Once your LinkedIn profile is complete, you can configure your privacy settings. LinkedIn lets you control how your data is displayed and who is allowed to see your activity on LinkedIn.
Internet privacy is a very controversial topic these days because people are becoming concerned about how much personal and private information is being collected by websites and how they are using it. Your LinkedIn profile does not contain any personal information like your home address or telephone numbers, unless you voluntarily add them to your profile.
I do not recommend adding any such personal information on your account. It is appropriate to include your work telephone number and office address so prospects and customers can easily reach you and I’ll leave it up to you if you want to include your cell phone number. Remember, more than 330 million people potentially have access to this information, which could be a blessing or a curse.
You have two profiles on LinkedIn. The first one we’ll talk about is called your primary profile. This is the profile people see when they are logged into LinkedIn. They will see the details of your current and past jobs, the details of your education, your recommendations, your websites, Twitter account information, and which LinkedIn Groups you have joined. In the right column of your profile, people will see all of your LinkedIn activity, including your Tweets and Share updates.
People can also see all of your connections and get a sense of who you are and whom you’re associated with. This helps people connect with like-minded people, so they can grow their network. Many believe this is a great way to grow your professional network, because you’re being totally transparent with other LinkedIn members. If you don’t want to let people see your connections, you can change your privacy settings so you are the only one who can view your connections. Some people do believe, that not sharing their connections with others, gives them a competitive advantage.
The second profile you have is called your Public Profile, which can be viewed by people who are not logged into LinkedIn. This profile appears in Google searches if you choose to make it visible to the search engines. You can edit Public Profile settings and control which parts of your profile are displayed publicly. You can open up your profile completely so all information is accessible to the search engines and people not logged into LinkedIn. You can also make your Public Profile completely private if you don’t want to be found in the search engines.
Custom Profile Configuration
The third option is to customize the display of different elements of your profile. For example, you can display your basic information, headline, and summary and block the rest of your profile from the search engines. Most people use the custom configuration and display some of their profile and block sensitive information if it’s included in their profile.
Search Engine Content
If you are a consultant or small-business owner and want to get your name out there, I see no reason to block any of your content from the search engines. You are on LinkedIn so people can find you and blocking your listing from search engines is self-defeating. It would be similar to owning a small business and having an unlisted telephone number. Opening up your profile completely will get your target keywords into the search engines, giving you maximum exposure.
Are you using LinkedIn's privacy settings to protect your information?