Technology

LinkedIn Boosts Its Search: What You Should Know

Following in the footsteps of its competitor Facebook, the company has upped its search capabilities—and unlike its social competition, it's available to everyone, now.

LinkedIn’s already having a banner year—but thanks to a new feature on its service, it could become an even more valuable tool for associations.

It’s not just about a seamless search box on Google, but it’s about using the power of one’s network to search for relevant and professional network results.

In recent months, its largest competitor, Facebook, has launched a new Graph Search feature, which has drawn attention for its ability to do extremely targeted searches. While LinkedIn’s search isn’t nearly as groundbreaking as Facebook’s product (which is still in the long process of rolling out), it nonetheless adds an extra level of usefulness to a service that’s increasingly near the top of the social media heap for many associations.

And unlike Facebook’s product, everyone already has it. More details:

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The changes, in a nutshell: LinkedIn’s new search interface focuses on immediately offering up significant amounts of information when searching—including an autocomplete-style tool that offers useful results right off the bat (shown above)—and, when digging deeper, making it easier to filter those results. The search also mixes multiple categories, such as people, jobs, and groups, in one fell swoop, giving more of an overview of what’s out there, and a drop-down that allows you to quickly search based on a number of factors—including your connections, the companies they work for, and their most recent updates.

Upping the game: One thing that LinkedIn’s product lead, Brad Mauney, notes is that the search is intended to surface things you may not have known about the people in your network—something the new search has in common with Facebook’s tool. And the drop-down functionality goes a long way in that direction. “We’re excited to see the industry shift because it changes a particular user’s mindset,” he told TechCrunch. “It’s not just about a seamless search box on Google, but it’s about using the power of one’s network to search for relevant and professional network results.” While the changes aren’t extreme, they do play into the network’s growing focus on shareable content and stickiness, in part by its usage of influencers.

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Simplifying the advanced: One of the secrets to LinkedIn’s new search is that it makes it easy to do advanced searches that you can set up to send automated alerts or save for later. The revamped tool could come in handy for power users, and, for LinkedIn, it’s also an outlet for monetization—free users can only save a handful of searches, but premium users can save a ton. This could come in handy for targeting potential members and researching competition. Mauney told CNET that search was already a key part of the company’s monetization, but the changes will help users “find more people and more jobs.” The changes, as a result, could potentially open up the premium market to people who may have found the prior search tool too cumbersome.

Network first: Despite the changes, however, the goals still remain true to what makes LinkedIn such a popular hub for associations and similar communities—the lead results will focus on stuff already within your own network. That part won’t change, Mauney says. “It’s always been a function of your connections and your connections’ connections. We are very excited to see the changes in the industry of more companies focusing on the power of one’s network to surface results,” he explained to TechCrunch.

Have you had a chance to try out LinkedIn’s new search? Let us know your thoughts below.

(Photo by TheSeafarer/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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