Something shocking about LinkedIn Search results. [reading time: 2 min]


The other day I asked my connections on LinkedIn to join me in a little LinkedIn search experiment. I asked them to hit search without typing anything in the search box and tell me how many hits they got. The results ranged from 200K to 11M.

See experiment here. 


Conducting a LinkedIn search with an empty search field, you get quite a variety of results. You are not searching the full LinkedIn Database (all members), but just YOUR network. It would be easy to assume that this has something to do with the number of connections, but it is more complicated than that.


Your LinkedIn Network consists of 1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree and group members. This puts quite some importance on 1st and groups. If you connect to 10 people with 200 connections each then you add 2010 people to your network (for argument’s sake they have no overlap). If you connect to 5 people with 1000 connections each, this grows your network by 5005 people. Members of the groups you belong to are also part of your network. So it makes a difference if you are a member of 10 small groups or 5 large groups. It doesn’t hurt to become a member of the largest two groups in the region that you focus on.


Just like on Google or any old search engine, you can use Boolean expressions. Searching for: Petra AND Amsterdam will give you results that contain both words. Searching for Petra OR Amsterdam will give you all results that contain at least one of the two words. Now I am doing a lot of math these days. The joys of living with a teenager! So I am totally into formulas (actually, I’ve always loved formulas; before LinkedIn my passion was Excel).


Petra OR (NOT Petra). Got it? You will get all profiles that either contain the word Petra OR that do NOT contain the word Petra. Yup THIS will more or less show you the full LinkedIn database. (664,366.079 at time of writing).

Check this: when I searched for coach I got 189,764 results (the number of coaches in my extended network). Then I did some math and searched for (Petra OR (NOT Petra) AND coach) and got 6,388,085 results! Now use filters to narrow the results to what you are really looking for. BAM!

>>> Got any search questions? Pop ’em in the comments!<<<