A Guide to Recruitment SEO

As a specialist marketing agency for the recruitment sector, we get exposure to a huge volume of recruitment websites. One thing we’re repeatedly surprised by is the number of poor sites that sit high in the top 10 of a simple Google search. By poor we’re referring to either old or non-responsive (not suitable for mobile) designs, little in the way of calls to action (after all you want people to do something when they land on your site) or just generally short of useful or engaging information for any of the three core recruitment audiences (the three c’s, [recruitment] consultants, candidates and clients).

Luckily, there appears to have been a sea of change creeping in over the last few years, with many recruitment firms investing in updated websites. The problem for most of these companies however, is that although their websites now look visually appealing and are technically up to date, they still aren’t showing up on a Google search for relevant keywords. Worse, the same agencies that have old fashioned and dated websites still remain in the top 10.

Enter the mythical beast that is Recruitment SEO.

Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation isn’t new, it was here in the heyday of AOL and Ask Jeeves. To a novice, it can appear to be a hugely complex subject with many unknowns. It’s actually fairly simple, you need to focus on getting a few basics right and then, if you really want to push the boat out, there are a number of technical measures that can also be implemented.

Google changes how it ranks search results on a regular basis, but assuming you have a fairly modern website that is responsive, then the only three things you need to consider are: site structure/architecture, keywords/phrases and maintaining regularly updated good quality content.

Website Structure

Your web vendor should have helped with recommendations for this. However, because doing this correctly requires more work than a standard website (from you) and obviously adds additional expense to the project, it often gets missed or only half completed.

Think of the structure in the mind of your customers (any one of the three c’s). The site needs to be easy and obvious to navigate but also it MUST have individual pages that are dedicated to your business’s core areas of service. Examples include, pages for each of your locations, specialist business areas, jobs you recruit for, and business specialities (permanent, contract, temporary, executive etc).

The reason for doing this is to provide Google with pages that are keyword rich for each specific area of your business. If, for example you just have a single page for all of your specialist business areas, then the chances are that each speciality will only be mentioned once at most and potentially other synonyms that could be searched, won’t be included. If this is the case you’ll be missing out on good quality, relevant traffic.

One last note on structure, whilst your building these pages you also want to ensure that if someone happens to land on them, that there are obvious calls to actions (CTAs) so you can convert additional traffic into leads and results.

Keywords/Phrases

This isn’t jamming your site full of every keyword you can think of. It is however, thinking about the terms that people are likely to be searching for when they find your site. Take it a step further and it should just be the terms that people who YOU WANT to visit your site, are likely to be searching. For example, if you run a specialist medical recruitment business in Melbourne do you want people finding you when they search for a generic term like Australia Jobs? If you do this, a high percentage of those who click through to your site won’t find information that is relevant and will therefore quickly leave your page. This tells Google your site isn’t relevant for this term and could actually harm your SEO. Instead focus on key phrases that are relevant to your audience, in this example, perhaps Medical Recruitment Agency, Melbourne would be better.

There is some science to selecting keywords, for example you should review monthly search volumes by using Google Keyword Planner and review your high-ranking competitor’s website to see what they are targeting. However, a large part of your planning will be based on your industry knowledge and then experimentation.

When you have your key phrases thread them carefully throughout your website, focusing the most important words on the Home Page (Tier 1) and then the others on their own dedicated pages (Tier 2 onwards). It’s important to not only include them in the body text but also ensure they are in the Page Title and Heading Tags.

Lastly, track the performance of your selected phrases. There are lots of tools available to do this, we favour Positionly, now Unamo SEO, and simply using Google Incognito Search to regularly check where your site features.

Regularly Updated Content

This requires the most time and effort but is important for two reasons. First, Google likes websites that have regular new content, second is backlinks. Backlinks are links to your website from other websites. The higher the quality of the links your site has the more likely your site is to rank highly. This also explains to a certain extent why some older sites have a high Google ranking, they have been around for a long while and built up many backlinks.

Don’t worry about paying third party providers to actively pursue backlinks, it’s an old-school practice that generally does more harm than good. Instead, focus on having good quality content that other people will want to link to. This could be a research paper than other sites link to as a reference, a press release or a simple blog that is shared across social media. The better the site linking into your website the greater the impact. So, if you can find ways to get links from newspapers, industry publications or anything else similar then this is especially good.

Start Small

This article is only a brief introduction to Recruitment SEO, there are obviously many more things you can be doing, some of which are technical such as Canonical Tags, XML Sitemaps and even getting a Wikipedia page. Our advice is to start small. Pick a part of your business that generates a lot of your revenue (or one that you’d like to generate a lot of your revenue!) and then focus your SEO efforts on this area. Once you start seeing results (anything from one to six months), you can then build this out across other parts of your business.

It’s worth noting that large international recruitment agencies don’t have any real advantage with SEO. They may get more press coverage and have bigger marketing teams, but they also have to cover a broader range of keywords. This means a smaller agency with good website structure/architecture, well thought out keywords/phrases and regularly updated, good quality content can just as easily get to the top of Google Search.

Good luck!

Image: Shutterstock

This article first appeared on Prominence on the 6th of April, 2017.


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