Making LinkedIn Links Count

March 30th, 2010
by Dustin Woodard

SEOs have long been preaching the importance of anchor text in links and have long pointed out LinkedIn as a great place to gain keyword-rich links. Hundreds of thousands of LinkedIn users have followed this great advice, but something changed late last year that no one else seemed to notice.

dustin woodard searchfest 2010Note from Dustin: This SEO tip is a reward for those following my blog. I’ve kept this one secret since late last year so I could share it at Searchfest during my talk on Reputation Management earlier this month. I’m sharing it here as a reward for people who have been following me, but will not be actively promoting this tip as I don’t want it to be discovered by too many people, causing LinkedIn or Google to make changes.

Again, SEOs, including myself, have long been preaching that the links you share in your LinkedIn profile should use custom anchor text so instead of the link saying “My Website” or one of the other generic terms, it could pass along a keyword-rich link. For example, my link to this site said something like “Dustin’s SEO Blog” so I was at least giving Google or other engines a better indication to what the site is about–something that is deemed very important in their algorithms.

Well, my advice has changed. Why? Turns out LinkedIn went the way of Twitter & other popular UGC sites and no-followed all the links. Let me say that again, in case you missed it: LinkedIn links no longer count in the eyes of search engines!

This is unfortunate as I believe those links should count. There’s no need for LinkedIn to hoard their link juice and the links are limited, transparent, and attached to real people with real business networks. It also gives spiders a chance to discover small sites it may not discover otherwise. I’m not familiar with search spammers using LinkedIn to game the search engines, but I suppose it may have happened enough for Google to pressure LinkedIn. For those who link to their LinkedIn profiles a lot, the fact that LinkedIn is not linking back to your site (even though you specifically tell it to do so) might be enough reason for you to reconsider.

After some tinkering, I discovered there is a way to get followed links from LinkedIn. Here’s what you need to do:

Go into your LinkedIn profile and edit the links section. Your choices in the drop down should look like this:

LinkedIn Links SEO

You’ll notice that I highlighted “My Website” and “My Blog.” If you choose one of those two, you will get a followed link from LinkedIn. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to customize the text as you can with the “Other” choice, but at least the links will count.

If you are a person who has a lot of different sites, I’d recommend using both My Website and My Blog & using one of the other choices as you prefer (knowing you won’t get link love). Take a look at my profile for an example: Dustin Woodard on LinkedIn. And if you haven’t already done so, you should be using a custom URL (see settings – I used “woodard” so my link is http://www.linkedin.com/in/woodard instead of some random number).

There you go, a free SEO tip of great value to pretty much anyone on the web.

Searchfest Photo credit: seandreilinger

Posted in Reputation Management, Search, Social Networking | Comments (8)

8 Responses to “Making LinkedIn Links Count”

  1. Scott Bush Says:

    Dustin, a great tip. I’d like to know LinkedIn’s reasoning for the nofollow change… any insight there?

  2. Nate Schubert Says:

    Thanks for the tip referred by @randfish on Twitter. Great for a little positive work on this rainy Sunday morning.

  3. dustin Says:

    A few people have messaged me saying their links are still followed. Unfortunately, not true. You must log out of LinkedIn and look at your public URL to see the page as search engine spiders would (when you are logged in, LinkedIn uses a redirect). View source and you’ll see all are no-followed except the ones I list above (which get rel=me treatment, which only denotes that it is a page that the actual user has control over).

  4. ben rush Says:

    Worked a treat Dustin. Thanks!

  5. AzulmArinO Says:

    Thanks for this tip Dustin :)

  6. Tommy Says:

    THey now seem to be nofollowing “My Company” as well…. I think your secret is out!

  7. dustin Says:

    Tommy: If you read my post carefully, I never recommended “My Company” as I noticed it was one of the options that had swtiched to no-followed (along with My RSS Feed, My Portfolio and Other). So no changes… yet.

  8. Chris Nomand Says:

    Thanks for the very helpful information!

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