LinkedIn is the strongest social media platform for B2B businesses, ahead of Twitter and Facebook by a wide margin. This shouldn’t be surprising as the leading industry publications have linked to articles on LinkedIn more often than those linked on other platforms.
This increase in popularity is due to LinkedIn taking responsibility to maintain a professional environment. One way of achieving this is how they rank content. Leveraging LinkedIn’s organic ranking algorithm means understanding how they rank content. You should do this even if you aren’t trying to optimize traffic from LinkedIn directly. The benefit is that it will help you understand how other platforms rank content (a process called transfer learning).
The LinkedIn ranking algorithm is referred to as an “organic” algorithm, and it has a good amount of inputs that affect its rankings.
It appears that LinkedIn ranks content by looking at what is currently popular on LinkedIn (the hottest topics), how current and evergreen content performs relative to the rest of the LinkedIn network. It goes beyond views by taking engagement from people with a connection to you.
This last part is important – LinkedIn wants users to be connecting, finding new connections, and sharing content among their professional circles.
In addition to learning how LinkedIn ranks content, it will also teach you why certain types of content perform better on LinkedIn than others. Since LinkedIn doesn’t have explicit categories for their content you’ll want to segment LinkedIn’s content into relevant, interest categories and then leverage LinkedIn search to find examples of related content. You can pull LinkedIn search queries from the LinkedIn help section (there are not that many different types of searches), or look closely for patterns in high performing, organic articles.
From there, it’s simple – replicate the process that generated the result on LinkedIn. Replicate that content marketing process yourself in your own area of expertise. Emulating what works on LinkedIn is only part of the battle. Once you succeed with an article strategy, you will want to ensure those articles remain successful over time.
LinkedIn “A/B tests” tests its best performing pieces every month by removing the content from LinkedIn for 30 days to see what will happen. To be clear, LinkedIn didn’t call this an “A/B test”. They simply monitor the performance of the top LinkedIn pieces for commonalities (e.g. more inbound links than normal) that may indicate users are visiting LinkedIn pieces outside of LinkedIn to read them and then coming back to LinkedIn.
To do this you can use LinkedIn’s “share feature”. This is where LinkedIn first identifies your content as high-quality and recommends it for people to share with others (via email or social media). If you see a spike in shares on LinkedIn without any other changes (more traffic, different types of external links, etc) LinkedIn will know it’s because you’re getting linked to on external websites and content that’s not LinkedIn related.
You can use LinkedIn’s share feature by manually sharing your own articles or by using a link shortener with tracking (e.g. bitly). Monitoring it over a few days with MoSCoW prioritization is probably the simplest way to do this. If you have more time than money and want to get super granular, LinkedIn provides you ways (albeit manual ones) of tracking which content gets shared most often on LinkedIn without allowing any changes outside of LinkedIn itself.
This means, even if you have a huge outreach team to help guide your inbound traffic towards LinkedIn, your LinkedIn data will still be helpful in booking organic traffic – LinkedIn takes into account how often LinkedIn users are sharing your content. So the more LinkedIn users share your content will cause LinkedIn to see it as high quality and performance worthy.
This is why leveraging LinkedIn to help spread your content should be part of any content marketing strategy – getting LinkedIn users to share your articles for you isn’t just giving LinkedIn free content (which they’re okay with sometimes), but also helps you get more exposure on one of the largest professional networks in the world. It’s simple math too – LinkedIn has over 350 million active members that by definition means 350 million people have connection profiles linked-to each other. LinkedIn’s search feature helps them find the right people to share content with, which is why LinkedIn organic articles are so linked-to in the first place.
Aside from that linked-to keyword phrase strategy, LinkedIn also serves as a way of further optimizing your SEO for long-tail keywords (as opposed to getting traffic from singular keywords) – one method LinkedIn uses is it having their authors include certain tags and categories within their LinkedIn content. This encourages more LinkedIn users to search for those associated terms.This means if you optimize your content for specific types of searches on LinkedIn, it’ll be easier for LinkedIn readers to find your content using LinkedIn’s search feature than simply trying to type out what they’re looking for.
Here’s a quick example LinkedIn article:
Keyword phrases to include in your LinkedIn content (all of this content can be found by searching LinkedIn):
– mid-market businesses that offer local customers the best experience on LinkedIn are 2x more likely to retain their top talent – LinkedIn survey, 2021
This is an example of leveraging linked-to keyword phrases within LinkedIn (optimizing your SEO) creating a network effect where LinkedIn users will find your content easier by using LinkedIn’s search feature and may also share it with others without you having to do anything. This makes it more sustainable than simply using an external link- building tactics for organic traffic as a one time boost. LinkedIn organic traffic can be an ongoing source of targeted inbound linked-to traffic you’re getting for free from LinkedIn itself.
Here’s another LinkedIn article example:
Keyword phrases to include (all of this content can be found by searching LinkedIn):
– networking events on LinkedIn are becoming more like dating apps – LinkedIn report , 2021. #datingapps #midmarket #networkingevents @LinkedIn
This one is a bit more advanced than the last one, but helpful in getting your articles shared if you have a lot of followers and connections on LinkedIn. It provides a different way to approach covering various industries with content marketing on LinkedIn. A big benefit LinkedIn provides is the ability to find mid-sized business owners and decision makers who are linked-to each other as well as help them target verticals, in a unique way, by optimizing content for LinkedIn’s search feature to connect with potential customers.
We also offer personal branding, so contact us if you have any questions regarding this organic traffic source.
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