Update Your Bing X-Ray Searches of LinkedIn to Target Profiles


Beginning early last week, I’ve had a few people reach out to me and ask about some changes LinkedIn is apparently making to the public profile listings.

In the past, I’ve written about how Bing is easier and more effective at searching LinkedIn profiles than Google.

One of my suggestions for targeting profiles an avoiding directory and job results was to search for the word “powered,” because public profiles on LinkedIn have the phrase “Public profile powered by,” and the word “powered” seemed to be unique only to profiles.

LinkedIn is Tinkering

While you can still search LinkedIn via Bing using +powered and find results, the only reason it seems to work is due to the fact that Bing has taken “snapshots” of the old LinkedIn profiles the last time Bing’s crawlers have visited them. The original (non-cached) search results don’t mention “powered.”

I’ve found that many (all?) public LinkedIn profiles no longer mention the phrase “Public profile powered by,” so adding +powered to your LinkedIn X-Ray searches via Bing will prevent some public LinkedIn profiles from being returned in your searches – and you won’t even know it.

But now you do.

For example, this is what you might find now when you search for someone on LinkedIn using Bing or Google.

Notice there is no mention of “Public profile powered by.”

If you tried using Bing to search for Jenny’s public profile using +powered, you won’t find her: site:linkedin.com +powered jenny devaughn “greater atlanta area”

What does this mean?

If you’re a sourcer or recruiter using Bing to search for LinkedIn profiles, you need to find another way to target profiles and avoid directory results and jobs.

Here are two suggestions:

#1 Add -dir to your Bing search string

site:linkedin.com “greater atlanta area” java j2ee weblogic -dir

Even though adding -dir only eliminates directory results and isn’t designed to avoid job listings, Bing doesn’t appear to leak in job results like Google does.

In the above search, there is only 1 job listing out of all of the results, and it is on the very last page.

That’s one of the reasons why I like Bing over Google for LinkedIn searching – because the results tend to be naturally “cleaner” in terms of returning profiles and not other types of LinkedIn results.

I’m sure a few of you have noticed that I did not use -inurl: in the search examples – that’s because Bing doesn’t support it.

You will get search results if you try to use -inurl:dir, which may give you the perception that your search “worked,” but it does not eliminate directory results.

Although Bing does support url:, -url:dir doesn’t work either.

Besides, just adding -dir works relatively well in and of itself.

Here are some profile results you simply cannot find by using +powered to search LinkedIn via Bing: site:linkedin.com +”greater atlanta area” java j2ee weblogic -powered -dir

#2 Target a phrase that is common & unique to public LinkedIn profile listings

This is an effective way of targeting public LinkedIn profile results and avoid non-profile results.

You can take phrases from this area of public profiles and add them to your X-Ray searches:

Although you will get some slight variation in the exact number of search results for different phrases, this approach seems to work reasonably well:

For example:

Happy hunting!

  • I’ve never used “powered by” in searches — I didn’t find it wholly inclusive in the first place. I’ve always thrown in “-inurl:dir” and “-inurl:jobs” at the end of the search string, and that works much better.

    I’ve also noticed linkedin.com putting some public profile information in spanish — most notably industry and geographic location. It seems they are intent on trying to interrupt/frustrate our ability to x-ray search public profiles. Anyone else notice that?

  • Anonymous

    Glen – You should start to notice that profiles will become images in the near future. I’ve crossed a few already and I assume that the big push to recruiter will change offsite searching shortly. Though they cannot block it exclusivley they can make it a hassle for everyone.

    It’s an interesting techinque but as the profiles are coverted to images, you’ll be able to target the profile name though I am sure there will be a randomly generated name or sequence of numbers….

  • Thanks Glen!!

    Ryan makes a very interesting point.Profiles may turn to images. Now why would any network want to limits its users probability in appearing in a search. It is these hits, that increase its own presence and searchability from the SEO perspective.
    And if profiles turn into images, i am sure search engines, will have capability to search text on images.

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  • Lisharose

    there is an easy way to get back the public profiles, start your search string with site:linkedin/in
    the public profiles no longer contain “pub” but it has been replaced with “in”

  • You can also add “over 90 million” OR “over 90 million professionals” but we all know this number will change as LinkedIn’s membership is growing leaps and bounds.

  • I like your angle, but there are still plenty of profiles with “pub” in the url instead of “in” – for example: http://bit.ly/hcwW2i

  • Sleuthy,
    I’ve found +powered (and now other statements) are inclusive for profiles, but only on Bing – not Google. -dir works very well on Bing as well, and I appreciate how simple and efficient LinkedIn searches can be with Bing over Google. With Bing, I don’t even have to use -jobs – rarely do jobs even sneak in. Sweet. :-)

    I haven’t noticed profile info in Spanish yet – that’s quite odd and interesting!

  • Ryan – quite interesting! The next time you come across a public profile that is an image, can you send me the string that produced the result so I can check it out? I’d love to inspect one!