Want to engage your LinkedIn audience? Find out how the LinkedIn algorithm works in 2023 and master it in 11 easy steps!
How does the LinkedIn algorithm work in 2023?
LinkedIn may fancy itself as being, ahem, all business. But the truth is that it’s a social network.
Like all other social networks, LinkedIn relies on an algorithm for sending content to its users. And like any other algorithm, it’s relying on a variety of factors for making those decisions.
You need to know those factors if you want your LinkedIn posts to be seen by the right people.
If you wanna make the platform’s magic formula work for you, read on. The ultimate guide to the 2023 LinkedIn algorithm is below!
What is the LinkedIn algorithm?
The LinkedIn algorithm takes into account a range of factors to determine who sees what posts on the platform.
The topics, people, and types of posts an individual is most likely to engage with determines what their feed will look like.
And it’s no easy task.
LinkedIn has 810 million members and counting. The algorithm processes billions of posts per day — all to make the newsfeed as interesting as possible for every user. (I think we all owe the LinkedIn robots a big ‘thank you.’ Anyone wanna chip in for some flowers?)
After all, LinkedIn’s ultimate goal is to prioritize relevant content and promote engagement. They want you to have a great ol’ time!
It’s not just boring networking. No, no, no. LinkedIn is a party where you just happen to have your resume in your bag if someone happens to want to see it!
Linkedin algorithm 2023: How it works
If you know how to make your content to appease the algorithm, it can absolutely work in your favor.
But, if you fail to hit the mark you may find your content buried in LinkedIn purgatory.
So how does the LinkedIn algorithm work? Get ready to take some notes, people!
LinkedIn decides if your post is spam or genuine content
LinkedIn’s algorithm measures a range of factors to guess how relevant any given post might be to your audience.
It will sort your content into one of three categories: spam, low-quality or high-quality.
Here’s how LinkedIn determines where your post belongs:
- Spam: You might get flagged as being spam if you use bad grammar or include multiple links in your post.
Avoid posting too frequently (more than every three hours), and don’t tag too many people (more than five).
Hashtags like #comment, #like, or #follow can flag the system, too.
- Low-quality: These posts aren’t spam. But they aren’t following best practices for content, either. If you can’t make your post engaging, the algorithm considers it low quality.
- High-quality: These are posts that follow all LinkedIn content recommendations:
- The post is easy to read
- Encourages responses with a question,
- Uses three or fewer hashtags,
- Incorporates strong keywords
- Only tags people who are likely to actually respond. (That means no spamming Oprah, OK?)
Another hot tip: save outbound links for the comment section.
Psst: In case you need a refresher, here’s our guide to using LinkedIn hashtags responsibly (and effectively!).
LinkedIn puts your post to the test
Once the LinkedIn algorithm has established that you haven’t posted something too spammy, it’ll push your post to a handful of your followers.
If there’s lots of engagement (likes! comments! shares!) right away, LinkedIn will push it to more people.
But if no one bites at this stage (or worse, if your audience flags your post as spam or opts to hide it from their feeds), LinkedIn won’t bother sharing it further.
This all takes place in the first hour after you share a post, which means it’s make-it-or-break-it time!
Make the most of this time test by:
- Posting at a time when you know your followers are online (check out our guide to LinkedIn analytics here to help you figure out when that is!)
- Responding to any comments or questions
- Spark engagement with a question or prompt
- Post consistently so that super fans know when your new stuff drops
- Get active elsewhere on LinkedIn by interacting with other posts. You never know if seeing your name might inspire someone to come take a peek at your latest content, right?
Crank all your best practices for engagement up into high gear. Need a refresher on how to make the most of LinkedIn for business? We gotchu.
LinkedIn delivers your engaging content to more users
If your post is getting engagement, then the mighty algorithm will start sending your content to a wider audience.
Who gets to see your post from here depends on three ranking signals:
How closely you’re connected.
The more closely you’re related to a follower, the more likely they are to see your content.
That means people you work with or have worked with or people whom you’ve interacted with in the past.
Interest in the topic.
The LinkedIn algorithm determines a user’s interests based on the groups, pages, hashtags, and people they follow.
If your post mentions topics or companies that align with a user’s interest, well… that’s very good news!
According to LinkedIn’s Engineering blog, the algorithm also looks at a few other factors. These include the language of the post and the companies, people, and topics mentioned in it.
Likelihood of engagement.
This “probability of engagement” factor is measured in two ways.
First, how likely is it that a user is going to engage with your post? (This is based on their previous behavior, and what they’ve engaged with your posts in the past.)
The second signal: how much engagement is the post itself receiving in general? If it’s a hot-hot-hot post sparking lots of conversation, more people are likely going to want to chime in, too.
11 tips for mastering the LinkedIn newsfeed algorithm
Easier said than done, right? There are a few ways content creators can look at relevance.
First, there’s the cardinal rule: Know thy audience. Start by conducting thorough audience research.
Use analytics and intel from your other platforms. Graph interests, and get a better understanding of what your audience cares about. You can even use a competitor’s audience to build personas.
Use these findings as starting points for your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
Relevance can apply to formats, too. LinkedIn members prefer to engage with rich media:
- Posts with images get twice as many comments as text posts
- LinkedIn videos get five times the engagement.
Perfect example: Shopify announced a slew of new updates with a hypnotic animation accompanying the text. Can’t. Look. Away.
Creators need to use formats that are popular with LinkedIn members. This will likely earn points in both the “interest relevance” and “engagement probability” columns.
Schedule your posts for the best times
Getting good engagement in that first hour is critical. You’re not going to see the likes and comments rolling in if your audience is fast asleep.
For maximum exposure, schedule your posts for when the majority of followers are usually online.
Generally speaking, the best time to post on LinkedIn is 9 a.m. on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. But every audience is unique. Hootsuite’s dashboard can generate a personalized recommendation. (Try it free for 30 days — You’re welcommmme!)
Promote your posts (on LinkedIn and off)
One of the best ways to increase engagement on your posts is to increase the number of people that will see them.
There are several tactics creators can use to gain extra traction on LinkedIn:
- Tag relevant companies and members
- use keywords strategically
- include relevant hashtags.
Branded hashtags also have high potential here. If you create a hashtag worth following, chances are the algorithm will surface posts that use it to the hashtag’s followers.
Examples include Lyft’s #LifeAtLyft, Nike’s #SwooshLife, and Adobe’s #AdobeLife. Google’s #GrowWithHashtag creates a community of more than 2,000 trainees that can connect and share experiences on the platform.
For more tagging tips, read our LinkedIn hashtag guide. Really. Just… do it.
Hot tip: not all promotion needs to happen on LinkedIn.
If you think a recent post might be of interest to employees or customers, share it in Slack or in your e-newsletter.
This can be a great way to engage inactive LinkedIn members with your content. In turn, the engagement will improve your ranking with the algorithm. It’s a win-win.
Avoid outbound links
LinkedIn doesn’t want you going anywhere. So it’s no surprise that the algorithm doesn’t prioritize posts with outbound links as much as other types of posts.
We did an experiment on this just to be sure. Our posts without outbound links always outperform other types of posts.
If you need to share a link to something off-platform, pop it in the comments. Sneaky! We love to see it!
LinkedIn’s algorithm rewards engagement—especially posts that inspire conversations. One of the best ways to start a conversation is with a question.
Ask your audience to share their opinions or insights with you. Posing the right questions positions your brand as a thought leader.
It also provides an opportunity to learn more about your audience’s interests. (Of course, if you want LinkedIn members to engage with you, be sure to return the dialogue!)
Craft original, engaging content
Original posts go a lot further and spark more engagement than a shared post.
If you’re going to repurpose content or have a user-generated content strategy, try to find a way to reframe it, adding your own commentary or value.
Maybe a cheeky little screenshot paired with your own cunning analysis? Don’t forget to add a convo-provoking Q that gets the people talking.
The social team at Allbirds, for instance, didn’t just share a link to a review with this LinkedIn post and let it speak for itself. They added their own note of gratitude and a quote they loved from the article to make the post their own.
Pro tip: forget the polls!
In May 2022, LinkedIn announced they’d be reducing the number of polls shown in a feed. This was due to feedback from users that there were just toooo many showing up.
Build your network strategically
Connections and relevance are crucial factors when it comes to currying favor from the algorithm. As a result, growing a healthy and active network has the potential to reap exponential rewards.
Whether you run a personal profile or a Page on LinkedIn, be sure to:
- Fill out your personal profile and Page as completely as you can, and keep them updated. (According to LinkedIn, Pages with complete info get 30 percent more views each week!)
- Add connections (people you know, or think would be interesting to see updates from).
- Encourage employees to show that they work at your company and use your corporate hashtag.
- Follow others and attract followers (these are different than connections on LinkedIn).
- Take part in LinkedIn Groups, or host your own.
- Give and receive recommendations.
- Make sure your profile is public, so people can find you, add you and see your posts.
- Join conversations and be active on the network, generally.
- Promote your LinkedIn pages on your website and in other appropriate spaces (e.g., employee bios, business cards, newsletters, email signatures, etc.). Setting up customized URLs is useful for this. You can find the right logos here.
Try out new formats
Whenever LinkedIn releases a new format, the algorithm usually gives it a boost. So get experimental!
From LinkedIn Live to LinkedIn Articles to LinkedIn Slides, it pays to be an early adopter. This is true even if the features themselves don’t wind up lasting. (RIP, LinkedIn Stories.)
Optimize with LinkedIn Analytics
If something performs well, replicate it.
Use LinkedIn Analytics or Hootsuite Analytics to understand what posts perform best and why.
Maybe it’s because you posted them all at a specific time? Or, maybe each post posed a question?
Whatever it is, find out and use these insights to refine your LinkedIn content strategy.
Post LinkedIn-appropriate content
Users are on LinkedIn to be a part of the professional world. You need to consider that when you’re crafting your posts.
This isn’t a place to share a video of your dog’s birthday party and expect people to care (as impressive as that pinata situation was). Rather, keep the focus on the biz-nas.
Don’t just take our word for it:
“Posts that spark conversations and engaging discussions are the posts that we heard you find especially helpful to your career growth and development,”
-Linda Leung, from the official LinkedIn blog post about keeping LinkedIn relevant and productive.
Know the niche, and live in it. These are the kinds of things that thrive here:
- Tips related to scaling a small business
- a breakdown of your corporate culture philosophy
- behind-the-scenes moments at the office
- takeaways from an inspiring conference
Your vibe on LinkedIn doesn’t need to be totally heartless roboto-corporation. Authenticity, humanity, and humor are more than welcome and are, in fact, rewarded.
Assume a brand voice that’s friendly and approachable. Accounts that tow the company line to a tee or use too much corporate jargon may deter LinkedIn members from interacting.
Be real and relatable, and your audience will be more likely to offer the same in return.
This Thinkific video, for instance, is part of a series of profiles on the company’s team members. It’s personal (or should we say… personnel?) but still very much related to the discussion of the work culture the site built its brand on.
Don’t beg for empty engagement
We know that likes, reactions, and comments can boost a post’s engagement score. Some users have tried to game the system by expressively asking or encouraging the community to help boost their reach.
That’s not exactly the kind of genuine engagement LinkedIn wants to see in action on the platform.
As of May 2022, the algorithm started explicitly reducing the reach of these spam-adjacent posts.
“We won’t be promoting this type of content and we encourage everyone in the community to focus on delivering reliable, credible, and authentic content,” writes Leung.
So there you have it: everything there is to know about the LinkedIn algorithm in 2023.
But the magic of LinkedIn doesn’t stop there. Check out our complete guide to mastering LinkedIn for Business for even more expert advice on getting down to business.
Easily manage your LinkedIn Page alongside your other social channels using Hootsuite. From a single platform you can schedule and share content—including video—engage your network, and boost top-performing content.