The other day, I reconnected with a colleague of mine from a previous job. We discussed some of the old days and caught up on some of the things that we’d been up to during our time apart. Just before we concluded and hung up, I suggested that we get connected on Linkedin to stay in touch. He agreed.

When I got his invitation, I immediately accepted, and then proceeded to his public profile to see what other kinds of trouble he had been getting into.

However, when I looked at my friend’s public profile, I was shocked to find a string of numbers and letters that looked something like this:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/9/3aa/96.

Typically, no one cares about this kind of stuff. “So what? It’s my profile. Click it and move on.”

SEO Tip For Sales People

Search Engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing will rank your profile higher if the file name bears some semblance to the topic being searched, such as your name.

Let’s say I’m conducting a sales meeting with a client, and after I leave, the client says, “Hmmm, let’s just Google this ‘Larry Prevost’ character and see what’s on the Web about him.”

Now, you know this kind of stuff happens all of the time. Your clients and prospects will search your name before and after you meet with them. If you are speaking with a prospect over the phone, chances are good that they will do a search on you during the conversation and most definitely after the conversation if they are interested in what you are offering. If you are hunting for a job (and who isn’t these days), your prospective employer is “Googling” your name before and after the interview.

We have someone working the website chat utility in our Development Center. As the number of chat requests go up, so do the hits on her name.

So when my clients type my name in Google, Yahoo or Bing, the search engines will put the file:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/larryprevost

higher on the Search Engine Results Page, or SERPs, over something like this:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/9/3aa/96.

It’s my way of telling the search engines that this profile is important for searches on ‘larry prevost’.

As far as search engine results are concerned, anything you can do to get your profile, website or blog within the first 3 or 4 entries will put your document on the first laptop screen returned to the end user.

And this means increased exposure and traffic.

How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Maximum Search Engine Marketing Exposure

So how do you do this with your Linkedin.com profile?

Actually, it’s pretty simple which is why I’m surprised that more people haven’t implemented it.

Login to your account and click on the “Edit My Profile” under the “Profile” section on the left hand column. This will get you to the profile settings page where you can modify your profile. It will look something like this (click on any of the pictures to enlarge them):

Modifying your Linkedin profile for maximum SEO exposure.

When you get to the profile page, click on the “Edit Public Profile Settings” link over on the far right hand side. You’ll find it under the search box, but over the “Hi Larry” welcome message. This will take you to the public profile settings page.

Modifying your Linkedin profile for SEO.

Up at the top, you’ll see a box that says “Your Public Profile URL” along with the URL that is currently being used. Go to the right and click “edit”.

Modifying your Linkedin profile for search engine marketing.

The box will expand to reveal a text box that will allow you to enter in your own name and will be appended to the standard www.linkedin.com/in.

Update your Linkedin profile for Search Marketing success.

Once you type in the name you want the world to see, click “set address” and you are good to go.

Naturally, you can enter in any name that you want, even “Queen-of-the-Universe”. But since this is a your professional profile that your clients, prospects and employers will be searching on, I would encourage you to keep it professional.

Save the fun stuff for a separate Facebook profile.