Raise inanchor: Sail to LinkedIn Locations, Titles, and Schools

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Guest Post from Talent Sourcer Mike Santoro

This post is Part 2 of another post that featured the helpful discovery that Google’s inanchor: operator will search LinkedIn Headline text through X-Ray search. You can read Part 1 here: Sink Into LinkedIn Headlines Tie inanchor: To Your Strings.

Part 2 – X-Raying LinkedIn with inanchor: will search more than just LinkedIn Headlines

First, I’ll share What’s New with inanchor: and show “How to Steer the Boat” using an all-inclusive example of its newfound power for Sourcers and Recruiters to benefit from.

Second, for those readers who want to understand “Why the Boat Floats,” I’ll share more technically why inanchor: works the way it does and a “Deep Dive” to see under the Google waters (if you like technical “scuba diving”). =)

What’s New?

After the Headline discovery documented in Part 1, Irina and I collaborated on researching inanchor: more deeply. Based on early testing, I suspected that inanchor: would also search for someone’s most recently attended school (or currently attending). Irina suspected that inanchor: would also search someone’s current location.

In summary, we uncovered that inanchor: will search *ALL of the following 8 areas of LinkedIn Profiles:

  1. Headlines
  2. Geographic City Location

All global city names, areas, and countries can be searched with inanchor, but “U.S. City + state abbreviation” combinations have the most precision!

When searching for U.S. Cities

Use both the city and state abbreviation together for the most accurate results:

site:linkedin.com/in inanchor:”Philadelphia PA”

You can also query for profiles with the “Greater” verbiages like this:

site:linkedin.com/in inanchor:”Greater Chicago Area”

When searching for most non-U.S. cities

Use only the city name

site:uk.linkedin.com/in inanchor:london

You can also query for profiles with the “Greater” verbiages like this:

site:uk.linkedin.com/in inanchor:”Greater Cambridge Area”

  1. Most Recently Attended School Name

i.e., Universities and Colleges.

  1. Most Current Company Name

If currently unemployed, then inanchor will return Most Recent Company Name

i.e., inanchor:Amazon can find people who currently work at Amazon but also find someone like this who recently left in Feb 2022 and “closed” the job on their profile:

Notably, you can’t search for “closed jobs” with X-Ray using Google’s intitle: operator (which only searches current companies that are presently open). Nor can you use LinkedIn Recruiter’s Advanced Search. Using inanchor: has an advantage here for the Recruiter/Sourcer to find additional unemployed candidates by the most recent company they left.

  1. Full Name

Or by just First Name only or just Last Name only

  1. Any Professional Designations

Letters people append to their names like CPA, PMP, CPIM, Ph.D., etc.

  1. Recommendations Given To Others

Clarification: It is the Recommenders words given to someone else.

I.e., if you search a phrase like:

site:linkedin.com/in inanchor:”John is an outstanding leader”

Google will show you profiles of people (not named John) who wrote such a phrase about a random person named John. Unfortunately, we have not yet found a helpful use case.

*Note: Because inanchor: searches ALL of these 8 fields on a LinkedIn Profile, you will have some false positive results to your search when there is crossover in these areas.

i.e., using inanchor: to search School Names could show you three different types of results:

1) Results of alumni who already graduated

2) Those who are currently enrolled, and

3) Those who currently (or most recently) work at the school

How to Steer the Boat

Let’s have some fun and create one Boolean string example to show how powerfully simple it can be to use.

Using inanchor: let’s find LinkedIn profiles with ALL of the following:

1) “Software Engineer” in the Headline

2) Currently work at Amazon

3) Most recently attended/graduated from the “University of Southern California”

4) Currently live in Seattle, WA, or “Greater Seattle Area”

5) Have worked in their most recent role at Amazon for approximately 3..6 years.

site:linkedin.com/in inanchor:“Software” inanchor:“Engineer” inanchor:“Amazon” inanchor:“University of Southern California” (inanchor:“Greater Seattle Area” OR inanchor:“Seattle WA”) “present 3..6 years”

Wow! That’s Powerful! =)

Note: There will be some false positives of profiles where someone recently left Amazon and started a new job somewhere else within the past 1-2 months or so from the time of the query. These false positives are due to Google’s indexing lag on its public directories. More on this below.

Why The Boat Floats

Why does inanchor: search all of these areas?

I’ll try to make it as simple as possible:

  • X-Raying LinkedIn with Google will search public LinkedIn profiles (you know this already)
  • (What you didn’t know) Those public profiles have specific fields that are hyperlinks from LinkedIn’s Public Directories.
  • LinkedIn’s Public Directories are lists of profiles grouped by first names, last names, full names, and other ways. 
  • (Key Analogy) Just like an old-fashioned white pages phone book is a directory of names in alphabetical order that also includes other information like the person’s residential street address and phone number like this:

Similarly, LinkedIn’s public directory pages also include other information along with the names on its directory’s list.

What else does it include?

You guessed it:

  • Name
  • Headline
  • Location
  • Most Recently Attended School Name
  • Most Current/Recent Company Worked For

Here is an example of what it looks like:

Because LinkedIn public directory links point to LinkedIn Profiles, the directories are considered “Anchor Pages” by Google’s Index.

Therefore, when you are searching with inanchor: combined with the x-ray site: command for profiles, you are asking Google to search the text on the “Anchor Pages” of the LinkedIn Public Profiles, thus the public directories they are linked to.

In other words, you are saying:

“Google, please search for these keywords in the LinkedIn’s Public Directory Pages and then return the public profile pages that are ‘anchored’ to those places in the directory.” 

Deep Dive (Under the Google Waters)

Keep reading if you like technical “scuba diving.” There is more treasure to be found below. =)

So how do you find these LinkedIn Public Directories?

i.e., Let’s find all of the LinkedIn public directories that Irina Shamaeva is in:

site:linkedin.com/pub/dir “Irina Shamaeva” Sourcer

You’ll see Irina is currently in at least 4 LinkedIn Public Directory Pages indexed by Google:

Note: if you want to view these public pages, you will need to log out of LinkedIn first to view them as they appear to Google.

  1. https://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Irina/Shamaeva (U.S. Directory by Full Name)
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/+/Shamaeva (U.S. Directory by Last Name)
  3. https://cn.linkedin.com/pub/dir/+/Shamaeva (China Directory by Last Name)
  4. https://ch.linkedin.com/pub/dir/+/Shamaeva (Switzerland Directory by Last Name)

Question –      Why does it matter that Irina is listed in multiple LinkedIn directories?

Answer –         The Recruiter/Sourcer can uniquely find someone by their old headline and their new headline (or both old location and new location) for several weeks or months.

Each directory is re-indexed by Google at different times. Therefore, if Irina updated her LinkedIn profile headline (or location) today, the new change would be found with inanchor: when at least 1 of the 4 directories is re-indexed (updated) by google. Thus, you could also find her by her old headline (or old location) until the other 3 directories are also re-indexed by Google.

Inevitably, there will be some discrepancies when there are recent profile changes, but such discrepancies are minimal and can even be an advantage! Knowing that someone just recently changed their profile can be leveraged advantageously.

I.e., imagine messaging a candidate with something like this:

“John, I noticed you recently changed your Headline from (X) to (Y). Good move. Let’s talk.”

How many recruiters can reach out to a candidate with that kind of unique perception? =)

Lots more use cases for Recruiters and Sourcers to explore the advantage of the indexing lag of multiple directory pages.

Finally, enjoy “Sailing through LinkedIn Profiles” with these new methods and have fun experimenting with higher quality and more precise X-Ray Strings than ever before!

“For Love of Sourcing and Sourcers” –Mike Santoro

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