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linkedin algorithm

How LinkedIn’s Algorithm Works, According to the LinkedIn Team

In this article, we’ll highlight the key points from the LinkedIn team about the LinkedIn algorithm and share practical tips for applying this knowledge to your content.

Feb 9, 2024 8 min readFlow
Photo of Tamilore Oladipo
Tamilore Oladipo

Content Writer @ Buffer

LinkedIn’s algorithm has always been a bit of a mystery — until now. 

The social media platform recently underwent some key algorithm changes, and the team (Dan Roth, editor-in-chief, and Alice Xiong, a product management director) sat down with Entrepreneur to explain them.

In this article, we’ll highlight the key points from the team’s interview about the LinkedIn algorithm and share practical tips for applying this knowledge to your content.

How the LinkedIn algorithm works

Unlike YouTube and Instagram, which have their Shorts and Reels and Explore Page, LinkedIn feeds you content primarily from one place — your Feed. When you type in the LinkedIn URL, this is the landing page, so it’s your first impression of all the content on the platform.

With over 1 billion members and the number of daily posts in the millions, if not billions, there’s no way around it: relevant content is key.

The promise of the algorithm is that if you create quality content relevant to a specific audience, they will see your content. The reverse is true for your audience of LinkedIn users: what they engage with is what they’ll see.

If you always engage with B2B marketing content, you’ll see more of that on your Feed. If you always post about B2B marketing, your target audience will inevitably see more of your content. And the more niche your approach is, the better the algorithm can direct your content to the top of the right Feeds.

With this context in mind, all the updates are in service of getting the right content in front of the right audience.

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Buffer's LinkedIn Analytics offers in-depth insights, allowing you to iterate and enhance your LinkedIn strategy for better reach and engagement.

Virality is not a factor in the algorithm

Before, the LinkedIn algorithm amplified the most engaging (viral) content. When work and personal lives merged a few years ago, the platform saw an influx of personal content reminiscent of what you’d see on Facebook.

With the change in posting style, membership and engagement grew, but it also caused a lot of irrelevant, low-quality content to float to the top of users’ Feeds. So, with the algorithm updates, viral content is more likely to hurt your visibility and engagement than help it. It might start hitting Feeds where it isn’t relevant, and not getting much engagement beyond reactions.

Your connections and followers will now see your posts first

This is a user-requested update, as most people find the content from their existing network the most valuable. It also means that the quality of your network is more critical than ever — if you want engagement, the people you connect with need to see value in your content.

LinkedIn's updated algorithm rewards knowledge-rich posts by extending their reach beyond the creator’s immediate network. As such, even non-connected users who might find your content valuable could see your posts.

LinkedIn will highlight more expert content

The platform is looking to highlight more knowledge and advice experts share. For users, the algorithm determines what expertise is relevant by identifying a user’s interests based on their profile info and activity.

For creators, it looks at the level of engagement and shares your LinkedIn content receives as a signal that you’re making something people want to see. Comments, especially in-depth replies, and continuing conversations, also help to improve your placement in the algorithm. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s features, like carousels or in-Feed videos, to add more detail to your posts (more on this below).

The metrics for success on LinkedIn

The new LinkedIn system uses ranking signals to evaluate content: Relevance, Expertise, and Engagement.

  • Relevance: The relevance of the post to a distinct audience
  • Expertise: The author's expertise in the post's subject area
  • Engagement: The presence of "meaningful comments" from people historically interested in your post topic.
how linkedin algorithm works

As a creator, you should aim to design content that not only appeals to a specific audience, but also underscores your expertise and encourages genuine engagement. Here’s how.

How to work with the LinkedIn algorithm as a creator

Whether you consider yourself a creator, an influencer, or just someone building their personal brand on LinkedIn, my advice is the same: Treat LinkedIn like you would a work conference. You’re there to:

  • Give a keynote presentation (share high-quality content built off your hard-won expertise) and
  • Network with people (engage and make new connections)

So your presentation should:

  • Be relevant to the conference and its attendees (your niche and audience)
  • Provide as much value to your audience in the your allotted time (the three seconds you have to stop someone from scrolling)
  • Contain some fun personal stories or anecdotes to entertain as well as educate

LinkedIn wants to serve the right content to the right audience, which means categorizing content better. With this in mind, your posts will be categorized better if they:

  • Share a unique perspective on a popular topic
  • Show off your expertise with practical examples and advice
  • Are easy to read (i.e. well formatted)
  • Encourage responses with CTAs (“comment below if…”)
  • Use three or fewer relevant hashtags
  • Incorporate relevant keywords from the topic niche (check out tools for finding these keywords here)
  • Tag people, especially if they post about similar topics, and can engage and add further insights.

More broadly, when creating these posts, you should:

  • Focus on sharing knowledge and advice: LinkedIn’s algorithm update shows a return to form for the professional network. Take the opportunity to share more about the specific and maybe even mundane things that happen in your job with your network. Anything that comes from personal experience in your career and gives advice at the end will win in the new algorithm.
  • Prioritize relevance over virality: Your content should share insights that can resonate with a specific professional audience instead of trying to appeal to a mass audience. If your passion is kitchens in Middle Eastern architecture and that’s what you choose to write about, the algorithm will make sure the right people see it.
  • Your followers matter more than ever, but in quality over quantity: In the simplest terms, if you post about a topic, the people who will see it are those you follow or vice versa, then anyone interested in that topic. So, your LinkedIn network needs to be filled with people who are most likely interested in what you share and will engage.

5 LinkedIn tips for better content performance

Beyond creating high-quality content that is relevant and useful to your audience, here’s a checklist to maximize your chances of LinkedIn success:

1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile

Make sure you leave no stone unturned in completing your LinkedIn profile. 

Buffer guest poster Gaetano DiNardi created this handy guide of 20+ LinkedIn profile tips that’s definitely worth checking out. Here’s a summary if you’re short on time:

  1. Choose a unique profile picture and banner
  2. Write a catchy headline and summary — don’t be afraid to include emojis to stand out in people’s feeds
  3. Write a detailed experience section — include bullet points of achievements in your role
  4. Add skills, endorsements, and recommendations
  5. Showcase licenses and certifications — Bonus tip: take a LinkedIn Skills Assessment to beef up this section

2. Post at the right time

With social networks having ditched chronological newsfeeds many moons ago, timing your posts perfectly is a lot less crucial than it once was. 

However, considering the best time to post on LinkedIn for your audience may help give your post reach a little boost.

But when works? To figure out the best time to post on LinkedIn, we assessed the engagement rates of more than a million LinkedIn posts sent through Buffer — and the results won’t surprise you. 

We discovered that anything posted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays had the highest engagement rate. LinkedIn may have evolved to be more than just a jobs platform, but LinkedIn users are clearly still using it while on the job, so to speak. 

how linkedin algorithm works

3. Post consistently

The more you share, the better LinkedIn will understand who you are, what you do, and who wants to see your posts, so publish frequently.

Many LinkedIn creators we’ve interviewed on the Buffer blog have advocated for publishing daily on LinkedIn, some even more frequently.

If that doesn’t feel like an achievable goal just yet, fear not — posting high-quality content as often as you’re able is a great start. Quality is still more important than quantity on LinkedIn.

To make things more manageable, creating a content calendar is a great way to scale your output, especially if you’re posting on other social media platforms, too. 

4. Experiment with types of content

Gone are the days of basic text posts — LinkedIn’s functionality allows for a host of different types of posts these days. Different post formats will yield different results, so it’s worth experimenting to see which resonates the most with your audience.

Through the analysis of the Buffer data I mentioned above, we also found that generally, videos are the top-performing format on LinkedIn, with photo posts and PDF carousels not far behind. 

how linkedin algorithm works

If you’re already creating video content for other platforms, you might want to repurpose your content for LinkedIn, if it makes sense for your audience. 

That said, LinkedIn is not TikTok or Instagram Reels — the 9:16 aspect ratio we’re so used to seeing on these short-form video-focused platforms is not the best for LinkedIn. While LinkedIn supports these dimensions, I’d recommend square 1:1 video dimensions for the best visibility in newsfeeds. 

PDF carousels are also a brilliant, visual way to repurpose something you may already have shared in a text post on LinkedIn. Here are 11 LinkedIn carousel ideas to get you started.

Make sure your carousel posts go out at the best time for engagement! Here’s how to schedule LinkedIn carousels with Buffer

As you can see from the graph above, link-only posts generally don’t get as much engagement as other types of content — but that doesn’t mean links are off-limits in your LinkedIn digital marketing strategy. 

You may opt to pepper them into your content calendar occasionally, only for the most essential external links you’re hoping to drive your audience to. 

You could also leverage the comments for sharing these resources. Anecdotally speaking, sharing links in this way doesn't seem to have a negative impact on post performance. 

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With Buffer, you can now schedule a first comment along with your LinkedIn post — perfect for those ‘Find the link in the comments’ moments. Connect your LinkedIn Page or profile to get started.

Great news — your niche interests and knowledge are in demand

The updates to LinkedIn’s algorithm mean great things for creators with niche interests and expertise. You don’t need to try to beat it or game it — just go with its flow.

Since the algorithm cares more about getting your content in front of the right people, you can be assured that you’ll grow as long as you optimize your posts and keep up your engagement through comments and replies.

In other great news, scheduling content isn’t penalized — only abandoning your scheduled content. So get a head start on drafting a bunch of new, relevant content for your audience on LinkedIn through Buffer.

Schedule a LinkedIn post→

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