LinkedIn is still the most popular professional social media network, boasting over 15 million UK members (as of March 2014). According to data last year, there were 374,711 engineers, 2,495 detectives and 4,083 farmers using LinkedIn in the UK, which is certainly a diverse spectrum of professions! However, with the launch of the new Facebook at Work platform in the US last week, LinkedIn needs to regularly improve its customer experience in order to maintain its position. We’ve taken a look at the top improvements LinkedIn has made to its search engine for 2015: 1. Search Wider (with some restrictions) LinkedIn used to restrict you from only being able to search for those who you are already connected to (1st connections) or their friends (2nd connections). Once you tried to find someone with no existing connection, what you began to see was limited. Sometimes you’d see a face with a name ‘LinkedIn Member’, and sometimes their profile picture would even be hidden from you! LinkedIn required you to upgrade to Pro to get this information. However, many of us just used Google as a way to get around this, putting in anything that you already knew about your connection and searching – but this is no longer necessary. All members can now find who they’re looking for– whether they are 1st, 2nd or even 3rd degree networks. Thanks for the freebie LinkedIn! …However LinkedIn has brought in some restrictions about the number of LinkedIn searches you can do for ‘commercial use’. If you are using LinkedIn for prospecting or hiring, your search total will be totted up monthly. A progress bar will appear in your search results when 30% of your searches are left, and will continue to remind you in 5% increments. After you’ve reached the limit, you’ll continue to be able to search, but will see a limited number of results. Your free monthly usage will reset on the 1st of each calendar month. We are unsure about what the maximum amount of monthly searches is at the moment, but if you have received a warning, please let us know on Twitter @AvocadoSocial! 2. Search Faster LinkedIn now offers a predicted results option, where as you start typing it will come up with suggestions to what you might be looking for. This allows you to find what you’re looking for a lot quicker than before. The results will be ordered in priority of what LinkedIn deems most likely to be of interest to you based on your connections, companies or groups you may share with that person. 3. Search Better Now, when you run a search on LinkedIn, relevant content like status posts and SlideShare decks from thought leaders are fed in directly to your search results to help you stay informed about what you searched for. We’d love to hear your experiences with LinkedIn and whether the new search has made your life easier. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post all about How to Post Blog Content on LinkedIn.