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The algorithm has changed and what we 100% know.

Yes, the algorithm has changed, but no they don’t give anyone a great deal of detail! We had suspicions things had changed a couple of months ago, but it was unclear how. LinkedIn made it official when an interview took place at Entrepeneur.com.

So why did they change the algorithm at all when people thought they had worked out how it worked? LinkedIn is trying to go back to being more LinkedIn and less social media in many ways.

LinkedIn had a problem as it got more popular with a 42% increase in things shared over the last couple of years, and the viral things got so impactful everybody saw them, relevant or not. Now LinkedIn wants to change this, it actively wants to stop things going viral (waits for minds to be blown of social media types) and will consider it has failed if they do.

At work you have conversations in small groups, teams, and interests, not the whole company and LinkedIn wants to go the same way.

Can you imagine if every connection interaction and post appeared in your feed? Well let’s just say it would be a lot, and hence all the good stuff would be lost in the volume rendering it useless, so there have always been algorithms (notice plural) for what you post and see.

Dan Roth (LinkedIn Editor in Chief) said in the interview that over the pandemic “home and work lives got enmeshed” and no one can argue with that one, but now we’re out the other side some are still maintained actions from other social platforms that are just not very LinkedIn, and they want to manage that – hence the change.

They also mentioned, several times, that “knowledge and advice” are prioritised throughout LinkedIn, not just the homepage feed, but the whole platform.

“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.

One of the measures they will look at on your post is “do we believe we’re helping our member be and feel more productive and successful?” by showing this to people and this will be the algorithm (yes, another AI / algorithm) evaluating your posts.

LinkedIn has considered your post by showing it to a sample of your network to see if they think it is relevant, interesting, or full of genuine knowledge and advice before they show it to more of your connections. This is a step farther than the old algorithm.

Some content is rewarded by the algorithm, others less so, hence the reduced visibility of selfies recently and overly personal posts (thank goodness!).

Interestingly they stated that they want to stop virality, “try that somewhere else” it is not celebrated internally at LinkedIn – Dan Roth LinkedIn Editor in Chief and Alice Ziong Director of Product Management (search and discovery).

One thread of the announcement which lacked any detail was “it is more likely your followers will see your post”. Now is that really followers or connections (who naturally follow as well) as that makes a big difference. I have a suspicion it will be connected followers as they also mentioned “find it most valuable when content is from people they know and care about” which to me reinforced connection, as it has done traditionally, but I do not know that to be 100% true.

So let me summarise what we know:

  • Be focused on an audience when you post, not just “putting it out there”.
  • When you post writing about your core expertise area (yes, another algorithm) this will be rewarded, but by association writing about things you don’t know about penalised.
  • Knowledge sharing, opinions, and advice that could make a positive difference to people around you on your posts will always be well thought of.
  • You will be rewarded for meaningful comments, useful ones not “agree” or ”great”, but more contextualised (and LinkedIn reiterated they will spot pods and groups that cooperate to boost posts).

In the interview they’re focusing on posting, but does this mean a renewed focus on your authority within LinkedIn? It would appear so as your authority plays into this – time to get more recommendations perhaps? Who knows!

I think it is important not get to hung up on the algorithm though, hence the delay in putting out this blog as the sensationalism has now died down. LinkedIn is a business conversation with businesspeople and it always coming back to that core and this latest change aligns to that.

But the algorithm is not the be all and end all, it is not the defining factor if your posts fly or fail – WHAT you post is.

That ability to have a meaningful interaction through your LinkedIn post is what this algorithm focuses on, but also the level of interaction you get is another critical factor too – both matter.

To put all of this into context, 97.5% of people haven’t said anything at all on LinkedIn in the last 30 days, just 2.5% have. So rather than worry about algorithms, interactions, and content, perhaps we should be trying to help people to get comfortable to just post and talk a bit more on LinkedIn instead as that works wonders!

23 August 2023