LinkedIn algorithm secrets (November update)
What you give is what you get, how much time to spend on LinkedIn each and every single day
The secret of LinkedIn and what all great publishers have in common is ‘attention.’ What you give is what you get. There is no such thing as an easy trick to get reach, write the golden headline, and get all the likes and DMs without the hard grinding work.
It's not about mindless scrolling; it's about active engagement, interaction, and genuine attention — every single day.
The more you give, the more you get. I'm on LinkedIn for about 2 hours daily to read, learn, discover, be inspired, connect, engage, and just have some fun with like-minded people.
- ‘How much time do I spend on LinkedIn every day’ by Richard van der Blom (spoiler 1h30)
- ‘Steal my 8-Step daily LinkedIn routine for 2023.’ by Nigel Thomas (spoiler 1h45)
Reposting on LinkedIn
Reposting on LinkedIn, is it done? In my humble opinion, you're an idiot if you don't. Reposting content means you're resharing what people want to read or see. Recently, I stumbled upon Richard van der Blom's post on this topic. I couldn't agree more.
→ On average, a post is seen by 12 - 15% of your network (!)
→ Good content creates impact every time
Pre-requisites for reposting
- Data-driven, check your analytics. Not only the vanity in likes and comments, also the less visible statistics. In my case, the growth of my newsletter subscribers and visitors on thinklikeapublisher.com. Both grow steadily weekly. And don't forget about the DMs I get with the remarks “I always see your content about content,… ” followed by a business request.
- Great visual. We humans are lazy and check the visuals first. If it's an infographic with a caption, simply repost it. If you want to repost a more text-based piece, consider updating the visual for seasonality and freshness.
- Sparks joy. Am I proud of this post, and what does it say about my vision of content and me as a person? If I don't get excited by it, why should you?
When not to repost…
Very simple: if your content is outdated or there to polish your own ego instead of adding value to your audience. The (re)post is or should not be about you. Another guideline is that there's enough time between the reposts. My rule of thumb is a minimum of three months.
How and when I repost
First of all, my base is my newsroom, with LinkedIn posts as the main traffic driver, next to SEO. So those are the analytics I use, not the LinkedIn likes and comments per post. Honestly, the LinkedIn vanity data of my newsletter posts is so low in numbers that it's too micro to conclude.
Every few months, I check the data of the last 6 to 12 months
- .com data: I check the absolute number of visits per post and the visitor spread over time; is it a one-off success, or does the post generate traffic continuously?
- LinkedIn data: what's the engagement on the newsletter post? I do the same for the posts on Instagram and Medium.
- Comments and remarks by my peers. Usually, I get some more personal feedback from friends and coworkers.
- Do I like the post? And is it still relevant and adds value? Does it spark my joy?
Based on the above, I check the post, update some copy, and upload a new visual if needed. And I hit republish with a repost on LinkedIn. Easy does it as I do with this post about the secrets of the LinkedIn algorithm; this is my 7th updated repost.
Below are more secrets of the LinkedIn algorithm
Getting reach on LinkedIn is an algorithm game. And that changes every few weeks. Below, you'll find the most recent updates. At the end of this post, the original listicle with tips and tricks from February, completed with my personal experiences of flirting with the picky algorithm over the last months.
The changes in the algorithm
These are the key takeaways from Richard's research. I can't repeat it often enough: follow him for all the nerdy details on the LinkedIn algorithm and how to get reach. He knows.
Longer lifetime in reach and less notifications
- LinkedIn, in a rather bold move, has revamped its policy on notifications 'To avoid overwhelming you, they'll send fewer alerts, focusing on the best ones', some notice up to a 70% drop.
- Day 2 and 3 currently cause the growth. This is in line with my own experience that posts seem to have a longer lifetime. After a few days and even weeks, I still get reach and engagement on ‘old’ posts.
It's all about the size
- Size doesn’t really matter; a longer post doesn’t mean more reach by default.
- Size does matter for slides; keep it under 20. If it’s longer, it costs you 30% in performance (reach)
Selfies; keep it on-topic and authentic
- Selfie is still here. Yet the algorithm checks the content you pair with that selfie. If it’s off-topic in your expertise or niche, you’ll lose. If it’s on topic, it can add emotional engagement and expand reach.
- Same for personal stories. Yes, use them to humanize your brand or profile. The big prerequisite is authenticity. Your audience and the algorithm will notice if it’s humble bragging or tear-jerking attention-seeking.
The good news is if you accompany that post with a selfie, the algorithm double punishes you in reach: first for not being authentic, second for a selfie combined with off-topic content.
How your post gets pushed to whom
The algorithm pushes your post to connections and followers, with equal prioritization between audiences.
It's not about the likes
Against popular belief, LinkedIn isn't only about going viral and collecting as many likes and comments as possible. It's about (dark) reach and reaching the right people. At least, that's it for me and my business case.
Reach will not only be measured in engagement. Even more so, most of the time, reach is ‘dark’ and can't be tracked.
If reach can't be tracked, it's still reach. Don't underestimate its impact.
Most of my business requests come from people who see my posts yet don't engage with them. I have similar experiences as described in the visual below.
Definition of dark social (and reach)
Dark social is social sharing that can't be tracked to its original source. For example, sharing a link, post, whitepaper, or any other content via Whatsapp, DM, or email. No UTM code, no tracking or tracing for the brand to measure reach and engagement.
Of course, engagement helps you to be pushed by the algorithm and get even more reach, the snowball effect. All I'm saying is if you don't get many likes or comments, that doesn't mean nobody sees you or that you make an impact.
You do you, me do me
I tried to follow the rules for likes and comments for a while. Honestly, it sucked out all pleasure and fun for me. I am a brand storyteller marketer and not a performance and conversion marketer for a reason.
Bringing back my creativity and ignoring and breaking all rules brought back the joy – and the (dark) reach.
There is just one golden rule I never break; it's about adding value by sharing insights. It's about you, not me.
Lessons learned in the last few months
Playing by de rules, or not? I stuck to them for some time now. And it hasn't made my life better. Below you will find my lessons from June and July.
- Predictable unpredictable
- Basics rules stay the same
- Humblebragging selfies suck
- My newsletter sucks in your timeline
Lesson 1. The predictable unpredictable algorithm
LinkedIn's algorithm changes continuously and is picky. Within a few minutes after posting, the algorithm quickly decides whether to push your post. It's pushed, and I get thousands of reach, or my post dies silent and quickly, reaching less than 100. How I write the post is more or less the same every time.
And sometimes, suddenly, an old post pops up again and grows in reach. Where that comes from, I don't know.
Lesson 2. The basic rules stay the same for a reason
A few basics that you need to know.
- First and foremost, add value to your reader. It's about them, not about you.
- If you want to boost someone else's post, comment first and like second. If you like first, it's the like that counts for the algorithm and not your more valuable comment. (podcast)
- Looks like you can edit your post without a penalty in reach (source).
- LinkedIn still hates it if you post twice in 18h; this includes if you repost from others.
- LinkedIn still loves it if you engage with others; it's a social platform, not a one-way stuff-the-timeline channel.
- Videos and external links are still not favored by the algorithm, yet I'm not really sold on this as some of my regular posts with an external link get more push by the algorithm as my newsletter content posts (these are obligatory with publishing my newsletter).
- Documents and native content, including those annoying look-at-me selfies, still rank high. I still hope this trend will extinct.
The 'likers' usually don't read; the readers don't like
This is entirely based on my own experiences and by asking my friends and is not supported by research or data. It's good to realize that…
- Most people who like, haven't actually read the content. They give a like for what they see in the first view. And there's nothing wrong with that; it's up to me to make sure my message is embedded in that first view.
- People who do read, forget to give the like. It actually makes sense because if you click to read the article, you click away from the post and where you can give the like.
Lesson 3. The annoying selfie
The humble bragging. Yes, I know it's favored by the algorithm. And yes, it's getting noticed and getting reach. And, yes, I still hate it.
The ‘look at me’ post with the happy selfie. With some kind of (too) personal story. LinkedIn is not a replacement for FB. LinkedIn is for business. For sharing. For connecting. Not for humble-bragging on how good, emotional, proud to announce, happy to share, or honored to be part of whatever you are.
LinkedIn is about adding value to the (business) network by sharing insights, research, cases, and stuff like that.
Lesson 4. Newsletters
If you use the newsletter feature, you must do it for the right reasons. After more than 60 newsletters, this is what you need to know.
- Write the newsletter
- Compose the obligatory timeline post; without this, you can't publish your newsletter
- Publish it directly or schedule it for a better time or day. If you publish directly, it can take up to two hours before it's pushed, and the post and the email drop in my subscribers' inbox
The timeline post eats away from your ‘don’t post twice in 18h,' and isn't pushed by the algorithm. If I make a regular (not newsletter) post, from the first moment, the reach is always higher, and I get more engagement, even when I include an external link. It almost feels like the algorithm ‘hates’ the newsletter post.
The email. That's where I get the most reach and connection and why I publish on Linkedin.
And this newsletter keeps evolving in formatting.
- Sometimes the preview in the email is up to 750 or more words; other times, it's around 200 words. Unpredictable why, when, and how this changes.
- All I do is make sure I have a strong title, subtitle, and animated visual. Good to know that the subtitle is more visible than the title, and the fold is pretty high, so you have to play with this to get the attention in the first view.
What I learned: f*ck the algorithm. For me, it's not about reach; it's about reaching the right people
Sticking to the algorithm rules actually brought me less. Maybe it's me; maybe it's my content; maybe it's the algorithm. I don't know.
What I do know is that since I threw out the rules and just do what I do best, sharing knowledge and insights and dropping them in the timeline how and when I like it, my reach stays the same. And I have way more fun.
I'm not on LinkedIn to broadcast. I'm on LinkedIn to share with my peers. To get nerdy in the details.
For me, it's not about reach; it's about reaching the right people.
I don't look at the numbers and vanity metrics; I thrive on connecting with others, raising the content bar, and doing better together.
Below you will find the listicle with the do's and don'ts from three great sources. Before jumping to conclusions, check the sources for all details and information.
Do, to favor the LinkedIn algorithm
- Use 1200-1600 characters for your post; that's about ~170 to 400 words
- With the ‘catch’ at the start, before the ‘read more’ cut-off after three lines
- Use three to five #. Check the sources for all details to balance between the big trending # and more personal ones. No dependency on where in your post you use the #; it can be anywhere
- Personal stories and employer branding work best
- Emoticons rock; maximum ten in total, with a maximum of four per line
- Use selfies (yes, ugh) (+80 to 90% reach)
- If you tag and it's a company, make sure the company reacts within one hour (2x the reach as when a person is tagged and reacts). This is especially relevant for recruiters and employees who (re)post a job vacancy
- For companies: use the option: ‘notify employees' or ‘recommend to employees’ via the three dots. If they share within four hours, you have +30% growth
Don't annoy the LinkedIn algorithm
Don't edit within the first ten minutes after posting; this destroys your reach(updated in May)
- Don't comment on your own post within the first two hours (-20% reach if it’s within)
- Don't post twice in 18h (-15%) or three times in 18h (-30%)
- Don't add a link in the comment after one hour (-20%) or edit a post after one hour (-10%). If you need to, wait a bit longer
What about LinkedIn engagement?
- Engagement and reach of your post are defined in the first 90 minutes; a comment within two hours is 7x the value of a like (after two hours is 4x)
- So, your timing matters. Indication; Monday 10 am to 1 pm, Tuesday to Wednesday 8 am to 11 am, Friday 1 pm to 3 pm, Saturday 10 am to 1 pm, and Sunday 1 pm to 3 pm. This can vary per market
- If you comment, use five or twelve words (+4% reach). The opinions differ if it's five or twelve; at least make sure it is two lines
- Reply to comments by others within one hour after publishing (+20%)
- Relaunch your post by commenting two to four times on your own post after 24h (+25%)
- After posting, engage with three other posts before you post again (+20% reach)
Video posts are the worst; documents are the best, and no external links
- Best posts: documents (2.2 - 3.4 x reach), polls (2.1 - 2.9x), carousel (1.8 – 2.3x), or a text with several visuals (1.2 - 1.6x)
- Adding one external link equals -40% reach (or 0.4 – 0.5x); adding two external links is even worse (0.2 – 0.4x)
- Worst posts: video (0.5 – 0.8x)
- If you do a video: add a caption (+25%), native upload, square, people in video, 30 to 60 sec, don’t start with the logo
- Good to know: people who like your post have +30% more visibility on your next post; if they comment, it's +70%, and if they share or repost, it's +80%
Nobody said LinkedIn content was easy. Give your content some love and care, and LinkedIn will reward it.
LinkedIn expells the lazy ones who simply drop the content and never look back. The days are over for those who copy-paste an URL (external link) without sharing why it matters. Or they who simply repost without framing and sharing their own thoughts in 170+ words and tagging the OP (original poster).
Read also ‘10 lessons learned on 50 LinkedIn newsletter posts’
A recap of my ten lessons learned from fifty LinkedIn Newsletter posts, in a nutshell, ‘An unpredictable algorithm can always be trusted to be unpredictable’. Posting on LinkedIn and building an audience looks easier and more complicated than it is.
Please stay away from the obvious, don’t do what everyone else is doing.
Don't make the mistakes I made
Who to follow for the best algorithm insights
If you do want to know all the ins and outs of getting likes and comments, these gents really know their game and share knowledge — no fuzz, no b*lls*t, no jargon, just honest, upfront advice and nailing it.
Check out Richard; he's got great insights on LinkedIn reach.
LinkedIn cheat sheet below via Alexander Greb
Credits to Auke van der Grinten, via the link how you can ask him to send you the Nextfields B2B LinkedIn handboek
This page is updated frequently. Every time I get new insights that are worth sharing, I'll add them to this page.
- Got any tips or requests, please don't hesitate to send me a DM
- Or subscribe to my newsletter to get the updates in your inbox
We all know what a newsletter does and how it works.
To keep things simple (for me as well), subscribe via LinkedIn. Just one click to subscribe. And if you don't like it, just one click to unsubscribe.