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If you are like me, sooner or later you will look at your LinkedIn profile and decide what should be changed or edited to make your profile more interesting, popular and compatible with your professional objectives (e.g. finding a new job, networking, changing career, selling more, etc.)

Did you know that you can use LinkedIn’s own analytics to test and measure how effective your LinkedIn copy is to viewers of your profile? Think recruiters, potential business partners, and the like. The process of making and testing these changes is called “A-B testing,” or “split testing” and it has been around for a long time, mostly used in the marketing realm for testing sales copy of emails, websites, lead capture pages, or advertising/direct response campaigns. The idea is you want viewers of your web page to convert by taking some action.

What is A-B Testing? Wikipedia defines it as:

“… the name implies, two versions (A and B) are compared, which are identical except for one variation that might impact a user’s behavior. Version A might be the currently used version (control), while Version B is modified in some respect (treatment). For instance, on an e-commerce website the purchase funnel is typically a good candidate for A/B testing, as even marginal improvements in drop-off rates can represent a significant gain in sales. Significant improvements can sometimes be seen through testing elements like copy text, layouts, images and colors, but not always.”

Essentially, it is a process that allows you to make small changes in the “sales copy” of a web page, like your LinkedIn profile, and measure the results of such changes. In the advertising and direct response world, these types of measures analyze the rate at which your emails are opened, how often emails are submitted through a particular web page (opt-in rates) and conversion-to-sales ratios.

Because LinkedIn not an open system, you can’t use traditional A-B testing tools to look at the metrics found in solutions like Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer.

Fortunately, there is a way to do this in

The process looks something like this. Measure → Change → Measure → Change.

Over time, we can look at some of the following data points:

  • The number of times our profile was viewed
  • The names, occupations, and industries of people who have viewed our profile and their companies and titles (when not anonymous)
  • The number of messages/emails we received
  • The number of notifications we received
  • The reason why we received these communications

How do I perform A-B testing on my LinkedIn profile?

First, turn profile change notifications off. The reason why you want to turn profile notifications off is simple; you do not want to have people respond simply because you recently made a change – you want to see the results in a way that does not introduce change bias into your experiment. When you turn change notifications off, you will not send an outgoing message that tells others you have changed your profile. To do that, click your picture on the upper right hand side of the screen. Scroll down and click “Privacy and Settings.” Choose the activity notification hyperlink and set notification to ‘off”. The graphic below highlights this:

Since most people only look at the first page of a website or LinkedIn page, keep it simple and focus on making changes to four key areas. These include your Photos, Headline (text below your name), Location (where you live) and Background (summary section). Remember, the goal of having your profile viewed is to entice the profile viewer to read more about you.

In order to keep the number of test variables reasonable, I would recommend making the number of variations look something like this:

Photos (2-3 variations)

Titles (2-3 variations)

Location (1-2 variations)

Summary (2-3 variations)

In conclusion, it is possible to test and evaluate changes to your LinkedIn profile. Unlike commercially available A-B or split testing services, it is not possible to change and test a large number of variables in an expeditious way. Take your time, test, test again, and over time you will find a selection of words and phrases that maximizes your profile views and interactions. If you do this correctly, you should see your Linkedin profile views do this:

Linkedin Profile Views Graph

Still don’t know what to write or how you should change your profile? Here is a little trick: find profiles that show up in Google and leverage the words and phrases that resonate with you and your online brand. Just be authentic and honest as you apply them to your page. Don’t use hyper-used buzz words. LinkedIn listed the most popular buzz words for 2013 here.

Since LinkedIn uses proprietary algorithms to rank and order the results you get when you search for people on the site, I suggest a simple Google search to find these profiles by using the following search string: +intitle: (your word) OR (your word).

Here is an example with words chosen.

Google Boolean Search for Linkedin Profiles

Remember: Google search uses Boolean search logic, which means you can use search operators like AND, OR, and NOR in your search. For more information on this type of search, read the article here.

Once you find the profiles that are on the first page of Google, run the text found on them through a word cloud, like Wordle, to see which words are most frequently used. Then go to those LinkedIn profiles to see how and where those words were used. Finally, leverage the words and phrases into your own profile and test.

Let me know how this works for you.

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Vincent Ferraro
Vince Ferraro is a creative general management executive who contributes his world-class, Fortune 100 marketing knowledge to infuse new revenue and market share growth strategies while maintaining profitability. His bold moves, competitive instincts, and experience working on three continents are the perfect match for a Consumer or B2B technology company with global ambitions.

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