The Two Most IMPORTANT Rules Of Dating Online, According To Science

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Online dating is a lot like a job in sales. Only rather than convincing potential customers to purchase a product, you're persuading them to invest their time in getting to know you. The reward? A few dates and, if you're lucky, a serious relationship.

However, much like a job in sales, online dating also requires a lot of work and perseverance. The goal is for your profile to stand out among a sea of other potential matches. Which leads to the ultimate question: How do you close the deal?

A 2012 study by and the Smart Dating Academy set out to determine just that. From a pool of 1,000 single men and women, they found what really turns daters on — and off — when browsing potential suitors online. Here are two rules of thumb, based on your photos and profile content:

1. Photos

Thinking about using a cute self-portrait that you took two years ago after the best haircut ever? Try again. One of the biggest turn-offs for both sexes was the use of old photos in a dating profile.

It makes sense. Why have someone develop an impression of you based on who you used to be?

Also note that women tend to look at a man's smile and eyes first in a profile photo. Men's eyes focus on a woman's smile and physique. Typical, right? Men also prefer to see full-body shots. The majority of singles (81 percent) want to see casual photos in a dating profile.

Rule of Thumb: Keep your photos current and candid. It will make meeting in person a lot easier (and a lot less awkward).

2. Profile content

People apparently are really picky when it comes to what you actually write in that "About Me" box.

Men prefer that ladies keep it brief — one paragraph, ideally — and leave out any internet shorthand like LOL or JK (srlsy?). Women, however, prefer two to three paragraphs of information on a profile (hm, what does that say about male attention spans when listening to women?)

For both sexes, bad grammar and clichés are absolute deal breakers.

Rule of Thumb: You'll meet more people if you use spellcheck and avoid the phrase "long walks on the beach" at all costs.

What are your turn-ons and turn-offs when browsing online dating profiles?