Yes, you read that correctly. A friend was recently suspended temporarily because her profile name included her business name. In your LinkedIn profile, you can enter a first name and a last name. Most people put one name in each, but there are some common exceptions. One common one is adding a certification to one’s last name such as “Esq,” “CPA,” “Ph.D.,” “MBA,” etc…. But another less-common practice is to use it as a secondary headline. So for example, I could make my first name “James” and my last name “Feudo – Amazing Web Sites.”
This is a pretty creative technique to juice up your profile. From a LinkedIn SEO perspective, adding keywords to your name does provide some help during searches. Unfortunately, it’s against LinkedIn’s Naming Policy which is why you get suspended when noticed by LinkedIn.
How are LinkedIn Profiles getting flagged?
LinkedIn is quite secretive with what they do, so we’re not entirely sure. We suspect that activities that normally alert LinkedIn such as an increased number of friend requests, posts, or group joins may trigger this additional check. Or they could be starting with people accounts with larger followings and working their way down.
How to avoid being impacted:
Use your headline rather than your name to promote your brand. LinkedIn allows a headline, so make sure you’re using that feature to its fullest. You want to avoid getting your account shut down because, like other social media companies, LinkedIn doesn’t have a support phone number to call. You have to report issues via tickets. While LinkedIn is exponentially better at responding to requests than Facebook or Twitter, you still need an active account to contact them. Below is the exact wording from LinkedIn’s support documentation:
Note: You must be signed in to your LinkedIn account in order to contact us.
Our take on the issue:
We consider this technique to be grey-hat SEO for LinkedIn. It’s not nearly as bad as some of the other things we see – such as invisible links. We’ve always advised against this technique. With LinkedIn cracking down on this, we strongly advise everyone to use only their names in their profile names. If you have any questions about LinkedIn or any concerns that your profile might be flagged, please reach out to us.