SEO or search engine optimization is not just a buzzword or fad that’s changing at any point in time. The facts are that almost every computer user frequents either Google or Bing each day, and if your websites are not being properly optimized and indexed you could be missing out on valuable traffic. Think of search engines this way: there are two stores in each city that almost everyone goes to, Wal-Mart and Target. Consider Google and Bing those two stores or online destinations. Therefore if you have a product that you want to make easily accessible to consumers you would pursue the channels that allow you to display your product in the Wal-Mart and Target inventory.
As a recruiter, your jobs are your products and Google and Bing are your Wal-Mart and Target stores. Getting your products onto the shelves of these big retailers is a very time consuming and arduous task, often times requiring a lot of investment in resources, time and money. The same can be said for ensuring your jobs are seen on Google and Bing. However, there are some free “tricks” you have at your disposal and those include SEO.
What is SEO and Why is it Important for Job Postings?
If SEO is a relatively new term to you, it’s a fairly simple concept to understand. SEO directly correlates with how your site ranks on search engines. Several different techniques can be used to make your web pages more relevant and easily read by search engine bots. Some of the most popularly used techniques include:
- Keyword Analysis: by using Google’s keyword tool* you can decipher which keywords are most relevant to what job seekers are searching for, helping you eliminate company jargon that may be only understandable internally. This tool can be especially helpful when your recruiting efforts are focusing in on location or specific job offering. For example, if your company is recruiting salespeople for open positions in Indianapolis, you would turn to Google’s keyword tool and type in the variation you were going to include in your description, ‘Indianapolis sales jobs’ perhaps, to see what the total search volume and related terms were so you could optimize your text to include the keywords that have a higher search volume.
- SEO Content Generation: quality content engages your job seeker and helps increase the relevance of your site when it comes to search engine rankings. Therefore, when trying to generate content for your website, keep the previously searched keywords in mind to help you further advance your website. For example, Member company Sodexo, Inc. generates fresh content in their company blog through a variety of different blogging topics pertinent to the outreach goals of company. This constant dedication to updating blogs and content within the site helps keep search engines coming back to their pages for reindexing.
- Interlinking or “Link Juice”: by interlinking pages within your site, or your .JOBS microsite with your corporate career site, you can help build relevance for your microsite and help search engines easily navigate or “crawl” your site. Interlinking, in a nutshell builds PageRank and helps your pages rise in the rankings. Member company Ryder practices this SEO technique by interlinking their military career page with their .JOBS veterans microsite, http://ryder-veterans.jobs and vice versa. This interlinking helps give their .JOBS microsite a higher PageRank and also allows search engines to see a direct connection between the two.
- User Experience: Some things just go hand-in-hand and SEO and user experience are two of those things. Often times on the web, job seekers are bombarded with many different on-page options for navigating around their sites. However, SEO can help user experience by cutting down on the on-page links, which help to create a better usability and improved search results. The overall goal would be to place navigation buttons or links in areas that are where job seekers easily can find them which facilitates faster navigation and fewer clicks.
As an Association, DirectEmployers has made a conscious effort to include these SEO techniques into each of our websites, from .JOBS to the National Labor Exchange site US.jobs. Understanding how search engine’s view pages can help you maximize your online efforts. With little tweaks here and there, your jobs can potentially become more indexable by search engines and optimized for the results you are looking for. Take Member company IHG for example, who has seen an increase of 96% in visits and 108% increase in apply conversions. To see more examples of how companies have benefited from having a search engine optimized platform visit http://casestudy.jobs.
To learn more about setting up a microsite, contact Chris Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Update: Since the post was originally published, the Google Keyword Tool has been replaced by the Google Keyword Planner. To access this tool, you will need to create a Google AdWords account. To learn more, check out this excellent Google Keyword Planner Guide from Razor Social.