Research shows that many job seekers interact with employers online because they want to learn more about available job opportunities. While that’s good news when you have open positions to fill, you still have to be found. Enter SEO.
Most recruiting departments aren’t thinking about search engine optimization (SEO) when they develop online job postings. Instead, the focus is on describing the position and primary responsibilities, along with the core skills required for the job. Once completed and approved by legal, HR and whoever else, the job opening is posted online.
Using Recruitment SEO to Improve Targeted Exposure
With billions of searches performed online every month, chances are your career opportunities get plenty of exposure. Job seekers are motivated and searching, but if the search traffic isn’t carefully targeted, it provides little value to you. This is when having some SEO knowledge is beneficial. Follow these three SEO principles to increase targeted traffic to your careers site:
1. Spend time developing your “off page” influence. When most people think of SEO, they focus on the content being put on their website. But much of what determines your search engine ranking happens off the page, in the form of backlinks or inbound links from other websites. When other, more trusted and authoritative websites link to your page, it naturally increases your search rank authority.
For example, .edu and .gov are among the top most-trusted and authoritative domains on the Web. Receiving inbound links from these domains can help build your page’s ranking.
2. Focus on needs and desires of your target audience. To increase natural links to your website, you must offer content that provides compelling value and benefits to the user. That means taking off your HR/recruiting hat and standing in the shoes of your ideal job candidate to develop a posting that accurately describes the opening but also uses language that is friendly and relevant to them.
This is critical when optimizing your careers site because you’ll be able to use the keywords your target candidates are most likely searching to find your page.
3. Make effective use of title, meta description, content, keywords and links. There are five core elements of a quality website: title, meta description, content, keywords and outbound links. The title should include keywords, preferably in the beginning. Likewise, use keyword phrases in your meta description, which should be under 156 characters. The body content should also use keywords, but be conscious of over-using them. If your keyword density (ratio between the of number of words versus number of keywords) is more than 5.5%, search engines like Google will consider your content ‘spammy’ and drop your ranking. Finally, link out to other pages to help build the connectivity between your page and others influential sites.
Ultimately, optimizing your careers site for SEO isn’t about pleasing search engine algorithms – it’s about pleasing the people who are performing the searches. When you focus on the job seeker, getting quality inbound links and developing search-friendly content, SEO isn’t nearly as complicated as it seems.