LinkedIn acquires search engine startup IndexTank

LinkedIn (s LNKD) made its second small acquisition in as many weeks with the purchase of IndexTank, a San Francisco-based startup that makes a real-time, hosted search engine service.

Financial terms of the deal have not been announced, but it looks like another small one. IndexTank has reportedly raised $1.6 million in seed funding to date, and the company has 11 full-time employees, nine of whom are engineers. Now that good engineers are notoriously hard to find and, in the San Francisco Bay Area, even harder to hire, LinkedIn’s purchase of IndexTank could well be largely an acq-hire move.

On its website, IndexTank explains its technology thusly: “You can use IndexTank to create a finely tuned search function for your web site or application. If you have content you want your users to find, but you don’t want to deal with complicated coding and system administration tasks, IndexTank is for you.”

Here’s what LinkedIn has to say about the deal:

“LinkedIn has always focused on delivering the best professional search tools to our members. The more than 120 million professionals that make up LinkedIn use search to connect, find, and be found, as well as to gain insights that help them be better at what they do; they are on track to do more than four billion searches on LinkedIn this year. The IndexTank acquisition brings an infusion of great search technology and talent to LinkedIn, and will help our internal teams build even better search products and experiences for our members.”

The relatively small deal is another example of the conservative way LinkedIn has opted to spend the $352 million it pulled in from its May 9 initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Last week, LinkedIn acquired Connected, an online address book service run by a husband-and-wife team. LinkedIn’s stock market valuation is currently $7.22 billion, so bigger deals could be on the horizon — but in the current environment of global economic unrest, the company is clearly going for the slow and steady route for the time being.