Is SEO for recruitment a part of your strategy? If the answer is ‘no’, you’re not alone. Most companies have SEO (search engine optimization) in mind for marketing, but it’s not even on the radar from a recruitment strategy perspective.
A few recruitment agencies (and honestly, not that many) have tapped into why SEO for recruitment is important, but the vast majority of agencies and corporate recruitment teams haven’t really grasped the concept of why ranking highly on Google searches matters yet.
Honestly, who can blame them?
Corporate recruiters are drowning in reqs and agency recruiters are spinning their wheels doing what they’re told is the best sales strategy ever — cold calls/ emails.
Nobody’s telling them that if they want to increase their recruitment agency revenue, they should have a combined approach of traditional cold calling and online marketing with the help of SEO.
First things first, what is SEO?
Before we even get into why SEO is important for recruitment, let’s cover the basics.
An example of a search engine is Google. Although others (Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Duckduckgo, etc.), Google is the most commonly used.
Every time you search for something in Google, there’s an algorithm working in the backend that shows you the best results for your search. Although nobody knows exactly what Google’s algorithm is (it changes often), we can be sure that it searches for relevance.
Google does this by looking for related keywords on a website so that it can then list it on the first page. It ranks those links by keyword relevance and authority.
SEO is the practice of optimizing a website so that it ranks higher for a specific keyword.
Think about the last thing you searched for on Google. The very first result listed on Google gets 20% of all click.
That doesn’t sound like much, but 20% of clicks are roughly 22,000 clicks a month of targeted traffic. In sales terms, think of it as 22,000 warm leads.
This, my friends, is why everyone wants to have their website ranked as one of the first few results on Google. Whether you’re a recruiting agency or company strengthening your employer brand, the first page of Google is where you want to be.
The way you can increase that possibility is my implement SEO on your websites. More specifically, optimizing certain pages on your website, because people don’t come to websites, they click on webpages.
Here’s why SEO for recruitment really matters
So now you know what SEO is, but you’re wondering how in the world it relates to recruitment.
The higher your web pages, career site, career blog or job postings ranks on Google, the higher the likelihood you’re targeting the right candidate, improving your employer brand and for recruitment agencies, getting the interest of potential clients.
People aren’t searching for jobs in newspapers as they used to decades ago. Yet, the recruitment industry still has that mindset. Jobs are being posted without a thought to SEO (Remember when I ranted about one of my biggest pet peeves – job descriptions and job postings being used interchangeably?) or even worse, career pages are riddled with and SEO mistakes.
People are now searching for jobs online (usually on their smartphone).
30% of searches on Google are job-related. That’s 300 million searches per month … just for jobs!
A little SEO effort can make a big impact on recruitment and here’s why:
- SEO for Recruitment drives targeted (and free) traffic to your site. It adds value to your employer brand. For many candidates, your Google ranking is a form of credibility. Job seekers expect to see you appear in a Google search.
- SEO strategies on job postings attract more targeted candidates so instead of getting 500 irrelevant applications, you may get 100 targeted ones.
- For recruitment agencies, SEO could actually bring business to you, which allows you to diversify sales strategies.
- The right SEO strategy implemented on your website, will ensure it ranks higher on search engines like Google and Bing.
Simple SEO Tips for recruiters that make a huge difference
SEO for recruitment isn’t complicated. In fact, it’s just about doing a few basic things that help your webpages rank higher on search Engines over and over again.
Here are a few doable SEO tips that make a huge difference on your ranking:
1. Ensure a Mobile-friendly (responsive) website
I’m putting this one first because it’s the most important.
If your website or career site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re out of the game. You can’t even begin to implement the rest of the tips until you get your website right.
Most companies should have mobile-friendly websites and career sites at this point because people are accessing websites on their phones.
2. Have regular and fresh content on a website
The easiest way to have fresh content on a regular basis on your website is to have a blog. This is why it’s essential that recruiters start blogging.
Your content length matters. Google and Bing don’t like short content, so aim to write blog posts with at least 800 characters.
If you’re already writing articles on LinkedIn, it’s not a good idea to copy that content from your blog. Search engines penalize duplicate content. When they crawl your article or blog and find the exact same content somewhere else, it simply doesn’t know how to rank it.
So your content doesn’t rank at all.
3. Plan your keywords
Whether you’re helping create your career site, your recruiting agency website or even job postings, doing some keyword research is important to your SEO strategy.
If you know what your target market is searching for (or Googling), then you’ll know how to write to them in particular.
There are some great keyword search tools, but a lot of them are paid. Before you invest in those tools, start with free keyword planners.
I use a Google Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere. Type anything into your Google search field and this extension will show you the search volume for any keyword and it even shows you some related keyword searches that you may not have thought of yet.
4. Write relevant meta descriptions
This sounds technical, but it’s actually not so stay with me here.
The meta description is the 2-3 sentence description that shows up in Google under a title tag (or a link). It looks something like this:
Google automatically pulls this text from your link (or blog) based on what it thinks the content is about. Sometimes though, it’s totally wrong.
If your website is built on WordPress (and I highly recommend it), you can install free SEO plugins that allow you to choose the meta description for your content. Ensure you include your keywords in the description.
5. Have web analytics in place from the very beginning
This one is less about SEO and more about measuring your SEO progress.
As the recruitment industry is becoming more and more data-driven, understanding the data behind your website (especially your career pages) is essential.
If you know where you’re starting, you’ll be able to see measurable results from your SEO efforts. Using a free tool like Google Analytics gives you a ton of metrics like:
- The number of visitors your website gets a day/month/year
- Which pages on your website get the most/least traffic
- How long people stay on your site
- How many people bounce before even visiting a second page (if you’ve heard of a ‘bounce rate’, this is what it means)
SEO Tips for Job Postings
Updating a website to be mobile-friendly (responsive) and starting a recruiting blog (if you don’t have one) can take time.
There are more immediate steps to improve your SEO for recruitment. The best place to start is with your job postings. As recruiters, we usually have full control over enhancing job postings.
Here are some tips to take your job postings to the next level: