How to master the LinkedIn standard search feature?

Published by Toinon on

You may have already noticed this, but in a Linkedin search, the results are often of variable quality. The reason? The search algorithm is not very efficient.

LinkedIn is a gold mine. But, you need to know little tricks to take full advantage of its potential. Especially regarding the search. More specifically, LinkedIn wants you to pay for its Sales Navigator offer. Giving you access to results with much better granularity. Offer that we can only recommend, despite its high price (€ 59 / month excl. Tax). (See the article “How to use a single Sales Navigator account for several ProspectIn accounts“).

Yet LinkedIn research is the Lead base on which you build your campaigns so you need quality results. Here are some best practices for better results.

Don’t use the “keyword” feature

I recommend that you do not use the keyword feature. Above all, do not use the keyword. Really, don’t use the keyword … No, but seriously. Do not use the keyword! There is NO reason to use the keyword.

Suppose you want people in “Marketing” position. Use the “Title” filter to search for the word “Marketing” or “Marketer”.

What if you want to target people that are working in the marketing industry? Use the “Industry” filter to search for the word “Marketing and Advertising”.

The only reason to use the keyword is to search for a person directly by name. Otherwise, there are other filters. For example, if you search for the keyword “fitness” you will get:

  • Results with the title that contains “fitness”. In general, this is what we are looking for …
  • Profiles in companies with the word “fitness”: it can be interesting.
  • Profiles where one of the skills is fitness: not that interesting.
  • Profiles whose previous company contains the word “fitness”: less relevant.
  • Profiles whose interest is fitness…
  • And finally, profiles whose word “fitness” just appears on their profile!

For example, if I search for the word “fitness”, I get this result from the 20th page:


It’s a safe bet that this does not correspond to what you are looking for!

Use “title” to qualify your prospect

Obviously, there are other alternatives to the keyword search. Most of the time, if we are looking to prospect, what is interesting is:

  • What the person does.
  • The industry.
  • The company.
  • The size of his business.
  • Its seniority.
  • Its geographic positioning.
  • If he has a decision-making position.

The size of the company, the seniority and its status as a decision-maker are only accessible with the Sales Navigator research. They, therefore, do not interest us here.

However, the title is much more useful to target prospects. In my opinion, it is even the best qualification tool that you can use in a LinkedIn search.

It often replaces the keyword search which gives too imprecise results. And it becomes particularly powerful when using Boolean operators.

Using Boolean operators

For some, the Boolean operators remain witchcraft. For sure: they are incredibly effective. However, they are not that complex to use.guillemetsddd

The Boolean operator allows you to combine different elements or specify what is expected in a search field with keyword (the keyword itself but also the field “Title”, “First name”, “Last name”, “School “and” Company “) using a connecting word or a special character.

Here are the Boolean operators of the use cases:

Using quotation marks

Also, if you are looking for an exact expression. For example “Growth Hacker” in the title field. On the other hand, if you do not use the quotes you may have results with only “Growth” or worse only “Hacker”.

By adding the quotation marks, LinkedIn will only display people whose title contains exclusively “Growth Hacker”. If you had to keep only one, it would be this one.

Try the “NOT” exclusions

For me one of the most powerful because it allows you to eliminate low-quality results in your search. Another example is looking for prospects in marketing. You type “Marketing” in the title field.

By browsing the search (see next point) you will find “Freelance Marketing”. They may not be your target.

Also, by specifying “Marketing NOT Freelance”, the search will delete the profiles containing “Freelance” in their title. You can obviously add as many “NOT” as you want to refine your search.

If you use ProspectIn, it is always possible to do so afterward thanks to the campaign filters.

Discover the “OR” and “AND” inclusions

I associate them because they go together. When you understand how “NOT” works, “OR” and “AND” are much the same. These operators allow you to associate items.

Are you looking for people who did a master’s at “Harvard University”? Take the “School” field  and add “Master AND Harvard”.

Another example. You are looking for people who work at “Tesla” or “Toyota” or “Renault”. In the “Company” field,  add “Tesla OR Toyota OR Renault”.

What about the brackets?

It’s like math (a distant memory perhaps). Brackets are used to make combinations with Boolean operators.

For example :

(marketing NOT freelance) OR (chief marketing officer OR CMO) => “marketing” and not “freelance” or “chief marketing officer” or “CMO”

Do not exceed 1000 search results

In case you didn’t know, LinkedIn doesn’t give you access to more than 1,000 standard search results. Even if there are millions! It would be too easy.

In reality, it is a boon to better qualify its leads: Take the opportunity to reduce the size of your searches and get a better granularity in your campaigns.

Find companies in your targeted industry

A slightly different, but very effective approach. Suppose you want to sell a product to recruiters. You can search for “recruiters”. You will get quite a few interesting results. But what if you want to sell to recruitment agencies? It’s already more complicated.

You should know that in almost every sector of activity, there are websites that bring together companies in the industry.

In this case, you can search for “Recruitment firms” on Google. By digging a little, we find a site that lists more than 400 recruitment agencies around the world. They even allow you to choose by sector of activity!

Once this list is obtained, all you need to do is copy/paste in the “Companies” filters to qualify your prospects and start your prospecting!

This is only an example, but it is applicable to almost all sectors. You can also use the company search.

Search by region to personalize your LinkedIn search

This tip is simple. Basic but effective. When you get thousands of inaccessible results in a search returning well over 1000 results (by typing “Marketers” for example), by filtering by geographic area, you can refine the search by region.

On ProspectIn, you can thus create dedicated and more personalized campaigns:

  • Marketers Pittsburgh
  • Marketers Denver
  • Marketers Oakland

Then, in your approach, you just need to add personalization according to the campaign.

“I saw that you were in marketing around Denver. Your profile seems interesting! Etc.”

Other: Groups

It is not possible to filter by a specific group on LinkedIn Standard Search. However, groups are an almost infinite and highly qualified source of prospects. People gather around a topic or mutual interest. Isn’t it great?

Find groups that are relevant to you. To go on with an example: I search for Groups with the keyword “recruiters”. I get groups around the world, with lots of members. In this case, you can ask to join several of them (they will not systematically accept you). Be careful, you cannot join as many groups as you want at once, or have unlimited pending requests (LinkedIn blocks you at around 20).

Once joined, all you have to do is check the list of members and make your group export (if you use ProspectIn of course). See how we got over 50% acceptance with the groups.

Do you have other tips to share on LinkedIn research or a specific question? Contact me on LinkedIn!


Chief (Positive) Energy Officer @ ProspectIn 😎