Search Engine Optimization - SEO Social Media

The Linkedin Publishing Platform and SEO: Examining 3,000 Posts to See What Works in the SERPS

Paul Sharpiro
Written by Paul Sharpiro

I recently published an analysis on OkDork, breaking down successful LinkedIn Publishing posts.

This analysis was mainly focused on how many view each post obtained.

I have a lot more data about these posts, A LOT MORE (even beyond this post).

This post will follow a similar structure as the previous post, but instead focus on the SEO value of these posts by looking at the likelyhood of them ranking in the Google SERP–looking at external backlinks.

The results end up looking very different than looking at just the views.

Let’s jump in…

1) Write for a High School Senior or College Audience

For those of you that are unaware, the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease test is a means of assessing the comprehension difficult of English text. Readers Digest for example, is know to be written in a Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score of around 65, which is considered “Standard” difficult, easily read by 13-15 year olds and by 80% of adults.

Flesch Reading Ease Score Readability Level Education Level Percentage Adults That Can Read
0-29 Very Confusing College Graduates 5%
30-49 Difficult College 30%
50-59 Fairly Difficult High School Senior 50%
60-69 Standard 13 to 15 year-olds 80%
70-79 Fairly Easy 12 year-olds 90%
80-89 Easy 11 year-olds 90%
90-100 Very Easy 10 year-olds 90%

Posts that were very easy to read may have gotten the most post views, but they seemed to have attracted the fewest number of external backlinks.

Difficult (College audience) and Fairly Difficult (High School Senior audience) to read posts attracted the greatest number of backlinks, albeit not many.

backlinks by reading ease linkedin

2) You need some images in your post

You should have at least one image in your post. I highly recommend you include one in the beginning to act as a feature image. You can easily use Canva or another service to help you out with this.

Like views, 8 images are also associated with the greatest number of average backlinks.


3) Embed 2 Pieces of Multimedia into Your Post

LinkedIn also allows you to include YouTube, SlideShare, TED, Getty, Vimeo, or Lifestream embeds.

If we were analyzing view, like in the previous post, the data would tell us not to include them in our posts, but the backlink data in this case favors 2 embeds.


4) No to How-to Posts or Question Posts!

Question Posts–LinkedIn posts where the headline poses a question perform poorly when we are looking to get views; similarly, they don’t attract backlinks.


How and How-to posts–These posts get fewer backlinks than posts that don’t start with “How” or “How to”.


Listicle posts–These posts are the only segment that seems to attract more backlinks than the typical post, but again, it isn’t many.


5) Break your post into 5 different sections

5 headings attracts the greatest number of post views AND backlinks.


6) The Optimal Word Count is…

Posts between 1900 and 2000 words got the greatest number of post view, but posts between 1100 and 1200 words got more backlinks.


7) Don’t worry; be happy

Neutral language posts tend to see more comments and post views but there isn’t much of difference between sentiment and backlink acquisition. Positive posts gotslightly more backlinks on average.


8) How long do I make my title?

80-89 character length titles receive the most backlinks on average, but I would steet myself toward shorter titles to avoid truncation in the SERPS. LinkedIn also appends “| LinkedIn” in the title tag.


In Conclusion

I’d say on average, none of these factors are great predictors of backlinks for LinkedIn Publishing posts. I’d strongly consider an outreach plan when writing on LinkedIn for SEO purposes, and linking to your main website somewhere.

Oh if you missed the original post on OkDork and want a quick run-down, check out this great infographic:

10 Data-Driven Steps To Dominate LinkedIn Publishing



About the author

Paul Sharpiro

Paul Sharpiro

Paul Shapiro is the Director of SEO at Catalyst Search Marketing. His personal blog, Search Wilderness, is loaded with actionable SEM tips and strategies. Paul is regularly featured on Search Engine Land, Okdork and Content Marketing Institute. He tweets out a ton of great SEO content too. Definitely recommend following Paul in 2015.