How LinkedIn Search Works and How to Hack It

This article will help you get the most out of LinkedIn Search and make it easier for you to search for the professionals you need.


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LinkedIn search is one of the most important features on the platform. It works both ways—you want to easily find profiles you might be looking for and you want to just as easily be found. Before you can get the profiles of prospects and scrape their emails as well as other information using Spylead to build a leads list, you first have to search for them using LinkedIn search. Any user that wants to find you has to do the same thing. 

The question, however, remains, how do you find high-quality prospects in LinkedIn’s sea of more than 810 million users? How do you ensure that great B2B opportunities find you on the platform? It all boils down to understanding the platform’s algorithm, knowing how LinkedIn search works, and optimizing your profile accordingly. 

In this article, we will highlight seven things you must know about LinkedIn search to increase your chances of finding and being found. But before we jump right in, let's first see what makes the LinkedIn search so important.

Why is LinkedIn Search so Relevant? 

These three things make LinkedIn search stand out from other search engines. 

LinkedIn Search doesn't have a single order.

A standard search engine operates a single order so that everyone who queries gets the same order of results. LinkedIn doesn't work like that. On LinkedIn, the order of search results is different for each member. Factors like connections and profile activity largely determine your result. 

A variety of factors determine your result. 

LinkedIn is constantly working on its algorithm to improve and optimize users’ results. Before LinkedIn orders your result, they consider factors such as:

  • Your activity on the platform. 
  • Profiles returned by the search query. 
  • Other users who have run similar searches. 
  • Search history.

More keywords are not always better. 

In the bid to want to be prioritized on LinkedIn search, don’t overfill your profile with keywords. Instead, use only keywords that best show your expertise and experience. Overloading your profile with keywords might get filtered out by LinkedIn’s spam detection algorithm, which will ultimately hinder your appearance in search results.

Now, let us show you a few things about how LinkedIn Search works. 

7 things you must know about LinkedIn Search

Take note of these seven things.

1. LinkedIn’s Search prioritizes connections and complete profiles.

By default, LinkedIn search results are sorted by LinkedIn’s Proprietary Search Algorithm in order of relevance. 

The order typically follows these criteria:

  • 1st-degree connections with 100% complete profiles (or near) and have the most connections/shared groups in common, ranked in descending order.
  • 1st-degree connections with 100% complete profiles (or near) and have the fewest connections/shared groups in common, ranked in descending order.
  • 2nd-degree connections are ranked in descending order by profile completeness. 
  • 3rd-degree connections are ranked in descending order by profile completeness.
  • Shared group members outside of your connection, ranked in descending order by profile completeness. 
  • Everyone else outside your network is ranked in descending order by profile completeness. 

What can you do with this information?

  1. Grow your network. Be a 1st-degree connection to as many users on LinkedIn as possible. 
  2. Aim for 100% profile completion. Usually, LinkedIn walks you through the process and informs you once your profile is 100% complete. 

2. Your profile ranks higher with keywords in certain sections.

Your LinkedIn profile has different sections. And as far as your LinkedIn Search Algorithm goes, some sections are more equal than others. For example, keywords in your Name, Headline, Job Title, Company Name, and Skills rank higher than other sections in the LinkedIn Search results. Don’t fill these fields with generic terms or worse, leave them blank. This further emphasizes why you should have a 100% complete profile. 

Find out which terms are most relevant in your niche, business, or profession, and then search for those words. If you don’t show up on the first page of the results, update those sections with the terms and search again. You will see how quickly you rise up the ranks. 

3. Use keywords synonyms to rank your profile. 

Now that you have used the relevant keywords in appropriate sections on your profile, you probably still have characters left. Fill them with words that have the same or similar meaning as your keywords. There is usually more than one way of saying the same thing. Some examples include writer, copywriter, content writer; talent, staff, employee; etc. 

Using a variety of terms and keywords increases your chance to show up in LinkedIn search results. 

4. Keywords in the “Advice for Contacting…” section don’t rank.

Avoid wasting your keywords and time in the contact section as it doesn't rank at all since the section is altogether excluded from the LinkedIn search. Instead, utilize this space to tell people the best way to contact you. You can add a phone number or email address or both if you REALLY want other users to reach you. Include those keywords of yours elsewhere in your profile

5. Utilize all the fields available in your profile.

When LinkedIn offers you a field with limits, use it as much as possible. Take the Skills section, for instance, you can add up to 50. Aim to use all 50 spots. Then, there is your Headline section, in which you have 120 characters to sell yourself, use as many of them as possible to whip up a descriptive, keyword-rich headline. You have 2,000 characters and 1,000 characters to write your Summary and Interest respectively, use them. Take advantage of these fields to sell yourself. 

6. The benefits of a well-optimized profile extend beyond LinkedIn.

A few years ago, BrandYourself analyzed 100,000 LinkedIn profiles and discovered that more than other social media platforms, LinkedIn appeared most at the top of Google search results. Imagine the opportunities that could come from ranking on both LinkedIn search and Google searches. 


LinkedIn search carries with it boundless opportunities if you know what to search for, and more importantly if you know how to position yourself. We hope this article offers you some insight into how to do just that. You can read our previous article here to learn how to scrape your LinkedIn search result using Spylead. 

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