Tuesday, February 5, 2013

7 Things You Need to Know About LinkedIn Search

by Stacy Donovan Zapar


You’ve built your LinkedIn profile, updated your work experience and education and you’re all set to launch your job search, land new clients and/or grow your business. But how do you stand out from LinkedIn’s 200 Million other members? How do you make sure that people and opportunities can actually find you? It all comes down to knowing more about the search algorithm and optimizing your LinkedIn profile accordingly. Here are seven things you need to know about LinkedIn Search…

1. LinkedIn’s Search Algorithm likes connections and profile completeness.

When people search LinkedIn, the results are, by default, sorted by “Relevance” – which is code for “LinkedIn’s Proprietary Search Algorithm.” (Hat tip to Andy Headworth of Sirona Consulting for summing it up so beautifully.) “Relevance” sorts by the following criteria:
  • 1st level connections with profiles that are 100% complete (or close to it) and have the most in-common connections / shared groups, ranked in descending order
  • 1st level connections with the fewest in-common connections / shared groups, ranked in descending order by profile completeness
  • 2nd level connections ranked in descending order by profile completeness
  • 3nd level connections ranked in descending order by profile completeness
  • Shared group members (outside of your network), ranked in descending order by profile completeness
  • Everyone else (those outside your network), ranked in descending order by profile completeness
So what does this mean to you and me? Because this is the default for search results and the vast majority of people aren’t even aware that they can change it, it’s extra important to a) be a 1st degree connection to as many people as possible (i.e., grow that network!) and b) have a profile that’s 100% complete. This means including a profile picture, a professional headline, your last two jobs, etc. LinkedIn will walk you through the process and let you know once your profile is 100% complete. Anything less than 100% completeness is not only hurting you from a search ranking perspective, it’s also less-than-impressive to anyone who happens to read your profile.

2. Keywords in certain sections rank higher.

A LinkedIn profile has many different sections, but LinkedIn’s Search Algorithm likes some of them better than others. Keywords in your Name, Headline, Company Name, Job Title and Skills rank higher in the search results. This is why it’s so important to have a 100% complete profile. If these key fields are blank or filled with generic terms, then you fall to the bottom of the search rankings. Think about which search terms are most important and relevant for your business / career and then search LinkedIn for those keywords. If you don’t show up on the first page of results, update these key sections (Headline, Job Title, Skills) to include those relevant terms and then search again. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you shoot up the ranks! (Side note: LinkedIn allows you to choose up to 50 Skills. If you’ve selected anything less than 50, you’re putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage. Why give your competition a free head-start in the race?)

3. Using all fields/options available to you will give you an extra advantage.

Like Skills, you can join up to 50 groups (not counting subgroups!), so take advantage of every opportunity offered to you and use all 50 spots. You have 120 characters available to you for your headline. Use as many of them as possible to create a descriptive, interesting and keyword-rich headline that attracts lots of targets to view your profile. You have 2000 characters for your summary… use them! There are 1000 characters available for your interests… the list goes on. Make full use of the fields and sections available to you to paint a detailed picture, reinforce your brand and make your profile really work for you!

4. Keywords in the “Advice for Contacting So-And-So” section don’t rank at all.

Sorry, but placing keywords in your contact section does nothing since this section is excluded from LinkedIn Search. Use this space to tell people the best way to reach you (hint: definitely include a phone number and/or email address if you REALLY want to be contacted… why hide? You don’t leave it off of your resume or business card, do you?) and place those keywords elsewhere in your profile.

Things 5-7 and Complete Blogging4Jobs article





Article by Stacy Donovan Zapar

Stacy Donovan Zapar is a 15-year recruiting veteran and CEO of Tenfold Social, providing social media training for recruiters, jobseekers and business professionals. She is the Most Connected Woman on LinkedIn, where she has 35,000+ first-level connections making her the #8 most connected person in the world. She served as Technical Editor for Wiley’s LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and will be speaking at TalentNet Live at SXSW. Feel free to connect with Stacy on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.
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