LinkedIn is updating its feed algorithm to include dwell time as a ranking factor.
If you’re unfamiliar with dwell time, it’s the amount of time users spend on a particular piece of content.
Let’s see how this new LinkedIn ranking factor may change the game for you.
Ranking on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has revealed details about how it ranks content in user feeds.
Any time users log into the platform, there are literally tens of thousands of potential posts that could show up in their feeds.
So how does LinkedIn determine which pieces of content go to the top and which ones are pushed lower where they’re less likely to get seen?
It all starts with what’s called a first-pass, candidate generation layer. That’s an algorithm that determines the posts that qualify for top spots.
Then, the algorithm uses other factors to determine which ones from that pool of candidates surface to the very top.
Viral Actions for LinkedIn Content Ranking
LinkedIn uses so-called “viral actions” to rank content.
Viral actions include various types of engagement such as:
But it doesn’t stop there. LinkedIn also evaluates viral actions based on the upstream or downstream effects they create.
A share, for example, creates a downstream effect because people connected to the sharer could also see the post.
A comment, on the other hand, creates an upstream effect. People connected to the post’s author will more likely see the content.
LinkedIn’s algorithm considers the likelihood of user engagement as well as downstream and upstream effects when determining rank.
Then There’s Dwell Time
There’s another factor to consider, of course. And it’s the subject of this article.
The engineers at LinkedIn realized that just relying on clicks and comments can lead to false positives when it comes to determining virality.
For example, some people who show an interest in a piece of content don’t necessarily share it or comment on it. Heck, in some cases they don’t even click a reaction.
They just appreciate what they read or watched.
Also, some folks simply click “Like” on a piece of content to get in the good graces of the post’s author. That reaction doesn’t necessarily shed light on the quality of the content.
Dwell time, on the other hand, does give us some insight about content quality.
Here’s how LinkedIn explains dwell time:
At a high level, each update viewed on the feed generates two types of dwell time. First, there is dwell time “on the feed,” which starts measuring when at least half of a feed update is visible as a member scrolls through their feed.
Second, there is dwell time “after the click,” which is the time spent on content after clicking on an update in the feed.
So it’s not a single metric. The algorithm considers pre-click dwell time in addition to post-click dwell time.
What This Means for You
It means you have your work cut out for you.
If you’ve got a circle of connections on LinkedIn who always react to your content and then scroll past it without reading anything more than the title, that’s not going to help you rank as much as it used to.
You need to create content that keeps people’s attention.
Produce videos people want to watch. Write articles with catchy headlines that keep folks reading past the fourth paragraph.
Make your content “sticky.”
That’s how you’ll rank on LinkedIn.