8 Powerful Tested Ways to Optimize Your Linkedin Profile

by Gabe Villamizar

gabe-villamizarBased on his years of experience in testing and optimizing, Gabe Villamizar shares practical tips on how to optimize your Linkedin profile for searchability and for relevancy. Specifically, you will learn the following:

  • Why having the same name on every social network matters
  • Don't forget the Headline and Job Title - they matter
  • Your Contact Information - how to optimize the piece on your profile most often ignored

About Gabe Villamizar

Gabe Villamizar has over 8 years of related work experience in marketing strategy, social media marketing, and social selling lead generation in multiple industries. He has extensive multi-cultural experience with the ability to develop and implement new SaaS social marketing tactics to build strong B2B relationships and generate targeted leads. Gabe Villamizar is well known for the ability to think creatively, adapt quickly, and take on a leadership role.

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Webinar Transcript

All right everybody, welcome to the Social Selling Summit. This is Gabe Villamizar Social Media Marketing Manager at HireVue. I do not have anybody that is going to introduce me so I think I am going to introduce myself. Before I do so, I wanted to cover real fast what I’m going to be talking about to you guys today. We are going to be talking about eight tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile. I have been doing this for a few years now. I found out a few tricks, a few tips I think that are going to be very useful to all of you who are listening to this whether it is live or on demand. Last but not least, again this is my face and this is what I look like. If you have any questions during this presentation or after the presentation, feel free to hit me up via Twitter, that is the fastest way to get a hold of me these days, @gabevillamizar.  

Okay, let's move on here. All right. So, some of my background, currently, as I mentioned earlier today, I work for HireVue. It is a talent interaction platform in video technology. We use video technology to analyze voice, body language and kind of help train inside sales rep with that data with personal analytics same for hiring and same for learning so it is a very up and coming new technology. Before joining HireVue, eight months ago, I kind of built a foundation of social selling at InsideSales.com with Ken Krogue. I worked very close with the President and founder of InsideSales.com, like I said it’s Ken Krogue. Previous to that I worked for Southwest Airlines at the marketing team [audio cuts off]. 

So okay enough about me and let's talk about how you guys can optimize your LinkedIn profile. Before I jump in, why is optimization important, right? What happens is you have a lot of people who are trying to do the same thing who are trying to rank high on Google and are trying to rank high on LinkedIn. Well, there are certain tricks that I found out through testing through trial and experience that are going to help you rank higher so that way you get more visibility and more visibility leads to more trust and more trust leads to more sales or building your network. The way you succeed in these days right is by creating a bigger network and become a thought leader with that network or just be well known in your industry as a thought leader. 

So, tip number one, your first name. I'm not sure if a lot of you know this but my full name is actual Gabriel Villamizar. When we moved to the United States about 10 to 12 years ago, I noticed that Gabriel is a female name, Gabriel. So I'm like screw this, I am going to go by Gabe. Some people call me Gabey, if we are really tight. But what happened was when I was in college and I was looking for a job, one of the recruiters told me . . . obviously he googled me when I was applying for that position, and the recruiter told me "Dude, are you a magician on the side because I keep seeing that you do magic shows and whenever I Google your name, this magician in Columbia keeps popping up, so I'm wondering if you do magic shows on the side?" So, I'm like "Dude, heck no, that's not me, I know." So after he told me that it kind of opened my eyes that there is another Gabriel Villamizar who is ranking higher than I was and is lowering my chances of getting job and is lowering my chances of kind of putting my imprint out on the internet.  

So I was like I am going to take charge of my name. So from now on I am Gabe everywhere, meaning from now on like three or four years ago. I can make sure that my name was consistent in every single platform not just LinkedIn and not just on Twitter, on Facebook, on Snapchat on Slideshare. So meaning that what that does is it connects the dots, okay, so that Google will see okay this is the Gabe Villamizar here on LinkedIn here is a Gabe Villamizar on Twitter, on Facebook, etc. If your name is Michael but you go by Mike. I highly recommend that you put your name as Mike in every single platform because if you think about it, if you are a sales guy and you are on the phone and you tell the customer that your name is Mike well that person is probably going to look for you under Mike. What is going to happen is if he can't find you, you might not become as credible as you sounded all over the phone. So make sure that you are easily found by making sure that what you say over the phone and what you are known as is the same name that is on every [audio cuts off]. 

All right, moving on here. All right, so like I said as you can see here, Gabe Villamizar, that is what is going on as you can see there that is the name that is going to be showing up. I should have showed this slide earlier. All right, moving on here. The second optimization tip is your headline and job title. So, what does that mean? Well, there are two different ways you can do this, number one [audio cuts off] narrative and I am going show you how you can do this. Koka Sexton, he is a friend of mine, he is really good at making your title like a story and stands out very nicely. So for example [audio cuts off] easier, he has been transforming the way companies do business through social and content marketing. But what that does, it kind of flows very smoothly, it kind of stands out and it's different right.  

I see his title as narrative and I highly recommend doing it that way. Now I like to do mine a little bit different, I don't think there is no right or wrong way I just wanted to show you a more descriptive way. So as you can see here, my Social Spelling Influencer, Social Media Marketing Manager, Social Audience Development at HireVue. So what happens here is I am trying to rank specific keywords on Google and on LinkedIn so when people are typing "social spelling,” "social media" or "social audience" etc. I want my name to come up at the very top of the Google search engine as well as the page. Okay, so very simple, please do not have it just your title that you were given at your company. Sometimes companies give their workers super cheesy titles or titles that you could care less. Make sure it is either one, descriptive and that is different than what you have or it's narrative like Koka Sexton. 

Okay so tip number three, we are going to cruise through these because there are eight of them and I know I have half an hour but if I can do it in less it would be better because a lot of inside sales guys here including myself are ADD. So customize your LinkedIn, so the way you do that is by. . . let me go to my next slide, well, first of all LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to customize your LinkedIn URL by default, it gives you a bunch of numbers and characters that are just randomized. Well, the importance of actually changing it to your first and last name is very important because you are telling Google that you are this person. So you can see here on the screen it’s linkedin.com/in/gabevillamizar. So if you are Mike Jones you should probably quote yours as Mike Jones, but more likely that is going to be taken, okay. So let me go to my next slide here.  

So what happens if your first and last name are taken? I highly recommend that you go last name, first name first or last name, middle initial, first name and vice versa. First name, middle initial, last name. The last thing you want to do is tell Google or tell the internet that you are someone who doesn't represent who you are. So, if you go by a nickname nobody wants to know that and no one is going to find you by a nickname. So what happens here is you want to make sure again is to have a main consistency in every platform that you are including on your public profile's URLs. As you can see here on my slide, all you have to do is go to LinkedIn.com, click on edit and then what is going to happen is you click on public profile URL and then on a red circle as I have indicated you are able to change it. If it is red and taken, again try a different name and try to stay away from numbers and try to stay away from words that are not going to be easily found by others.  

All right, moving on here. Tip number four, update your contact info. So, I am not sure you know this, is LinkedIn actually has a contact info section and what that does is it makes it so that you are found easier because you’re complete in your profile. Also it makes it higher likelihoods for social SEO. Okay, so I am going to show you what that looks like. It is very tricky sometimes to get to it but LinkedIn is getting a lot better showing you as they add more stuff to it. So for example here, contact info, there is a tab. When you are logged into your LinkedIn profile there is a relationships tab and there is a contact info tab. Click on your contact info tab and a whole new section comes up as you can see you can put your email, you can put your birth date, your phone, your address, your LinkedIn, Twitter and website.  

For email, I now have a lot of email here, I didn't actually update this, I thought I did. I just highly recommend you put the email you are currently working with so that is the one you are found by. You also want to be found by your previous emails. Then your phone number, I recommend you put the phone number you want people to contact you at. Again, the way I am seeing this is, it seems to me that I get more profile views or I have a more "complete profile" the more information I get to LinkedIn the more information I get to Google. So please don't leave any of these blank if you want to be fully optimized.  

So then, the address, I put the same address that's found for LinkedIn on Google for higher views so I copy and paste that in there. Then your LinkedIn, as you can see the linkedin.com/in/gabevillamizar. Then my Twitter, I have a team, well I have Aaron that helped me with the Twitter account as well but at Twitter @HireVue and at my personal handle. I believe now you can add more than one handle if you do manage more than one handle, make sure to put it in there. It looks very good as well.  

Then website, this is one of the most important pieces for this whole thing because you can have multiple websites. They actually added more now. It used to be you could only add four. I think you can add two more because you can see there are two other personal websites for stuff like that. I highly recommend that you put any other websites so that you create a back-link strategy or linking strategy, hyperlinking. Or any other social media networks. Google+ is very high as you can see there for social SEO meaning to rank high. Because at the end of the day if you put on your Google+ profile your LinkedIn URL and there on your LinkedIn URL you put your Google+ profile link then you are making it easier for Google to find and to know who you are and that you are the real Mike Jobs or the real Gabe Villamizar.  

You are competing here for exposure and optimization. Again, the more you complete the better. So I highly recommend that you put your company's web page number one, number two your Google+, number three you do their company blog or your personal blog, number four your personal website if you have one. And if you don't have your URL secure yet please stop what you are doing right now. Go to GoDaddy or Blue Coat and buy your own freakin' domain. Your first and last name, I bought gabevillamizar.com and gabrielvillamizar.com so the magician would stop beating me. Anyhow, so that way you secure your online property, your online real estate of who you are and what you can do. So that is it for I guess your contact info, pretty easy and pretty spread right there in your face but a lot of people just don't take advantage of it to the max.  

Moving on here. Profile Summaries. Profile Summaries, how this works, is the following. I like to write in third person and like to focus on keywords. Now this is all to what your strategy is. There is no right or wrong way. I hate it when people say "Gabe why are you doing it just like this? You are doing it wrong" and I'm like "What does wrong on LinkedIn even mean? I mean what are you talking about?" So it's all about what your strategy and what your goal is and what you are trying to accomplish with LinkedIn. A lot of people see LinkedIn as just strictly a recruiting and interviewing platform. Or a place to be found if you are looking only for a job.  

Well if you are thinking that you may want to rethink the way you think and change a little bit of the way you think by just thinking "Okay well this isn't just a recruiting platform or a place where recruiters can find me. This should also be a huge way to sell to other people; this could be a way to expand my network to grow and to learn from others." So, if you see it like that and you want to be found then you might want to write your LinkedIn summary in third person. Let me show you how, go up there to the next slide. The reason for that is because, if you can see here in my summary, instead of saying I have five years or related work experience or he or whatever. I want Google to still communicate and see that I am the Gabe Villamizar right and you don't want to do keyword stuffing all over your profile.  

Meaning that you can put "Oh, if I put my name Gabe Villamizar 20 times on my profile, then Google is going to definitely know because it is going to scan through their Google crawlers my profile" and they are going to be like "Oh this is the Gabe Villamizar because he included it 20 times in his profile.” That's not my point, my point is you just want to have your name anywhere from two to four times . . . I would say use it three times, three times in your whole profile. So that way, if you want to rank really high on Google and I’ll link you for your name, then you have a higher likelihood that your profile is going to come up to the very top of the search result engine.  

So what I like to do here, if you can see it, is I put Gabe Villamizar has five years of related work experience in marketing strategies, social media marketing, business analysis in multiple industries. I am not going to read the rest but if you can see here, just this paragraph alone took me about an hour to an hour and a half to construct because I was looking for certain keywords that I wanted to also rank for. Meaning, I wanted to also make sure that I rank for marketing strategy, social media marketing, business analysis. I also wanted to rank for B2B, I wanted it to rank for SaaS, okay. At the bottom I put specialties, as you can see there for specialties, I wanted to also rank for the keywords that I have included, social media, content, strategy, social SEO. So make sure your summary. . . you know, it depends, you know, if you are really trying to rank your name, okay, and have more visibility. 

I am coming from experience here, I am not saying that this is the only right way, but if you really want to do that, I highly recommend that you type of yourself as the third person and you also need keywords that way you are more likely to be seen. This has worked for me, I have been doing this for several years now and this is what is working currently. This might change but it's working right now so I highly recommend you do so. If you want you can use this as a template, copy and paste my paragraph and change it with your own personal keywords if that makes it easy on you.  

All right so, moving on here let’s talk about Rich Media. So like I was saying earlier your LinkedIn profile is not just a place where you are found by recruiters it is not that. So you can add images, videos and slideshares make sure your profile is not just boring. What I mean by boring just keywords, and I'm sorry not just words but just paragraph and endless words and countless words right because nobody likes to read a resume. Nobody likes to just read long, you know strands of somebody's LinkedIn profile. I mean the chances of somebody reading every word by word of your LinkedIn profile by a recruiter are very, very low. So what you want to do is make sure that you add images, video or slideshares that spices things up and makes it more pleasing to the eye to see something that the user can then click on. Okay so that you get a better idea of who you work for you get a better idea of who you are and what you want to do and what you have accomplished so far.  

So what does this look like? I know some of you have already done this if not, take advantage of adding a rich media to your past positions, current positions and your summary. So as you can see here I have added a PDF that says "HireVue the future of recruiting" is here and then I have added a slideshare of HireVue the company overview. So as people scroll down through my profile, what I wanted them to do is for them to click on. I wanted them to see little images, to see a well design instead of just word by word one right after the other. So, make sure you do that, make sure you can easily do this I mean, I can't show you right now, but if you click edit and we’ll square it with a plus. You should be able to add again I said videos, either Vimeo, YouTube, whatever [audio breaks up].  

So add work skills, it's very important, it's very great the way it works. Let me show you here how I have to focus on three things right. Oh, I'm sorry I mean one thing. Focus a lot on keywords you kind of have to endorse others to be endorsed. It's just the same way you make friends. You can't just expect everybody to come to you and expect everything to be super easy and everybody is going to endorse you automatically just because they love you. Okay, so how can they love you if they don't know you exist? You have to come outside of your bubble and start endorsing others. Now you have to do this genuinely because there is nothing more creepy than getting an endorsement from somebody that you don't even know and you are like holy crap where did that come from? That you’ve learned only from social marketing.

I don't even know you and I don't even know how you know that that I am even good at that but thanks anyway. My point here is when you want to do this you want to add at least 10 skills. Focus on keywords that you want to be known and found for so again because I am in a B2B SaaS space and because I am currently a social media marketing manager and that is where I am heading down in my career. I have feel wonderful on social media marketing, lead generation, marketing SEO leadership, do analytics, Facebook etc. So what I want to do here is I want to make sure that I have most of my keywords at the top. As you can see here some of us have 99+ endorsements or more it just kind of gets a plus.  

Believe it or not, you can rearrange where these skills are at on the location of your LinkedIn profile. By default I think they are more towards the bottom. But If I really want to prove a point that I'm legit or if you really want to prove a point that you are legit and you want to show the whole world that what you are doing is cool and that you are credible and they shouldn't just take your word but they should take other peoples word. Then what you want to do then is grab this and put it at the top. That's what I did. If you want to do it there, great. If you are not there yet because you are not proud of your top skills, I don't care. I am just saying that is what worked for me.  

So what you want to do there is endorse others, start with people in the company colleagues, people you have worked with in the past. Endorse them for skills that you know they are good at. The next thing you know they will get a notification most likely on their phone, tablet, Smartphone, desktop, laptop, whatever. They will most likely reciprocate. I don't have a specific statistic on this. I am just telling you, speaking from experience, when I endorse my people out of those five usually two or three endorse me back. So when I was really trying to test to see how this would work about a year or two a year ago. I started endorsing two or three people a day that I knew. Not just random people but people that I connected with but people that I knew that were really good at certain skills. 

The next thing you know, I was getting endorsed every single day by people that I endorsed back and by people I haven't even endorsed. Now, I am not sure how it works, I don't know how LinkedIn's algorithm works with this. It seems like, the more you endorse the more people endorse you because you are helping them to drive traffic back to LinkedIn. LinkedIn loves when people come back to the platform. That helps them out a lot. Think about it, they want to show you advertising, they want to show you certain things, right. So by endorsing other people you are helping LinkedIn get their goal of bringing you back to their platform.  

Maybe that, right? Whenever you endorse, your face comes up on the quadrants [audio breaks up]. I believe that that the more you endorse people the more your face is going to come up on those random quadrants when other people endorse you. So that is literally the only way that I can think of how you would get to 99+. Besides, you know, doing this for a few years and teaching people, right. I am sure I taught a lot of these people about social selling and social media and that is why they endorse me. Other people that I have come in contact with that we've met that I haven't really had very much time to chat with about these skills have also endorsed me so that is the only thing I can think of.  

So yeah, s that is skills, make sure you have at least ten skills and if they are not related to your current position, [audio cuts off] up and down. 

Update Work Experience, okay again use keywords you want to be different. You don't want to be boring you want to quantify, I mean people love to see numbers and percentages and things of that nature. You want to use keywords because keywords again it's just going to help you rank higher on Google and on LinkedIn but you don't want to over use those keywords.  

All right, so next, let me see if it's loading. We’ll just load here, all right. So, as you can see here, I haven't done it yet for my HireVue position, but before coming to HireVue I told like I mentioned earlier and you can see here, I have in a bullet point list, you can either do it in a bullet point list or I prefer bullet point list. I know that people are not going to read all of these bullets. But again I am going for keyword strategy. I have managed inside sales, social media strategy and marketing efforts including blah, blah, blah. Utilized social media channels and engaged with over 60,000 plus followers and subscribers that have been inside sales. So, again, make sure that you keep these up to date, insert keywords and add rich media and here is what it is going to look like. I think this is a pretty good example here.  

When people recommend you, I didn't really cover that, but when people recommend you what is going to happen is it’s going to pop on here. You want to recommend others if you want to be recommended. Some people are going to recommend you such as Dave Elkington who is the CEO of InsideSales.com. Randomly, even though I know him, we are tight. I have never endorsed him, I didn't even know that he knew me for a while. I was out there for almost close to two years but then we got tight. Then all of the sudden he gave me a LinkedIn recommendation. I was like "holy crap that is freakin' awesome.” Not everyone is going to be as nice as him. You sometimes have to recommend others. That is when the magic is going to happen. [Audio cuts off]  

If have a question, please feel free to again, hit me up on Twitter@gabevillamizar. These are the top eight optimization tips that I have seen. I have tested these and have firsthand experience. I know they work. I get hundreds of views per week organically on my LinkedIn profile. I'm ranking very high if you Google me on Google for Gabe Villamizar. My LinkedIn profile is going to come to the very top. [Audio breaks up] you googled your name, right? When was the last time you tried to find yourself on LinkedIn from a closed account or from Safari not Safari if you have Chrome and you do a new window and search for your name on Google and see what comes up. Sometimes it is pretty astonishing and you are like "holy crap" and sometimes you have a really common name and it's really hard and may not be possible. If you have a pretty unknown name, like me, or if you have a pretty uncommon name. Try to stand out with optimization and keywords then you are going to rank pretty high and you are going to get more visibility that way.  

Thank you so much for tuning in. We have a lot of other great sessions coming up. Don't forget to check it out and this conversation going on with [audio cuts off]. I want to help you guys do better. So that's it, have a good one, peace out.