In a blog post from this week, LinkedIns Chief Product Officer Tomer Cohen shares updates about the latest improvements to the platform’s search engine, accessibility features, and the content brands can share in feeds. 

Though these updates might seem scattered or disconnected, they are all united by one theme. LinkedIn is making it easier for users to find relevant and useful content, especially from brands on the platform.

Updates to LinkedIn Search

LinkedIn is expanding its search results to include news, topics, trends, and more from connections and relevant content from creators related to your search.

As Cohen explains in the blog post:

“If you’re interested in a particular topic when you search for it you’ll see the latest insights, expert opinions, and other breaking news. From finding the right people, communities, companies, jobs, or content, you can now make progress on any professional goal by simply searching for the topic you have in mind.”

The biggest change coming from this is the introduction of content from people outside your network, though the networking platform promises to only include “relevant creators.”

Additionally, the search engine is being improved to make it easier to “re-discover” posts you’ve already seen in your feed. 

Now, you can find something you’ve seen before on your Feed by searching with just the creator’s name and keywords used in their post.

Share Reviews (If You’re a Service Provider)

Any business knows the power of reviews. Up to 95% of consumers look for reviews before making a purchase, according to some estimates. Reviews also make a greater impact than most other types of content because they are authentic.

This is why LinkedIn is making it possible for the 4 million service providers on the site to share recent reviews with other users.

In a similar vein, Cohen notes service providers can also hight examples of their work in the new Featured section of the page.

Customized Referral Links For Creators

To help entrepreneurs and creators boost their visibility, LinkedIn is introducing the ability to add a link to the top of a profile to make it easier to find out more about your business or upcoming events.

With this, you can direct people checking out your content to pages about your business, upcoming events or courses you are offering, or other pages for your products or services.

Though the feature is currently only accessible to those in creator mode, Cohen does note it will be rolled out more broadly soon.

Real-Time Captions for Audio Events

Audio events have been massively popular for LinkedIn, but there has been one glaring issue: they were completely inaccessible to those with hearing impairments, or those who weren’t in an environment that allowed for listening to content.

To fix this, the platform has made real-time captions available for English-language users. This way,  your audio events can be open and relevant for all.

To find out more, read the full blog post here.

Google is giving users more significant power than ever to control what ads they see. As announced at the annual I/O Summit conference (and reported by Greg Finn), this will be done by launching a new and improved My Ad Center feature that aims to make ads more transparent and relevant for consumers.

In the new My Ad Center, users will be able to find information about who paid for a specific ad and why they were targeted to see it. Additionally, users will be able to select which brands or topics they would like to receive ads for and specify the level of personalization they are comfortable with from ads.

At the time of the announcement, the My Ad Center feature is limited to only Google Search, YouTube, and Google Discover. This means users are still largely unable to dictate what type of ads they might see in other areas of Google or through the Google Display Network, though there are rumors that similar tools are coming to manage ads being shown via the display network.

Select Your Favorite Topics and Brands

Probably the most significant new introduction in the Google My Ad Center is the ability to dictate what topics or brands you are most interested in seeing ads about. 

Of course, users may still see ads or topics not listed in this tool if Google believes it is relevant to them. Still, this gives you significant influence by directly telling the search engine what you want to see.

More Transparent Advertising

Beyond controlling the ads you see, My Ad Center also aims to give you more information about the ads being shown by expanding the previously introduced “about this ad” section. 

Here, you will find details about who paid for an ad (using Advertiser Identity Verification) and information about why Google included you in the targeting for this ad.

Ad Personalization Settings

Personalization has become increasingly common in ads over the last few years, with advertisers using details like age, relationship status, education level, and more to create, personalize, and target ads.

Now, users can opt out of this by limiting any or all details used to personalize ads.

In this section, you can also limit or allow sensitive ad topics such as gambling, alcohol, or weight loss to be shown to you.

Lastly, My Ad Center gives users control over what data sources are used to personalize ads and where (for example, allowing personalized Google Search results or YouTube recommendations). 


The new My Ad Center feature is expected to launch soon, though an exact date is unavailable.

With internet speeds constantly increasing, smartphones becoming the primary way to get online, and people’s attention spans getting shorter than ever, it is absolutely crucial that your website loads quickly. Visitors will not hesitate to click the ‘back’ button and Google has slowly made loading times one of the most important ranking signals it uses. 

At the same time, users have come to expect stylish, high-quality images from any website they visit. They don’t just want to find the best information. They want the best information in the most enjoyable package. 

This creates a catch-22 for website owners. Users want to see a page filled with great images, but they don’t want to wait for it. Unfortunately, these high-quality pictures have the tendency to slow down how quickly websites load. 

Thankfully, there are ways to mediate this by optimizing your images to make loading your web pages as efficient and quick as possible – as Alan Kent, Google Developer Advocate, shares in a recent video:

The video gets pretty in-depth at times and leans into technical details, so we will try to collect the most important tips and info below:

Google’s 6 Tips For Optimizing Online Images

1. Eliminate Image Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Don’t let the jargony name intimidate you. You have no doubt encountered CLS before, and it probably frustrated you.

CLS is where text or images move as each individual component loads. Because of this, you might have text which refuses to stay in place as you try to read it, have new images popping into place where a link was visible seconds before, or potentially open an entirely different page because a link appeared right where you were trying to swipe. 

Though this issue can affect any type of content on a webpage, images are frequently a leading culprit because of the amount of space they fill on a page. 

2. Keep Your Images Only As Large As Needed

It can be tempting to upload images in the largest size possible, to guarantee every little detail will be included without pixelation or artifacting. Some web designers see this as “future-proofing” their site or ensuring the best quality no matter how large an image is shown. 

The problem is that this can be overkill. Even when rendering an image for smaller resolutions, browsers have to download the original image and compress it to render correctly. This slows things down, as larger images take a longer time to be downloaded and rendered in the proper size for the display it is being shown on.

The complication is that displays can range wildly in size and resolution – from tiny smartphones to gigantic monitors. That makes it hard to identify exactly when an image becomes “too large.” 

The easiest way to find this out is by checking out the Opportunities section in the PageSpeed Insights report, under ‘properly sized images’. Here you’ll see which images are larger than they need to be so you can replace them with more properly sized alternatives.

3. Use The Best Image Format

Which file format you choose to save your images in might seem like a minor choice, but it can have major effects on loading speeds. At the same time, choosing the right image format isn’t always as simple as choosing the one which outputs the smallest file.

While formats like JPEG or webP tend to deliver smaller file sizes from the same initial image, they do so by compressing the image. This compression subtly degrades the quality of the image to minimize file size. 

On the other hand, larger file formats like PNG can preserve fine details to maintain the original quality of an image, though this results in larger files. 

In many cases, your visitors may not notice the difference between a PNG or JPEG, making the smaller file the obvious choice. However, more complex images or very large images may look noticeably worse in small formats.

To identify images that may not be in the most efficient format for your site, check out the ‘serve images in next-gen formats’ section of the PageSpeed Insights report.

4. Compress Images Properly

While file formats have a big impact on how large your image files are, most formats allow you to dictate just how much compression occurs. If you’d like, you can prioritize preserving detail while receiving a slightly larger file, or you can prioritize getting the smallest file at the cost of the image quality. 

To figure out what is best for your website, you can explore the ‘encode images efficiently’ section of the PageSpeed Insights report. Here, you’ll find details about images that may benefit from being compressed and how much this might shrink image files. 

5. Cache Images In The Browser

Caching is a process browsers use where they temporarily store images or details from your website to s[eed up the loading process on related pages or if they return to your site. 

If you do this, however, it is important for you to tell the browser how long it should keep these cached images This is done through an HTTP response header containing guidance on how to handle cached files and images. 

If you’re unsure whether you’ve properly configured this header, you can also find details about this in the PageSpeed Insights report, within the ‘serve static assets with an efficient cache policy’ section. 

6. Correctly Sequence Image Downloads

By default, web browsers wait to load details until they are absolutely needed. This is a practice called “lazy loading” that allows browsers to focus on the details you’re most likely to be focused on at the moment. This is not always the best process for loading larger files like images or videos, though. 

To get around this, Google recommends establishing the sequencing order some parts of your site are downloaded and rendered by browsers. 

Specifically, Google recommends using the following sequencing order:

  • “Hero Images” at the top of the page
  • Above the fold images
  • Images just below the fold

After this, Kent says most other images can be lazy-loaded without an issue. 

Again, you’ll be able to find an assessment of how efficiently you are loading images on your website within the PageSpeed Insights report, under ‘defer offscreen images‘. 

For more, be sure to watch the 14-minute long video above or explore more SEO news and tips here.

The way we use keywords for search engine optimization (SEO) has changed quite a bit since the early days of Google. Instead of stuffing pages with obvious keyword spam, SEO success is more about delivering content that is useful and interesting for your ideal customers. One thing that hasn’t changed during all that time, however, is the importance of keyword research.

Keyword research has similarly grown and evolved throughout the years, but attentive brands will know that keyword research has consistently been a huge factor in their online success since the creation of search engines.

What Is Keyword Research?

The idea behind keyword research has always been basically the same. The practice is all about identifying the actual keywords people are using to find your website and websites like yours.

With most modern tools, you can not only identify these keywords, but also assess their overall popularity, how difficult it would be to rank for these terms, and more.

Essentially, by looking at the terms people are already using to find you (and which popular search terms you’re missing out on, you learn what your customers are really looking for to best deliver it.

With this information, you can develop strategies focused on reaching the most effective audiences for your brand.

Keyword research also lets you identify emerging opportunities, set important benchmarks for your SEO efforts, and measure the success of your optimization.

Lastly, keyword research gives you the chance to check your own assumptions using real-world data. Often, brands quickly discover their top keywords are entirely different than assumed.

How To Use Your Keywords

Once you’ve identified the most important keywords for your brand, it’s time to actually start targeting these terms.

In the dark ages of SEO, targeting keywords meant seeing how many times you could fit a word into a piece of text. Whether the rest of the content was relevant, well-written, or just a string of gibberish were secondary concerns, at best.

This meant Google would think the page was full of great information about that topic and place you high in the search results!

Google’s systems have gotten exponentially more complex over the years. These days, the search engine uses machine learning to better understand the content they index and the intent behind search terms. 

Pages can (theoretically) rank well for keywords despite not using them anywhere on their site since Google can understand how the page is relevant to the keyword topic.

Of course, it is better to still strategically place keywords you are targeting on the pages on your site and the content you share. But, the most important thing now is simply delivering the best resources for the keywords you want to rank for. 

While this may seem like it has decreased the importance of keywords, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. These days, this insight helps you spot new shifts in your industry, brainstorm the best content for your potential customers, and set the most relevant goals for your SEO efforts.

Despite Google being very clear about its feelings on paying for SEO links (hint: it is not a fan), I still regularly come across stories of brands spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on links that promise to increase their rankings.

Typically, these individuals have heard success stories from others who had recently bought a ton of SEO backlinks and saw their own site jump to the top of search results. Unfortunately, this is rarely the end of the story. 

Today, I wanted to highlight a more complete example of what happens when you pay for links and why.

The Full Story of Someone Who Spent $5,000 on SEO Links

In this instance, I came across someone who had spent thousands of dollars on links for SEO purposes through Search Engine Journal’s “Ask an SEO” column. In the most recent edition of this weekly article, a person named Marlin lays out their situation.

“I paid over $5,000 for SEO link building.”

From the outset, it is unclear if Marlin knew exactly what they had gotten into. While it is possible they directly purchased links from a website, there is also the potential that Marlin and their company put their trust in a questionable marketing agency that purchased or generated spammy links to “boost” rankings.

This is important because it is very common for online SEO packages to include “link building services” which are actually accomplished through link farms that will inevitably be identified and shut down. This is why it is crucial to know that the people handling your link-building efforts use proven, Google-approved strategies rather than cutting corners.

“At first, traffic was boosted.”

As promised, the initial result of buying links is frequently a quick spike in your search engine rankings. Even better, this payoff seems to come much more quickly than the rankings boosts seen from traditional link-building efforts. In some cases, you might even get a huge boost to your rankings within a week or two of paying for the service!

However, the story isn’t over.

“We then lost our rankings on those keywords and our traffic is gone!”

Despite the initially promising results, this is the inevitable conclusion of every story about paying for links.

In the best-case scenario, Google simply ignores your newly acquired low-quality links – putting you right back where you started. In some cases, depending on how widespread the link scheme appears to be, you can wind up even worse than when you began.

If Google believes you have a persistent habit of trying to manipulate search rankings, your site may receive a penalty that significantly impairs your rankings. In the worst cases, your site can be removed from search results entirely.

Why Paid Links Inevitably Fail

There is a very simple reason this story followed a predictable pattern. Google explicitly forbids any sort of “unnatural links” or link schemes. Additionally, the search engine has invested huge amounts of time and resources to identify these artificial links.

At the same time, Google is locked into a game of whack-a-mole where new link sellers are popping up all the time – which is why their links may help your rankings for a very short time.

In SEO, shortcuts are rarely as great as they appear. If you’re looking for long-term, sustainable success, the only option is to roll up your sleeves and build links the old-fashioned way: by creating great content and building real relationships with other members of your industry.

It won’t be quick and it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the long run.