LinkedIn Changed Its Algorithms — Here's How Your Posts Will Get More Attention Now To maximize your reach, it's time to share "knowledge and advice."
Want to go viral on social media? LinkedIn has a message for you: Try that somewhere else.
"When things go viral on LinkedIn, usually that's a sign to us that we need to look into this, because that's not celebrated internally," says Dan Roth, LinkedIn's editor in chief.
So what is celebrated? That answer has changed over the past several months, as LinkedIn made significant updates to the way its feed works. As a result, some content is rewarded, some now has less reach, and you're probably seeing a lot fewer selfies.
If you're one of the millions of entrepreneurs who share or engage on LinkedIn, those changes will impact you — and are worth knowing. (Full disclosure: I post every day.) So I asked Roth and his colleague Alice Xiong, a director of product management who leads LinkedIn's search and discovery products, to explain them.
To hear our full conversation, listen to this episode of my podcast Problem Solvers. Below, I've summarized what you need to know. We'll get into:
- The big changes in LinkedIn's feed
- How your posts can get more attention
- Why LinkedIn is so against "viral" content
But first, here's what's motivating LinkedIn:
LinkedIn Is Trying to Solve a Problem
LinkedIn activity has surged in the past few years. The company says it saw a 42% year-over-year increase in content shared from 2021 to 2023, a 27% increase in content viewed, and now has three professionals joining every second.
During the pandemic, Roth says, people's LinkedIn posts became much more personal. "Our homes and our work lives got enmeshed," he says — and users started sharing the sorts of selfies and family photos that they might once have posted to Facebook.
Then some users leaned into other actions that have become endemic on social media — like trying to game the algorithm to gain as many likes and followers as possible.
As a result, many LinkedIn users started complaining. "They were saying, 'I don't want to see that anymore — now I want to learn how to get better at what I'm doing,'" Roth says.
So LinkedIn set about trying to make its feed more relevant and informative, and not just engaging and sticky. As a result of the changes — which we'll get into below — the company says it's seen an 80% reduction in people complaining about irrelevant content on their feeds.
The Two Big Changes on LinkedIn's Feed
In short, here's what has changed:
1. If you post on LinkedIn, it is more likely that your followers will see your post.
Why? Because that's what users say they want.
"People tell us that they find it most valuable when content is grounded in knowledge and advice," Xiong says, "and they find it most valuable when the content is from people they know and care about."
So far, LinkedIn has seen a 10% increase in people viewing posts from people they follow.
2. Posts that share "knowledge and advice" are now prioritized throughout the platform.
This is the counterbalance to the change above — and it's a primary way that your posts can reach people who don't currently follow you.
LinkedIn's system is now evaluating whether a post contains knowledge and advice, and then showing it to other users who are likely to find the information relevant and useful. "For us, the most important part of the equation is, Do we believe we're helping our members be and feel more productive and more successful?" Xiong says.
Since the changes took effect, she says, LinkedIn has seen a nearly 40% increase in "people checking out and viewing content that is grounded in knowledge from people that are out of their network."
How LinkedIn Identifies 'Knowledge and Advice'
Here's where things get really interesting — because how can an algorithm recognize when a post is full of genuine knowledge and advice?
"We are looking to see that you are building a community around content, and around knowledge-sharing that you are uniquely qualified to talk about," Roth says.
Roth and Xiong didn't share every metric the company uses, but they did identify a few:
1. The post speaks to a distinct audience.
"The way I like to think about it," Roth says, "is that every piece of content has its own total addressable market. And you have to think about, well, who am I trying to reach with this thing?"
LinkedIn is thinking about that too. Its system looks at every post and basically asks: Who is this relevant to?
Sometimes, the answer is a small number of people — maybe you've posted about your family, and so the system decides it's only relevant to your closest connections. Or maybe you've posted about B2B marketing, and the system will start showing it to people inside that community.
"Advice to give to the creators out there is, think about what kind of knowledge you have to offer to help people," Xiong says. "That is the kind of thing that will likely get you to reach the right audience as well."
2. The author is writing in their core subject area.
When you post something on LinkedIn, the platform isn't just evaluating the value of your post. It is now also evaluating you — and whether you're an authority in the thing you've posted about.
"Because we have the professional profile of record," Roth says, "it helps us be able to make sure that we are getting the right content to the right people."
Roth offers an example: He has zero background in geology, so what would happen if he posted on LinkedIn about how to be a great geologist? "That is useless, because I don't know what I'm talking about," he says. "So if I put that up there, LinkedIn has an obligation to be like, 'Hey, this is not the highest quality content, Dan has none of the skills in this area, and we have not seen him have success with geology content in the past.'"
3. The post has "meaningful comments."
In the past, LinkedIn would amplify posts that got a lot of comments. As a result, some users banded together into "engagement groups" — essentially agreeing to quickly like and comment on each other's posts, as a way of boosting them.
LinkedIn wanted to stop that.
Now it rewards posts that get what Roth calls "meaningful comments." This means that people aren't just dashing off empty comments — stuff like "great!" or "so true!" — but are instead actually responding to the content of the post.
LinkedIn is also considering who these commenters are — are they random people, or are they from a particular group? For example, imagine that you post something about marketing. If a lot of marketing professionals comment on your post, LinkedIn sees that as a positive sign.
If you respond to the comments on your post, that's also a positive sign and could get the post more attention, Roth says. "Our system is like, 'This is a conversation, and people want to be part of this conversation. Show this to more people.'"
4. The post has a perspective.
To understand how LinkedIn evaluates posts, I showed Roth and Xiong one of my own — a post in which I shared a funny sign from outside a coffee shop (that I found online), and offered some related advice about how to feel empowered after someone insults you. The post did well, getting more than 2 million impressions. But why?
Xiong said my post is a "classic case" of a "share, opinion, advice" post.
LinkedIn uses artificial intelligence to classify posts into different categories — including, for example, whether a post contains opinions and/or advice. In part, it's looking to see whether a post is offering generic information (which is less rewarded) or is drawn from the writer's perspective and insights (which is more rewarded).
Had I just posted the photo of the funny sign, LinkedIn would have shown it to fewer people. But because I added perspective that reached a target audience, it resonated and grew.
"We really appreciate creators taking creative liberty and using their personality," Xiong says.
What LinkedIn Thinks Success Looks Like
Roth and Xiong know: Some people want a lot of likes and followers on LinkedIn. It can be a useful brand-building tool, and can lead to more business.
But they want users to think differently. Instead of just reaching lots of people, they say, they want LinkedIn users to focus on reaching the right people.
That's a big reason why, as Roth said earlier, the LinkedIn system does not reward virality.
He says it's helpful to think of LinkedIn as a digital version of the workplace, where there are a lot of teams with a lot of individual conversations. No single discussion is relevant to every person across every team — just as no single piece of content should be relevant to everyone across LinkedIn.
"It's very rare for someone to stand up with a megaphone and shout to the whole office and everyone's like, 'Great, I want to hear more from this person yelling at us with this megaphone,'" Roth says. "So, if stuff's not going viral in the workplace, it shouldn't be going viral on LinkedIn."