Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , , , , , ,| By
SEO, like so many buzzwords on the interwebs, gets thrown around a lot, almost to the point that it loses its meaning. Search Engine Optimization can be a tricky concept to nail down, between changing trends in search and changes to the search algorithms themselves. This can be especially true when the concept is applied to highly specialized usage, such as job candidate recruitment.
This leads some recruiters to ignore the benefits in favor of old school techniques that will get results but maybe not top results. This is a mistake. According to Business2Community’s research, 60% of all click through traffic will go to the top three search results in any search engine. This means it is vital to optimize your listings well!
You know you need SEO to be a part of your strategy, but what does that look like? Do you need a specialist, or can your current web team just Google up some key words and get to work building you the perfect talent pool?
What SEO Best Practices should not be.
It’s easy to assume that just putting the right key words in your job boards posting, or job opening announcement, will attract attention, sort of like building a signal fire. But, is this really what you want? When you are stranded on a desert island, any generous soul with a way off the island is great, but, does that same strategy apply to seeking the right person to fill your position?
In most cases, all that is needed is just one highly qualified and motivated individual. So, how many good candidates does it take to find the perfect one? And, is more necessarily better?
Using SEO as a catch all traffic magnet may not be the best approach to attract candidates that are not just “good” but “right”. Here are some tools and techniques to avoid, if you want to prevent the bottle neck that occurs when too many good applicants apply and make finding the right applicants harder.
- PPC, or paid search engine advertising of any kind is likely a waste of your time. Not only does it tend to attract “lowest common denominator” candidates, but its effectiveness is waning. According to Search Engine Land, 75% of all users are now ignoring sponsored search results in favor of organic search results. This means that up to ¾ of the people who are seeing your ad are avoiding it!
- Generic keywords can also provide too large a net. While there are likely highly skilled people that will be attracted to your talent pool, they may not have the specific qualifications that you need. Meanwhile, more savvy job seekers may bypass you in favor of more specific results.
- Isolated or highly controlled postings can also hamper your SEO efforts. You want to control the search for talent and that’s good, but there are people willing to share your posts, if you make it easy. By refusing to use social share features or post in places you can’t control, you may be cutting your talent pool down considerably.
What your SEO Best Practices should be
So, what can you do? It’s tough to choose the right tools without using a “shotgun” approach and spreading yourself too thin. Here are some tips and techniques that you can use within platforms where you are already engaged and some suggestions for new tools that might help you improve results.
- Content is king. I’ve written about this before, but you can use website and blog content to attract job applicants. By writing a career specific, job search tips post, or an article on the most successful people in any position, you will attract people able to fill that role. Simply complete the circle by adding a call to action that includes finding out about job openings, or applying to your position.
- Make your keywords industry and even position specific. Instead of “IT director jobs” try “Network engineer master’s degree jobs”. It is similar to using long tail keywords in content marketing to attract the right clients. If you have specific qualification requirements, do your homework and use keywords that will bring you those highly qualified candidates.
- Share your listings! This one should be a no brainer, but people talk. A fully employed market analyst likely has friends that are looking for work in that same field and will gladly share your position, if it’s easy. Most platforms allow for social sharing and you should take advantage of this. It is word of mouth and we all know how powerful that can be.
Taking your SEO a step further
You may not have considered using video in sharing your job openings, but you should. It’s essential for SEO Best Practices. It is the most highly shareable content online. In fact, the term “viral” was not in common usage until Youtube became a prominent force in internet video. But wait, you say, aren’t we trying to avoid the viral response in favor of well qualified candidates? Yes, but video can do that!
- Video gives you a way to show and not just tell what your position is all about. You can include any information you want. In video format, it is not as likely to get skimmed over, or ignored.
- This is the next best thing to sitting down next to your client and explaining to them what it is you want out of the perfect candidate. A lot gets lost in written communication and a well done video can help job seekers read between the lines.
- Video can even be used to present your job openings, or job fair live in real time! What better way to compete against job aggregators, such as Indeed, that have volume on their side?
- Meta keywords make video one of the most searchable content forms online and one that more and more searchers prefer over written content. Use the same strategies you would apply to traditional listings to get highly qualified responses to your videos!
Live streaming made simple
The idea of live streaming your job fair, or job opening announcements is appealing, but how do you do it without needing a lot of ramp up to make sure your audience is ready and waiting at the right time? The time and energy required to successfully market a live event can often overshadow the benefits.
There’s an app for that. Meerkat has developed an app that allows for direct sharing via smart phone to Twitter networks! That means that you can broadcast whatever you put in front of your phone to everyone who follows you or your company on Twitter without a lot of technical knowledge, or expensive live streaming services.
Here’s how that might work:
- You announce the broadcast to your followers and some tune in. Some of these may be candidates themselves.
- They, in turn, share this with followers they think might be interested. If your event is set up to take place over a period of time, these followers can then join the event in progress.
- From here it can spread exponentially! The value of this type of sharing can be limitless. Not only that, but through the use of Twitter, viewers can respond to what they are seeing and start a dialog with you and other viewers.
Through the power of well-chosen hashtags, this one tool right here can provide some of the best SEO money can buy. Whatever approach you take, be sure it is integrated and consistent. As you work within new platforms and tools to expand your reach, keep your messaging and branding centered around the values you seek in a job applicant and utilizing SEO Best Practices can help you build a richer and deeper talent pool.