linkedin algorithm

How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works

linkedin algorithm

by Donna Amos

When you visit LinkedIn or the LinkedIn app, you see your homepage feed. This page acts very much like the Facebook feed, where you see updates from your friends or Pages you follow. However, your LinkedIn feed does not show every post from your entire network. It only shows content that LinkedIn judges to be relevant to you. You can, of course, use the setting at the top right of the page to see posts based on recent activity instead of relevance. 

That’s because LinkedIn has implemented a process for content distribution across its network that utilizes four filters, in order to reduce spam and/or inappropriate content. If you include LinkedIn in your content marketing strategy, you need to understand how the LinkedIn algorithm filters your posts and chooses whether to show them or not. 

Filter #1 Quality Level

Every time you post any type of content, the LinkedIn algorithm judges it to be spam, low quality, or quality. In a blog post describing the strategies used to keep the newsfeed relevant, Director of Engineering, Rushi Bhatt explained: “Our online and nearline classifiers label every image, text, or long form post as “spam,” “low-quality,” or “clear” in near real time.

Filter #2: Level of Engagement 

If your content passed the initial round, it appears in the LinkedIn feed temporarily. This is when the LinkedIn algorithm watches and measures the amount and types of audience engagement your post earns. If your post is gaining likes, comments, and shares, you will likely pass this stage. However, there is no definitive number of likes, shares, or comments that determine a pass or fail. 

Filter #3: Your (and your Content’s) Credibility 

At this third filter, the LinkedIn algorithm will look beyond the content of your post and more at who you are to determine if your post should keep showing up in user feeds. According to Hootsuite, “This stage is also when the algorithm decides whether to ‘demote’ your content, sending it backwards in the queue for another chance at winning credibility. 

If your post looks ‘suspicious,’ but the algorithm doesn’t want to make a definitive call on it (giving you the benefit of the doubt), it will remain in the feed but not show very highly or very frequently.” Basically, LinkedIn looks at you and your network to determine whether or not this is a spam post and whether your network will find it valuable. 

Filter #4: Human Editors

It is at this point that human LinkedIn editors take a first look at your content. Up until now, only a small batch of people have been allowed to see and interact with your post. Most of the other determinations are made by LinkedIn algorithm bots that are preprogrammed to search for unpublicized factors. 

At this point, editors review your post to determine whether it should keep showing, if it should be included in a particular channel, or whether they can derive any takeaways from it for future algorithm tweaks and product development. As long as it keeps getting engagement, your post stays in the mix, continuing its algorithmic journey through the feed.

Here is a great infographic that details how the LinkedIn algorithm works. 

How to Optimize Your Posts for LinkedIn 

Follow these three tips to optimize your posts around the LinkedIn algorithm. 

  1. Create Great Content– Vary between text, images, videos, tips, opinions, quotes, and simple sharing links to other great content. Be sure all your content is optimized for mobile users, since about 60% of LinkedIn users access the platform on their phones.  
  2. Leverage the LinkedIn Bias– Since LinkedIn is a more professional-leaning social network, you should focus your posts around topics that LinkedIn admits a bias toward:
    1. Career Helps
    2. Industry Relevance 
    3. Credible and Trustworthy Sources 
  3. Grow Your Network– A large network of followers spells credibility on LinkedIn, so use these tips to expand your network in 2019: 
  4. Ask all your employees to follow your company and set it as their workplace on their profiles.
  5. Follow influential people in your industry who are prominent on LinkedIn.
  6. Join and participate in relevant groups, sharing your content when appropriate.
  7. Comment on content relevant to your industry.
  8. Set up links to your LinkedIn page on your company website and careers page to encourage more relevant follows.
  9. Mention people when you post something and they’ll like or share if you’ve named them in your post. 

What are some other suggestions you have for optimizing your content to take full advantage of the LinkedIn algorithm and get your posts viewed? We’d love to hear your suggestions or ideas in the comments below. 

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