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The Purple Bumble Bee, Miles Duncan & LinkedIn

Why you must meet Miles Duncan before you die!

I first met Miles a few weeks ago at one of his intriguing LinkedIn Success Systems events in Edinburgh. I thought I knew a lot about LinkedIn, but humbly, I still managed to learn something new from Miles.

So why must you meet Miles before you die? I will tell you later.

But first...

It was during the session that I attended with 79 other eager individuals, all wanting to know how to make better use of LinkedIn, that I noticed something that didn’t sit quite right with me.

You see, I have 20+ years experience in marketing and have a particular interest in search engine optimisation (SEO). When Miles told us all to inject keywords into the filenames of both our profile pictures and our LinkedIn backgrounds for SEO purposes and to help us get found on Google, I started to wonder if he was giving the correct advice.

There Was Some Truth In What He Was Saying....

What Miles was saying is - in general - correct for normal SEO practices.

By doing some keyword research to uncover the keywords that users may be searching to find services that you or your company offer, and including these in the filename, you do improve the chances of you appearing in the search results.

After all, it is a large proportion of how images appear in Google “image” results. Other elements as indicated by the Google publishing guidelines include: captions, image titles and the subject matter / context of the web page housing the image (see below).

Google image publishing guidelines

Source: Google

....So I Just Had To Test His Theory

Despite what Miles was saying, and how it aligned with my own SEO experiences, it still didn’t feel right. Had it been one of my clients, I would have said exactly the same - had they been uploading images to their own website to boost their SEO efforts.

But this was different. This was LinkedIn we were talking about.

So I followed the advice offered by Miles.

I renamed my profile picture to “david-reid-marketing-expert-witness-entrepreneur-digital-consultant-for-uk-companies.png” and uploaded this to LinkedIn.

David Reid LinkedIn Profile Picture

Then I repeated the process with my background image, renaming it to “grow-business-online-digital-marketer-expert-witness-data-driven-marketing-consultant-uk.png

David Reid LinkedIn Background

And true enough, if I searched for “grow-business-online-digital-marketer-expert-witness-data-driven-marketing-consultant-uk” within Google, my LinkedIn profile appeared on page 1 of the results.

David Reid Profile appearing on Google page 1

But I knew this was more likely as a result of the keywords that I have placed throughout my profile page, such as in my summary, my experience, my skills and so on. Not as a result of the image filename.

Why was this?

Well. When you look at what LinkedIn does after you upload your profile or background image - they rename the filename. That means the keywords you had placed in it get removed.

David Reid Profile picture being

This is what LinkedIn renamed my profile picture to:

C5603AQF9cAvybDTX4Q/profile-displayphoto-shrink_200_200/0? e=1533772800&v=beta &t=Ru92A8 _ KGJvEtjSCVwYs 8Izuerhreho9Lt2cTJs1ncU

If you click the link you will see my photo. Apologies in advance, you will see I am not the most photogenic person.

But what is clear to see – none of my keywords exist in the filename anymore.

Does that mean the advice offered by Miles is worthless? For that part, I would say yes.

For everything else he covered at the session, certainly not!

If you get the chance, then you really should go to one of his sessions, or get him into your office for a group session – I believe he does these for free if enough people attend.

The Purple Bumble Bee Test

So you will have noticed the title of this article is “The Purple Bumble Bee”. Why?

To convince myself that I wasn’t doing Miles an injustice, I came up with a filename constructed from keywords that I knew I definitely didn’t have elsewhere in my LinkedIn profile.

If Miles was correct, my profile should appear in the Google search results, or at least Google images if I searched for the exact filename.

If I am correct, then LinkedIn will rename my file after I upload it, and all the keywords will be lost.

So I created a new background image to give a more contemporary feel and to allow my profile picture to be placed to the left-hand side without covering any images or wording. This was a good piece of advice from Miles.

This is what I designed:

David Reid background image
And this is the filename I created: “thepurple-bumblebee-climbs-thepurpletree-for-purplejam.jpg

Hopefully you will notice that I don’t have any of these keywords on my profile. And, it is unlikely that anyone else on the entire internet will have a filename or a web page containing all the same keywords.

Once the image was uploaded to LinkedIn, I noticed that they had renamed it to:  C4E16AQFYAUfQB5W1CA/profile-displaybackgroundimage-shrink_350_1400/0? e=1533772800&v=beta &t=TrdSW1L3cX959jLhRz 76Jjuk4AHq8ST6XO9nvJ30dug

Again, if you click the link you will find my background image that LinkedIn is serving to the web.

David Reid LinkedIn background image

The Proof Is In The Pudding

So it was time to give it one more final test - "Google" the filename.

Google not found serp page
Google couldn’t find the lovely background that I designed. I was quite upset.

On the other hand, I was now convinced that LinkedIn did rename the filenames and they do not offer any SEO value for your LinkedIn profile.

What about on Bing?

Exactly the same. Bing couldn’t find my background image either.

Bing not found serp page

What I Did Find Out

Since every day is a school day. I found out that a Purple Bumble Bee does exist. It is a variety of tomato.

A tomato called the purple bumble bee

Now Back To Miles And Why You Must Meet Him Before You Die

Just before I go on to answer that question, I have shared my findings with Miles and he will be revising (if he hasn’t already) his presentation notes and training guides to address what I found.

It is not to say that LinkedIn won’t stop the practice of renaming these files that you upload in the future. After all, they are now owned by Microsoft, and Microsoft should be looking at ways to help with SEO on Bing.

It is best practise to include keywords in your image filenames for general SEO purposes out-with LinkedIn. If you need any help with SEO for you or your company, then I would be pleased to help.

Finally, tell us about Miles...

Apart from being a true gentleman and a lovely chap who keeps you entertained with great stories from his past, he does want to help companies build relationships on LinkedIn and maximise your opportunities to win more clients.

Miles Duncan LinkedIn Success SystemsBut it is his hair that grabs your attention.  I dare you to meet Miles and not be mesmerised by his hair.

Experts will tell you that when speaking to someone, you should look at their eyes or the bridge of their nose. With Miles, you will end up speaking to his hair.

To see his hair in real life, you will need to book a session with him (and no I am not getting paid for this recommendation).

You can connect with Miles here

A small favour please.

If you had the slightest hint of a smile when you read this, please share with others on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter so they can have a smile too.

About the author

David Reid

David Reid

David previously worked with Europe’s No.1 Marketing Agency & the World’s No.6 biggest Integrated Marketing Agency, seeing first-hand how £150 million+ campaigns are executed to create household brands. Now he is the CEO of a specialist marketing agency helping companies of all sizes.

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