is how you are perceived by others that is the important point to remember and not necessarily how you believe that you are perceived. Work from that standpoint and you are much more likely to achieve success!