With This LinkedIn Algorithm Change, Your Best Posts Could Reach New Readers for Years

Your best LinkedIn posts could soon get a lot more reach.

That’s because LinkedIn is developing a new way for posts to show up on other people’s feeds. It’s called a “suggested post” — an ambitious, new way of distributing content, where your best posts will be shown to targeted users for months or even years.

“Right now, content lives and dies on the newsfeed very quickly,” says Tim Jurka, a senior director of engineering at LinkedIn. “We’re trying to collect the sum total of professional knowledge on our platform, and make sure it surfaces whenever you need it.”

It’s the latest in a series of changes for LinkedIn, as the platform actively seeks to reward what it calls “knowledge and advice” instead of virality. In June 2023, I reported on LinkedIn’s initial algorithm shifts — recognizing when posts are based on the writer’s core expertise, amplifying posts that drive meaningful conversations in the comments, and more.

So what’s next? In a recent conversation with Jurka and his colleague, LinkedIn editor in chief Dan Roth, we discussed many subjects relevant for anyone looking to boost their LinkedIn engagement:

  • The development of suggested posts
  • Other new tools to help LinkedIn users grow
  • The impact of the algorithm changes, and some users’ complaints that their reach has gone down
  • LinkedIn’s move away from the term “creator”
  • Why LinkedIn says you shouldn’t trust reports about how to optimize your posts

You can hear our full conversation on my Entrepreneur podcast, Problem Solvers, or read more below.

How the new ‘suggested posts’ work

Social media feeds generally optimize for timeliness, showing you the most recent posts from your connections or new posts you’re likely to enjoy. But timeliness can be a problem, Jurka says, because not everyone needs the same information at the same time.

LinkedIn isn’t doing away with timeliness, but it wants to be a more active content matchmaker — recognizing what individual users are interested in, and then surfacing relevant posts regardless of when they were created. “We really try to match content to them when a certain insight would be super valuable to them in that moment,” Jurka says.

Here’s what that would look like.

Let’s say you went to LinkedIn and posted a detailed lesson about beverage marketing. Typically, that post would disappear from people’s feeds within a few days or more.

Now LinkedIn is thinking differently. It might identify your post as uniquely useful — and whenever other users show an interest in beverage marketing, it might display your post in their feed as a special “suggested post.” This means your content could actively live on for months or even years, reaching a hyper-targeted audience.

If this works, Jurka acknowledges, it creates an incentive for users to post more useful content. The feature is being tested right now, and you may see a version of it on your feed. Jurka says he spends about 75% of his time on suggested posts right now, and that the project is in “very early days.”

New tools to help user growth

LinkedIn is rolling out a series of new tools on the platform, with the aim of helping users connect more effectively. These include:

Custom button. Premium members can now create a “custom button” — a small hyperlink that appears in their profile and above all their posts. Right now, the button can only say a small number of phrases such as “Visit my website” and “Book an appointment.” Roth says more phrases are coming, including something along the lines of “Subscribe to my newsletter.”

The verified badge. Users can now verify their identity on LinkedIn through a variety of methods. Once verified, users get a small badge on their profile. Jurka called it a “trust-builder” that helps you connect with others — but no, your posts don’t get more visibility if you’re verified.

Thought leadership ads. Companies can now spend money to boost someone else’s post — for example, a post by someone praising its product. This is only available to organizations with a company page.

Newsletters. LinkedIn has been developing a newsletter product for years, and says it now has 550 million professionals who have subscribed to 156,000 newsletters. The product still lacks a lot of the data and features found on newsletter platforms like ConvertKit and Substack, but Roth says that LinkedIn plans to expand the product and compete directly against other platforms in the space.

Creator mode. For a while now, LinkedIn users have been able to turn on a setting called creator mode. It activates audience-building tools such as LinkedIn Live, audio events, and deeper post analytics. In the coming months, the company tells me, it will open those tools up to everyone, regardless of whether they turned on creator mode or not — and it will also be “investing in the tools we’ve heard in feedback that work best for sharing and building an audience.” (This wasn’t discussed on the podcast, but the company told me about it after.)

Has the algorithm hurt reach?

Since the algorithm changes began rolling out last year, many LinkedIn creators say their posts reach fewer people. One report, based on an evaluation of 1 million posts, said that reach dropped by 66% in October 2023, compared to October 2022.

Is it true? It certainly seems that way. I post on LinkedIn daily, and feel that it’s harder to gain impressions and new followers. When I polled my followers on LinkedIn about this recently, they largely felt the same:

Dan Roth, LinkedIn’s editor in chief, says he didn’t want to be “dismissive” of these concerns — but he doesn’t share them.

“Tim (Jurka) and I have been working on this together for, what is it, a decade now?” Roth says. “I can’t think of a time when someone didn’t say it was getting harder to get reach on LinkedIn.”

Instead, Roth said, LinkedIn takes a very different view on the value of “reach.” The company’s goal is to “connect the world’s professionals to economic opportunity,” but in their eyes, that doesn’t usually mean reaching the largest number of other professionals. Instead, they want to help users connect to the few people in their industry who can make a meaningful difference.

By way of example, he told a story of a nurse who recently started posting on LinkedIn — which caught the attention of their employer, who recruited that person for a larger role. “That was economic success for this person,” Roth says. “The only people that he needed to reach with this post were people who worked in this hospital.”

Yes, he acknowledged, some content creators on LinkedIn (myself included) aim to reach large audiences. But that’s a “small subset” of users. LinkedIn’s priority, he says, is building products that help the majority of its users — and those people benefit from targeted reach, not mass reach, he says.

Why LinkedIn is moving away from the term ‘creator’

LinkedIn spent the past few years courting “creators” — and actively using that term. It hosted programs to help creators, and Roth even wrote a newsletter called Creator Weekly.

But the word “creator” has been disappearing from the platform. Roth even shut down his newsletter and replaced it with one called The Insider.

Why? It’s simple, Roth says: “Our members told us that it was not something they identified with.”

“This is on me,” he continues. “I had a team focused on using the word creator. We were approaching people and the feedback we kept getting was, ‘I’m a lawyer. Why do you keep using this word creator?’ It put them off.”

That’s not to say LinkedIn is abandoning people who identify as “creators,” Roth says. But those people are only a subset of the company’s much larger user base.

Don’t take optimization hacks seriously, LinkedIn says

If you’re interested in growing your reach on LinkedIn, you’ve probably seen people posting reports about how to hack the platform’s algorithm.

These reports usually analyze large swaths of LinkedIn posts, and then draw granular conclusions — about the optimal time of day to post, optimal length of a post, how to include hyperlinks without dampening reach, and more.

Roth doesn’t mince words: “That understanding is often incorrect.”

The problem is twofold, he says. First, LinkedIn is constantly adjusting its algorithms, so signals from yesterday might not reflect the product today. But the larger issue is this: “It’s a lot of causality, but not really understanding how things work.”

He offers an example. Years ago, experts claimed that LinkedIn loved a certain style of longform writing. As a result, lots of people started writing in that long style.

But was LinkedIn actually rewarding posts in that style? No, Roth says.

“There was a button that said ‘read more,’ and when people clicked it, we were like, Well, this is a sign that people are getting knowledge out of this,” Roth says. But as LinkedIn would learn, that wasn’t true: The “read more” button just signaled that readers were curious about what came next — which didn’t necessarily mean that the post itself was valuable to them. “As soon as we realized what people were doing, and that we had incorrectly attributed the ‘read more’ button as a signal that people were getting some value out of (a post), we just stopped using that as a signal.”

Of course, the authors of these reports might beg to differ — arguing that their reports are a well-sourced snapshot of trends on the platform. But for people who want to optimize their posts, Roth offers this advice: Don’t chase trends. “If you can just share knowledge into the world, I guarantee you things are going to work out,” he says. “They won’t always work out for every single post, but over the length of your posting, it is going to work out for you.”

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