Many people are in LinkedIn jail but have NO idea that each day their sentence gets extended (sad but true). Knowing how to keep out of LinkedIn jail is so important.
I originally wrote this in March 2018 and will regularly update it as needed.
The algorithm beast, AI and engineering back end processes mean that content, actions and profile visibility is in incarceration mode because of how you have managed and your actions on the platform.
The LinkedIn algorithms change regularly and the way members penalised changes as does the methods of success. But the core tenets apply in how to keep out of LinkedIn Jail and steps to help you get out if have been nabbed.
If you are in jail (or on parole) your posts will be ranked at the bottom of the barrel (if off the radar) you wont maximise the algorithm content process, will be unable to connect easily and overall your visibility penalised. And that means you wont get the results you want and/or need.
There are 2 main jails cells that can impact your overall feed and engagement results on LinkedIn – Invitations & Content. Though you can be suspended or permanently removed for breaching the User Agreement.
Invitations – I don’t know you, SPAM = Connecting jail
Around connecting there are several layers of jail. Receiving a certain number if IDK responses (you will never know who has said that) when a invitation is rejected will flag SPAM. Likewise a high proportion of invitations which are not accepted flags similar concerns as does clearly large numbers of invitations (often via automated tools)
NOTE: As of April 2021 it appears that LinkedIn have put a limit on the number of Invitations allowable to be sent per week. It has been advised that the maximum allowed is only 100 per week. If this has been ignored a Notification from LinkedIn is received with potential suspension or restrictions. Ongoing breaches and you risk removal- and that will absolutely stop the spammers/paid plug in automation tools.
Official LinkedIn policy re invitations here with some valuable information. Note that I do not believe in the point re only connecting with those you already know – that is counter intuitive to the purpose of the platform.
Low Quality Content – 0-low engagement = Algorithm jail
There is a 4 step classification process which rates content and articles into Spam – Low – High quality (Image/Text/Video/Long Form/Link).
This is the chart from LinkedIn’s Engineering department showing the trail of content
Your historical data matters. Depending on the classification, content is distributed to a sample size of people in your network (circa 10- 15%). Once placed in front of these people, different actions have different weightings as to whether the post should be
- Demoted because it’s low quality
- Shown to more people because it’s high quality.
- Extra editorial review re distributing beyond initial testings
The number of connections/followers you have is also weighted against the metrics of your content. Essentially if your posts/articles have little to nil engagement – all future content goes to algorithm jail.
The quality of connections REALLY matter. High numbers of connections doesn’t always equate to higher metrics. Often it’s the reverse which impacts YOUR visibility.
DO focus on on good quality content. How to judge what is good (and its up and down with the editors) but essentially content that elicits engagement and value to the reader, opinions and sharing of ideas and values.
Do NOT engage in 3rd party automated plug in invitation/connection Apps & Tools (the SPAM and rejections are too risky). Bulk programs for 100s to 1000s of connections daily is not just ‘spray and pray’ but will damage you enormously. This is a big subject. But it can result not just in jail but LI death row (being booted off the platform) If you contravene the User Agreement 8.2 you may receive this :
Do NOT post constant self promotional content – aka advertisements for your business. This doesn’t engage and the rule should be 80% giving value on the platform. People also get weary of ‘look at me how great we are’ content
Do NOT just comment ‘Nice post, Thanks’ on other peoples posts. This is classified as LOW engagement and is held in historical data – impacting your visibility.
And EVEN WORSE, don’t use 3rd party auto robot tools and extensions to post auto responder inane comments on your behalf on posts and blogs. This also damages your brand and market respect long term – because it is evident that the comments made are non human (once you pick the pattern) and have no engagement or obvious relevance to the content itself – just the keywords being picked and flung into something quite trite.
Do NOT use 3rd party content links masquerading as your content. Original Pulse articles (blogs) are important for LI integrity. So don’t use the outsourced systems that feed keyword search articles back and auto post them. This is almost considered SPAM in LI engineering world.. This continues the jail cycle to almost ‘never to be released’. How to check if this is happening ? Just look at the comments, likes and shares metrics (which are often between 0-4) on the such Articles.
Tip: LinkedIn want engagement on Posts and hence Pulse Articles no longer get the reach and visibility as previously (though they are valuable for a range of permanent expertise references points and SEO/Google rankings). So any service that is selling campaigns that promises great results with daily Pulse articles (original or not content) wont work and downgrades the editorial reach. BUT there is workarounds here for the content Articles really are valuable BUT only when there is a link from the Posts section to Articles. We just need to tweak how we put out content and mix it up.
Do NOT use 3rd party plug ins with automated Endorsements profile captures
Update 2020 It is NOW ok to put a URL link inside a post – it is not longer is penalised as previously. Best method is the Create-Post-Edit method (create and post then edit to add in the URL link) I recommend adding only one (1) per post. Any more an you can risk a SPAM categorisation.
Check the % metrics of your content vs your connection numbers. This is critical and cull connections who are just there via 3rd party auto tools to buff up your numbers. They don’t add to yours, theirs or others content.
For example if you have a post and have 12,000 connections you would assume high engagement. BUT not necessarily if the quality of your network isn’t in tune, aligned or relevant. LinkedIn know what is happening behind and downgrade your visibility and feed of posts.
Do some metrics – its logical IF you have a highly engaged network that big connection numbers should equal big engagement (likes, shares, comments). If it doesn’t its WARNING BELLS – for LinkedIn and for potential connections if they see if there is bluster, bumped up numbers without substance.,
I have spent considerable time analysing metrics on 100’s of profiles. The results are frighteningly clear when a profile is in LI content jail. And yet people are none the wiser and are often spending $$$ for systems and tools which just extend their sentences.
LinkedIn is a science and an art – and needs strategic and thoughtful content and network management. You must keep aware of updates and observe the user agreements and algorthim changes to keep out of LinkedIn jail.
Remember prevention is always better than cure!
LinkedIn Official References