Linkedin wants to lead the pack in long-form content, introduces new SEO features.
One of the advantages of long-form social media content is that it can help experts and professionals stamp their authority on a given field. Linkedin introduced a host of new tools this week to improve the visibility and discoverability of posts — including the addition of SEO tools for articles — all part of the platform’s wider push to stamp its own authority on the social media landscape.
Articles is a feature on the LinkedIn platform that allows users to publish long-form written content directly to their profile. This content can cover any topic that aligns with fairly open content policies and guidelines. Linkedin Newsletters made a first appearance back in November 2021, providing a mechanism by which other LinkedIn members are able to publish regular and scheduled articles to a wider audience. Users who are not direct connections can still subscribe to these newsletters.
Whereas standard LinkedIn posts are limited to 1,300 characters, articles can reach up to 125,000 characters. Lengthier content is useful for professionals, entrepreneurs, and marketers looking to build their brand and connect with audiences. Businesses with a company page have been able to use the Newsletters feature since March last year. LinkedIn has even gone as far as to launch a $25 million Creator Accelerator Program to further incentivise industry leaders to build their presence on the app.
Linkedin boasts it is “the only social platform where you can publish long-form articles from your page.” That idea was challenged somewhat earlier this month when Twitter announced an extended 4,000 character limit for Twitter Blue subscribers in the US. All part of a much larger Twitter overhaul set to roll out in the coming weeks, the 280-character limit remains for non-subscribers outside the US — but even the 4,000 limit equates to a meagre 550 words.
So what exactly are the changes being rolled out at Linkedin? First and foremost, the ‘Activity’ section of profiles has been rejigged a fair bit. For those unfamiliar, this is the section that shows a timeline of a users’ recent activity on the platform, such as when they have shared or commented on a post, or when they joined a group or added a new connection. As of this week, users will be able to choose the content that appears on top. Whether articles and newsletters — or indeed image or video — you can now choose the content type your Activity section shows first.
Linkedin is making it easier for users to access the Analytics & Tools feature. This is a set of features that gives insights into users’ LinkedIn profile and helps them better understand their engagement on the platform. It isn’t a new feature per se, but has become more conspicuous. You can now simply select the analytics link at the top of their Profile, in either mobile or desktop, as long as you are in Creator Mode. It is possible to measure:
- Visitor demographics metrics like job function and location
- Engagement on your posts like impressions, clicks, and comments
- Follower growth
- Employee advocacy analytics
A ‘One-click’ Newsletter subscribe link has been added to the platform, making it easier for users to share and drive subscriptions. This is beneficial for creators given that they can schedule the publishing of newsletters. It’s all complimentary to other useful features that have been added in the last year, such as the ability to mark a conversation as starred, allowing users to bookmark certain threads and find them later.
Another improvement LinkedIn has been working is to make it easier to find all the interesting newsletters out there, offering ‘Streamlined newsletter discovery’. When you search for any newsletter author, a link to their personal newsletter will be displayed directly in the search results, along with the user’s name.
LinkedIn has for a while now included the ability to schedule the publishing of newsletters and has also added a convenient one-click subscription option.
The most intriguing addition (for us at least) is the introduction of new features to optimise articles for SEO:
“Good news! We’ve made it possible for you to customise the way your articles appear on search engines, a simple and effective way to optimise your content and get in front of the right audience.”
You can access this by going to an article you have created and clicking on the ‘Publishing menu’ in the top left corner. From there, click ‘Settings’ and you can then customise your SEO title and description that appears in searches.
Users are presented with two inputs:
- An SEO title consisting of a max 60 characters – “We’ll use your added SEO title in place of your article title for search engine result pages, such as Google search.”
- An SEO description with a max of 160 characters – “We’ll use the SEO description in place of the first few lines of your article on search engine result pages. We suggest utilizing keywords, summarizing your writing, and aiming to write between 140-160 characters.”
This is really basic SEO stuff. But it means users have more control over how their content appears on search engines, making it more discoverable to those who are interested in what they have to say.
It is a great reason to optimise Linkedin content with search engines in mind, now that Linkedin articles can so directly contribute to your discoverability online. By including relevant keywords in your articles and linking to your website or other online profiles, you can increase your online presence and make it easier for people to find you or your company when they search for topics related to your expertise.
With this drive for long-form content and SEO tools, Linkedin is expanding its scope as a long-form social media platform. Of course, other competitors are out there — not least of all, Medium. With over 60 million monthly active users, it’s arguably the dominant force in long-form social media (at least if we ignore video or podcast content). While it’s true LinkedIn primarily aims to attract business professionals, the new changes are working to close the gap. The key difference is that Medium monetises. Creators on Medium are paid based on engagement; the amount of time a reader spends actively reading a post.
LinkedIn has not arrived at that point — yet. For the time being, the direct benefits of posting long-form on the platform are difficult to quantify, but certainly profitable: build your brand, expand your network, gain influence, generate leads. SEO tools providea very welcome addition in achieving that end.
In a world where social media media users are bombarded with short-form content, long-form posts have the potential to hold readers’ attention for longer, giving the opportunity for users to share their perspectives, start conversations, and build relationships. While short and snappy content has long-dominated social feeds, over half of 16 – 35s are watching long-form content on a daily basis.
Long-form posts allow for a greater level of depth and detail than short-form posts. This allows users to provide more comprehensive information on a particular topic, share their thoughts and opinions, or tell a story in a way that is not possible with a limited word count.