Why You Should Be LinkedIn

    If you would consider your business a professional organization, then you need a LinkedIn profile. Furthermore, if you are a business owner, then you especially need to set up a profile. For those of you who aren't yet familiar with LinkedIn, it is a professional version of Facebook geared solely toward professionals. This way, your connections and interactions remain professional, without you having to worry about non-professional contacts, friends, or relatives (like your kids!) interfering or intruding. Facebook is for socializing; LinkedIn is for connecting and networking.

    LinkedIn is a great place to network and build a contact base. Connect with old coworkers, clients, and use it as a place to keep in touch professionally.

    Here are a few benefits to joining the LinkedIn community:

    Increase Your Visibility

    By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they're searching for someone to do business with. Don't forget, people would much rather work with people who their friends know and trust.

    Improve Your Google PageRank

    LinkedIn allows you to make your profile information available for search engines to index. Since LinkedIn profiles receive a fairly high PageRank in Google, this is a good way to influence what people see when they search for you.

    To do this, create a public profile and select "Full View." Also, instead of using the default URL, customize your public profile's URL to be your actual name or company's name. To strengthen the visibility of this page in search engines, use this link in various places on the web. For example, when you comment on an article or a blog, include a link to your LinkedIn profile (as well as your website) in your signature. LinkedIn also offers handy buttons and badges you can attach, making it even simpler for people to click and visit your profile.

    Enhance Your Search Engine Results

    In addition to your name, you can also promote your blog or website to search engines like Google and Yahoo! Your LinkedIn profile allows you to publicize websites. There are a few pre-selected categories you can add links to, such as "My Website," "My Company," etc. This is a simple, free way to get inbound links.

    There is also an "Other" category field, where you can modify the name of the link. If you're linking to your personal blog, include your name or descriptive terms in the link, and--voila!--instant search-engine optimization for your site. To make this work, be sure your public profile setting is set to "Full View."

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