LinkedIn SEO: How search works on LinkedIn

How does search work on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is continuously improving its search algorithm and associated parameters. Even without the updates, it can be a little tricky to understand how it all works behind the scenes. Why do we get the search results we do, and in the order that they’re presented?

When you run a search in LinkedIn, you select the filters that will narrow down the vast LinkedIn population to a targeted group of profiles, and voila, you get a list of everyone on LinkedIn who matches those parameters. But how are they sorted? Is it totally random, or is there some sort of rationale to who comes up first? And – perhaps more importantly – How do I show up in the searches I want to be discovered in?

Let’s take a closer look…

The LinkedIn Search Algorithm

Here is a flow chart that represents LinkedIn’s search algorithm:

What does that even mean???

We got curious about these details, so we did a little digging. Here is what we found:

A. There is no standard order for search results on LinkedIn.
+ The profile of the person running the search (their profile contents and activity, as well as network connections) is heavily considered in the ranking of results.
+ LinkedIn applies its algorithm uniquely to each member to decide on relevance.

B. A number of factors go into determining relevance.
+ LinkedIn is constantly tweaking and improving its algorithm to produce the most relevant results for each searcher.
+ Top considerations include: the searcher’s activity on the platform, the actual set of profiles generated from the query, and other members who’ve performed a similar search.
+ The searcher’s search history is also reviewed to compile relevant results.

So, the next logical question is: How do I get my profile to rank well in searches? Here are a few great places to start:

1. Your profile should be complete – Profile completeness enhances your odds of showing up in more searches and in the right searches. Make sure that your Current Position, Past Experience, Education, and other fields, are properly filled out.

2. Avoid excessive keywords in your profile – While you do want to effectively highlight your experience and expertise, avoid overcrowding your profile with extra keywords. Profiles overloaded with keywords can get flagged as spammy, and this would negatively impact your ranking in search results.

3. Add skills to your profile – If you haven’t already, definitely do so. If you have some, add a few more!

4. Connect with everyone you know professionally – One factor in search ranking is the degree of connection to the searcher, and the more connections you have in your network, the greater chance you’ll be more closely connected to someone you want discovering you, and thereby rank higher in their results.

5. Stick to standard job titles – Job titles like, “Director of First Impressions” or “Chief People Officer”, while great for expressing your personality, are not so great for improving your searchability. It may seem dull, but the standards are what people on LinkedIn search for, so keep your title plain, at least on this platform 😉 (Pro tip: Use the job “Description” field to creatively illustrate what you do in your oh-so-very-you way!)