People Also Viewed – do you really need it?

The ‘People Also Viewed’ section is an area that has great potential value to certain types of people looking at your profile page. However, unlike most other parts of your profile, this is one that you don’t directly control in terms of the information it provides as it is created by LinkedIn.

More annoyingly, the value it provides isn’t reflected back to you, but rather benefits the person looking or indeed the people who appear in this list. Not good! In fact, it could be just the opposite and actually be detrimental to you, giving a link away from all the great information you are providing on your profile.

Just to be clear, the section I’m talking about is the column on the right hand side of your profile page which displays a series of profile links.

It doesn’t contain details of people who have looked at you or whom you have looked at but rather a list of people that visitors to your profile have gone on to view in addition to yourself.

Who’s in there?

This section can provide quite an eclectic mix because, after all, it comes from the (sometimes erratic) searching characteristics of members of the site.

However, in general, they usually fall into 5 groups:

  • common connections in the real world
  • a totally random group of people
  • people that you work with
  • people who look like you (scary but true)
  • people in a similar role to yourself in another company

It’s the last of these categories is the one that particularly bugs me – people working in a similar role to you. These are your peers, which I’m happy with, but they are quite possibly also going to be competitors to you, not always, but quite possibly. And that, I am less happy with.

Where’s the Issue exactly?

Well, essentially, what you may well have on your profile is a list of people that anyone visiting your profile might like to talk to instead of you. Not great.

If for example, you are:

  • in sales in a certain industry or offering a certain product, then quite possibly this will contain representatives of over companies over a similar or adjacent product;
  • a consultant or freelancer (like myself) this will quite possibly be a list of other people that a potential client could get a quote from;
  • a job seeker (passive or active) then this could contain and list of people with similar skills or experience to you, again your competition. This is certainly an area that I know recruiters take particular interest in (and is included in my training courses!).

Even if one of those scenarios isn’t currently the case, one thing that remains constant is that they normally have a photo and we are generally attracted by images – they are distracting.

You have worked long and hard getting them to your profile and what you want them to do is to read it, to take in the information you are offering and take action on the back of it. What you don’t want to happen is that they get distracted and start wandering elsewhere on LinkedIn before taking in all those carefully crafted messages.

What to do about it?

One of the options on your Settings page is the ability to turn this block off and, despite it being wonderfully useful to any visitor to your page, it really isn’t going to benefit you, so I would advise that you turn it off.

You can do this at: where you will see:

As you can turn it off, then I suggest you should – it’s your profile after all, so it’s YOU they should be concentrating on.

There are loads of elements on LinkedIn which are customisable to make it work better or harder for you and for me this is one of those that, for most people, will warrant the change mentioned above.

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