Nov 14th 2012
Posted by Traffic

Will LinkedIn endorsements have an effect on search results?

It’s wasn’t until we delved deeper and further discover the benefits of Google +1’s and their effects on search rankings that we turned our thoughts to LinkedIn endorsements. Similar to a +1’s, a LinkedIn endorsement is a form of recommendation, where people you have worked with endorse you as a sign of credibility.

You might be thinking that LinkedIn have done this for years, well you’re not wrong, they used to do this through ‘recommendations’; however recommendations took about 15-20 minutes to fill in, preventing most people from ever completing them. I know most of our team certainly never got round to that submit button, and we’ve worked with a number of great minds.

Anyway it seems LinkedIn finally got wise to this and on the 24th September 2012 it launched ‘Endorsements’. Here’s how David Breger, Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn explains endorsements:

“With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t added yet. Think your connection is great at programming AND project management? Let them know!
Here’s how you can endorse your connections:

• On the top of a connection’s profile, you’ll see recommended endorsements for them. You can suggest additional skills as well.
• You can also endorse them from the new Skills & Expertise section that now showcases these endorsements.
It just takes one click. So go ahead, endorse your connections for their skills and help them show off their professional prowess.”

It seems LinkedIn have switched on to the fact we are in a time starved world, where people want everything at a click of a button and that’s exactly what they have done with endorsements.

Source: LinkedIn Slide share; LinkedIn Blog

The result of having such a streamlined approach to endorsements is that a number of people in a matter of weeks have managed to accumulate several endorsements in the time is has taken to generate three to five years’ worth of recommendations.

You might ask yourself, what does this mean for you as an expert in your area?

Well LinkedIn isn’t weighting endorsements in search results just yet, but we can’t help but feel that over the next six months this will come. This means, the more endorsements you receive for your skills, the more often you will appear in search results. It’s essentially a status of how trusted or reliable you are in those skilled areas.

Whether it’s an onsite search engine or someone much larger like Google, the purpose of the search results will always be to find the most accurate match, so don’t be surprised to see those who have accumulated the most endorsements featuring more frequently.

Many dub LinkedIn the social media platform for professionals, with numerous organisations using it for recruitment purposes and/or new business opportunities. So where you rank in search results on LinkedIn for the areas you specialise in is going to affect how people find you.

And don’t get us wrong, we’re not jumping on the Linkedin endorsement bandwagon just yet, as there are a number of scepticisms we have. For example people could manipulate endorsements through trade-off schemes, where people endorse each other, which may never have even met or worked together. This we hope will not happen, but never say never.

It’s also hard to miss the new endorsement feature, and it’s now become that easy to endorse someone that the credibility of these recommendations may have depleted somewhat. However, either way you look at it, if LinkedIn do weight search results through endorsements then what harm will it do by making a start on getting those in your network to endorse you.

  • Ask appropriate people who know your capabilities and skills for endorsements. You may also wish to send private messages via LinkedIn to your connections who you have worked with. This will keep your endorsements credible.
  • When appropriate give others your endorsement. When you endorse others, they will be notifies from LinkedIn, and who knows, they may reciprocate.

Remember LinkedIn is all about connecting with professionals that will add value to your network, so focus on those people who you may be able to exchange knowledge with to improve your offering.

At the same time people have come to trust credible online reviews and social signals in recent years, LinkedIn endorsements are going to be considered by people and businesses when selecting people to work with or invest in.

So, if your profile is sat at the top of those search results, you may just find an uplift in people connecting with you or even better more business opportunities come a knocking.

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  • Roshan

    I doubt endorsement will have impact in search results soon. Cumulative rating (say 70/100 or 3.5/5 for marketing) could be how it is used instead. However, internal search in Linkedin and authority on the topic is something that could be in huge demand for recruiters or companies. Also, for Linkedin, the fact that one can endorse only those he/she know will require that person to add more connections. Hence Linkedin will continue to grow exponentially just for endorsement if it continues to be successful & fair.

  • Mathew Moore

    Hi Roshan thanks for your comments, you make some very good points. It will be interesting to see how endorsements develop and in particular which sectors will benefit from them the most, as you mention recruitment in your comment. I also agree with you that the key to the successfulness of LinkedIn’s endorsement will lie in them being fair. We for one will be keeping a close eye on this topic. Thanks once again Roshan.

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