LinkedIn Algorithm Secrets

How to use the Algorithm to Increase Engagement & Reach on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s popularity has increased substantially over the last 18 months. Moving from a once stuffy network dominated by recruitment companies and online CV’s to a modern engaging social media platform with a mass of opportunity.

This has been driven firstly through its acquisition by Microsoft in 2016 and more recently by the addition of key features such as video. These changes have enabled

LinkedIn to become a content rich platform attracting numerous creators and bright minds. If you’ve been using LinkedIn over this time you’ve no doubt seen the shift and

noticed the increase in valuable content delivered by its community. You may also have seen some of the big social metrics and engagement associated with those posts.

Like many social media platforms LinkedIn has an algorithm which determines which posts are seen and which are not. The LinkedIn architects have actually been gracious enough to post a diagram explaining how the algorithm works. Whilst it needs a little bit of explanation and context it’s an extremely valuable asset when it comes to figuring out what content to post and when.

The LinkedIn Algorithm

In this document I’m going to share with you six ways to craft and post your content that will take advantage of the algorithm and help you grow your audience and build your personal brand.

1.Create for engagement
LinkedIn’s algorithm is designed to assess which content is valuable and which isn’t. It then distributes the valuable content widely across the platform and throttles the
content that it deems to be low quality.

One of the key ways it identifies quality is to measure the engagement on the post. Once the post has passed the initial quality score (built predominantly to identify spam) it then moves to the feed and from there it’s measured against likes and comments from your network. You can see this in the ‘user flagging’ section. 

The more likes and comments the more LinkedIn considers it to be a valuable post. So creating content that generates discussion or interaction will ultimately help your post to be seen by more people.

There are lots of ways to do this but try the following:

   1) Ask a question. The more people that answer, the better the post will perform.

   2) Report some news. If you have something that no one else has heard yet it will start conversations around the subject.

   3) Challenge an idea. If you can challenge common beliefs you’ll generate discussion through the opinion that you divide.

2. Engage across the platform.
Once LinkedIn has measured the success of your post from the likes and comments it then assess the quality of your account. That means how many interactions and comments you have contributed to other people's posts. This is a simple way that LinkedIn has of rewarding those that commit time and to their community.

Interacting doesn't take long but it doesn't require perseverance. Set aside 10 minutes a day to go through your feed and comment on other posts and it will help the algorithm understand that you are a regular user of the platform. Your improved score will help your future posts gain more visibility.

3. Don't post too much
LinkedIn has options in the feed to hide and report posts. Whilst you want to maintain a good presence on the platform you don't want to dominate people's feeds. Particularly if your content isn't consistently valuable. As soon as someone hides your post it sends a message to LinkedIn that your content isn't valuable. LinkedIn then downgrades your post and potentially your account.

It's far better to post consistent content that you spend time creating than a barrage of content that is just shoved together for the sake of it. That's going to help your audience trust you and improve your scores with the LinkedIn algorithm.

4. Upload video natively
LinkedIn introduced video in 2017, one of the last major social networks to do so. Since then video content has been gradually increasing on the platform. Currently it's one of the best ways to get engagement on the news feed. Partly because LinkedIn want everyone to use it and partly because it's video, it's easy to watch, personal and everyone loves it.

In order to get the most out of it users must upload the video directly to LinkedIn. YouTube links or video from other platforms receive a fraction of the reach as LinkedIn doesn't want users to leave the platform. So when you create a post use the option to upload your video directly to the platform.

The maximum time is 10 minutes but we recommend 1-3 mins for better engagement and reach.

5. Don't post links in the description
When you write a post or create a video, add as much value as you can but don't add a link to an external site. LinkedIn will see this as an attempt to take users away from the platform and it will downgrade the reach of the post.

Annoying right?

Well here's a workaround. LinkedIn doesn't downgrade the reach for any link in the comments section. This wouldn't be fair as someone else might link to something in your comments and affect it's reach.

You can use this to your advantage by adding any third party links relevant to your content in the comments. Just mention it in the post and users can follow the link from the comments without affecting the reach of your post.

6. Post at the right time
Posting at the right time is important for gaining initial traction on a post. If no one engages in the first few minutes or hours your post is in danger of being marked down on value. Think about when your audience is going to be active on the platform.

This might not be during the day when everyone is busy, often people are using LinkedIn in the hours before and after work or during lunch time. Even the weekend might yield some results.

You should use your common sense for this but also test different times as networks always differ (if you're network is freelancers or people working from home their work hours will be more flexible).

If you follow all of these tips you'll see a substantial increase in your LinkedIn engagement. Ultimately LinkedIn have designed their algorithm to make the platform interesting and useful for their users, and to keep them on the platform for as long as possible.

The most important thing you can do to increase your visibility is understand what LinkedIn is asking for, luckily this is the same thing that your audience is asking for. So by providing valuable rich content and conversation you'll be hitting both targets at once.

David Kilkelly
About the Author

David Kilkelly is the founder and managing director at BlinkBack. He specialises in strategic content creation and social media marketing strategy for video and also trains businesses to create their own content.