When it comes to recruiting new team members, it’s important to look at how the people who’ve applied for positions within your company first heard about the opportunity. Maybe they met you at a career fair or heard about your business on LinkedIn. Maybe they heard your CEO on a podcast or used one of your products. Or maybe they did a good old-fashioned Google search.
There are 246 million unique Google users in the United States (source). That’s a whole lot of searches happening. Believe it or not, search engines can still be an important way for jobseekers to hear about your business. Although the Great Resignation seems to be slightly slowing down, there are still a whole lot of open job positions, and you want yours to stand out from the pack. One way to do so is by making sure it pops up on that very first page of search results.
Enter: search engine optimization (SEO). You’re probably familiar with SEO in terms of getting eyeballs on your products and services, but SEO is also incredibly important when it comes to recruitment. Check out your website analytics. How many people are finding your site from simple Google searches? What phrases are they Googling that lead them to your page? How can you increase that number in order to get more applicants in the pipeline?
SEO may not feel fancy or interesting—it involves a lot of research and putting in the work. But it is effective and can make a real difference in terms of how many applicants are attracted to your open positions. Sometimes, the most boring avenues are the ones that lead to the biggest rewards.
Here are four hacks to keep in mind when it comes to improving your recruitment SEO.
Do Your Keyword Research
If you aren’t familiar with Google’s Keywords Planner, now’s the time to dust it off. Google makes it easy to see which keywords are currently popular when it comes to your industry and needs. Recruitment isn’t the place to get fancy with your job titles or creative with your descriptions. People aren’t searching for Office Wizard jobs; they’re searching for Administrative Assistant jobs. Ditto Numbers Ninja (just try data analyst) or Knowledge Emporium (teacher or educator will work just fine!). When it comes to job openings, it’s essential to be as clear and concise as possible. This also applies to the actual description. What do people absolutely need to know how to do? What types of qualifications and certifications are you looking for? They need to be broad enough to attract a wide variety of searchers but niched enough to actually be useful. The goal should be to get on the first page of Google, as most people don’t click beyond that. Don’t forget to avoid overusing keywords—by stuffing too many keywords in, you’ll actually sound more robotic than human, docking your search ranking. You still want to sound like an authentic company run by humans, not like a spammy sales page.
Utilize Content Marketing
Producing high-quality content can be a simple way to direct more people to your recruitment site. Blog posts, YouTube transcripts, or white pages can serve as additional places to use keywords and give relevant information. Content marketing shouldn’t just be for your sales team; it’s an incredibly useful tool for recruitment teams to utilize. If you aren’t sure what type of content to create, ask the people who currently work at your company what they like to consume. Your marketing team should be able to help, as well. Figuring out if your company is more of a podcasting vibe or could crank out some killer long-form blog posts is the first step. Then, make sure you’re roping in those keywords and sharing the content multiple times over multiple platforms. By giving Google more ways to link to your site, you’re increasing your chances that a searcher will stumble upon your recruitment page and take the time to go over your current openings. You can also link to job openings directly from pieces of content. In many ways, recruitment is similar to marketing, but instead of taking your products or services to market, you’re taking the idea of working at your company.
Keep Your Site in Tip-Top Shape
Broken links, low-resolution photos, and websites that simply don’t work well? Total SEO killers. Google only wants to provide its searchers with high-quality websites, so if yours doesn’t work very well, it’s going to fall in the rankings. Do an audit of your recruitment site to make sure everything is working smoothly. This is one of those tasks that’s easy to push off—after all, it never seems urgent, and everyone has a lot on their plate. But it’s an easy task to hand to an intern or assistant. Websites like PageSpeed Insights can help you see how quickly your webpage is loading on a variety of different platforms and browsers. It’s also important to update your website regularly so that it isn’t clinging to outdated or unhelpful information. Reviewing and updating your metadata is essential, as well, in order to make your website as accessible as possible.
Test and Change
Lastly, don’t forget the power of simply testing and changing. At the end of the day, playing around with your recruitment website may be the best way to fix it! Try new keywords, and if those ones don’t work, change them up. Try renaming an open job position, and if it doesn’t get new leads, rename it again. Try a new content marketing strategy, and if it doesn’t get the views you wanted, try something different. So much of business is experimentation; in a way, recruitment is being a mad scientist at its finest. SEO isn’t something that’s written in stone—search engines frequently change up their algorithms and introduce new best practices. Don’t be afraid to simply try new things without holding yourself to any kind of ages-long timeline.
Claire Swinarski is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.