Understanding your search result placement
Your placement in search results on GigSalad is determined by various criteria. Whether you appear at all is determined by the categories you've added to your PromoKit and the travel distance you've chosen. If you are in the category the event planner is searching for and they are searching in a location that's within your travel range, your placement in those results is then determined by the following:
Main category vs. additional categories
In order to provide the most relevant results possible to event planners, the first criteria we use to sort by is your profile's main category. Your main category carries more weight than the additional categories you've chosen for your profile. You'll still receive exposure in all of those additional categories, but other profiles with those categories as their main category will receive priority in the search results.
Example: The event planner is searching for Photographers in Atlanta. 'Sweet Photography' has Photographer as their main category. 'Sweet Photo Booth' has Photo Booth Company as their main category, but has Photographer as an additional category. Because the planner is searching for Photographers, 'Sweet Photography' will be given priority in the results, along with all other Photographers in and around Atlanta. Within those results, they'll be sorted by level of membership and distance from the searched location.
Level of membership
The next determination is the level of membership. Paid members with the searched category as their main category are given priority, with Featured appearing first (and identified with a Featured banner), then Pro members, then Semi-Pro*, and last will be free members. After all members with the searched category as their main category have been shown, it will then show all the profiles with that as one of their additional categories sorted by membership level, giving preference to paid members.
*Semi-Pro is a discontinued membership level, and only those that are grandfathered in will still be at this level.
Example: The event planner is searching for Face Painters in Los Angeles. 'Awesome Face Painter 1' is a Featured member in Los Angeles with Face Painter as their main category. 'Awesome Face Painter 2' is a Pro member in Los Angeles, also with Face Painter as their main category. 'Awesome Face Painter 1' will be listed before 'Awesome Face Painter 2' since they have a higher membership level.
Then 'Awesome Balloon Twister,' who is also a Featured member but has Face Painter as an additional category, will show up after all other profiles that have Face Painter as their main category, regardless of membership level.
Profiles in cities closest to the searched location will show up first, with priority determined by category match and level of membership. Paid members will be given preference within the city's "preference radius." The preference radius for a city is determined by the size and population. Profiles outside of the preference radius will be sorted only by distance from the searched city, regardless of whether you're paid or if the searched category is your main category. Unless multiple profiles are in the same city, those results will be sorted first by main category match then membership level.
Example: Chicago, IL has a preference radius of 40 miles. So, any Featured member that is less than 40 miles from Chicago will be listed higher than any other member of lower membership level that is closer than that Featured member, within their category.
Let's get more specific: 'Funny Comedian 1' is Featured and located in Naperville, IL (which is 28 miles from Chicago). 'Funny Comedian 2' is Pro and located in Chicago. Both have Comedian as their main category, so when searching Comedians in Chicago, 'Funny Comedian 1' will be given priority because they are Featured and within the preference radius. If there is a 'Funny Comedian 3' that is Featured but located in Woodstock, IL (which is 52 miles from Chicago and therefore outside the preference radius), they will not appear in the results until after all other members closer to Chicago, regardless of membership level and category match.
We have this preference radius in place to ensure that our event planners are seeing the most helpful and appropriate results possible. If we gave priority to Featured members who are further away, event planners may get discouraged and leave the site thinking that there is no one close enough to their location. When, in reality, we do have some that are closer, they are just buried in the results. We feel the preference radius is the fairest way to give our paid members search result priority, while still providing relevant results for the event planner.
Members who have achieved Top Performer status will be given priority in results within their membership level when all other things are equal. Meaning, if two members are at the same level of membership and one is a Top Performer, that member will appear first. Learn more about how to earn Top Performer status.
Example: The event planner is searching for Magicians in Seattle. 'Awesome Magician 1' is a Featured member in Seattle with Magician as their main category, and they are also a Top Performer. They will be listed before any other Featured Magicians within Seattle's preference radius. 'Awesome Magician 2' is also Top Performer, but they are a Free member in Seattle with Magician as their main category. Because they are a lower membership level, they will not appear until after all other paid members with Magician as their main category within Seattle's preference radius. However, they will be given priority over all other free members that are not Top Performers.
When all the above is equal, meaning multiple profiles have the same main category, are at the same level of membership, and are in the same city, results will be ordered at random. So each time the search is done, the placement of the equal profiles could be different.
Example: The event planner is searching for Singing Guitarists in New York City. 'Great Singer 1' and 'Great Singer 2' are both Featured & Top Performers, they are both located in New York City, and they both have Singing Guitarist as their main category. They'll both be given priority in the results, but their position within those top 2 spots will be chosen randomly.