Back in June, Google joined the ranks of top job sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor with Google for Jobs to provide a simple way - right in search results - for candidates to review positions scraped from an ever-expanding list of job sites. Needless to say, the announcement has some job sites (and even employers) scrambling.
For top employers, however, it should serve as a reminder. Data show that organizations that invest in a cohesive, streamlined candidate experience improve their quality of hires by up to 70 percent (source: Glassdoor). As search is one of the primary discovery pathways for job seekers (approx. 650,000 searches each month contain the words “jobs” or “careers”), placing a laser focus on what appears in results, and how people engage with that content, will pay back in dividends.
Here are five SEO tips to consider for a best-in-class talent acquisition and attraction program:
1. Prioritize Search Data Over the Sensational
Data show that queries performed by job seekers are most often a combination of company name, function/role and location (e.g., web developer amazon, santa clara google jobs). So while “Head Wizard of Content Strategy” might sound exciting, it likely won’t drum up much visibility among prime candidates in search engines. Sensational language is essential to piquing and building interest, but language aligned with how candidates search will ultimately generate more quality applicants.
2. Build Equity for Your Employer Brand
While important, don’t focus all of your time on optimizations for job listings. They may help for a specific role, but any equity built in search for your website is gone as quickly as the requisition is taken down. You need evergreen content that aligns with search data on the most popular types of jobs aligned with your organization’s workforce plan. Prioritize your effort where the largest volume or most difficult to fill roles lie. Be sure to capitalize on high search volumes for emerging areas like artificial intelligence and cloud computing!
3. Shape Your Reputation with Search Results
In a recent article, we recognized the importance of a positive portrait of your company through third-party sites. Google’s recent update to now include star ratings from sites like Glassdoor only emphasizes the point that search results can make or break your reputation as an employer of choice. Companies should think more broadly about the effect of all potential sites that appear in search results, such as bad press stemming from a layoff announcement or a blog post from a disgruntled candidate. By regularly engaging through social media channels, publishing often through a company blog and actively monitoring and moderating feedback received on third party sites, you’ll create a more positive, cross-channel search experience for candidates.
4. Leverage Alternative Search Engines
When forming a strategy for where and how you’ll optimize job listings, think about both primary (Google) and vertical (Indeed) search engines. All too often companies don’t realize the opportunity through sites geared toward niche career areas. Which vertical search engines make sense though? If hiring for retail positions, consider sites like CareerBuilder and even Craigslist. Looking for technologists? Stack Overflow and GitHub can prove fruitful.
5. Measure for Impact
There are varying levels of sophistication and investment for SEO measurement tools. And while the platforms with larger price tags can provide immense value, there are plenty of ways you can at least directionally begin to gauge success. Before you enact any of the suggestions above, create a baseline by performing a branded “careers” and “jobs” search for your company. Ask yourself, “would the mix of listings reinforce my company’s reputation as a top employer?”
As you look to expand your measurement and reporting, consider Google Search Console, as well as tapping your website team to automate a monthly SEO report with key metrics like site traffic, clicks and click-through rate.
Frances Williamson is an SEO manager, Digital, Edelman Atlanta.
Andrew Moon is a digital strategist, Digital, Edelman Atlanta.