With Internet recruitment delivering real benefits for hirers, more job advertising is being done through online career pages, job boards and social media than ever. And it’s SEO that is driving qualified jobseekers to these job advertisements. If you’re not researching and using keywords and phrases in your job description, you won’t rank highly in search engines such as Google and Bing. Which means you could be losing out on the best candidates.
Well written job adverts that are targeted and contain researched keywords are proven to generate more applications from more relevant candidates than those that are not. Let’s look at why that is and how easy it is for you to do the same.
Putting SEO to work in your job description
Search engines scan for commonly searched keywords relevant to the job description. So the first thing to do is research and identify the words and phrases potential candidates will use when searching for job vacancies that interest them.
For instance, if you’re looking for an office manager, it’s important to include keywords and phrases in the job description that are relevant to the duties they’ll be carrying out. While it’s important to include generic keywords such as ‘administration’ or ‘office management’, once they’re done, it can pay dividends to use more specific terms related to the role, such as ‘staff supervision’ or ‘managing databases’. This should expose your job advertisement to a wider range of candidates with the skills required for the role.
Another trick is to pop in keywords that indicate the level you’re recruiting by including terms such as ‘junior’, ‘senior’, ‘trainee’ or ‘graduate’. Don’t forget to include your industry or niche. Some candidates will actively search for jobs in ‘retail’ or ‘manufacturing’, for example. The same goes for geographical keywords such as the region in which the job is located.
The good news is, you don’t need to be an expert in SEO to do this. There are free tools out there that can help you find the best keywords and phrases to include, such as Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends and KeywordTool.io.
Dos and don’ts
Be careful not to overdo it. Search engines can pick up on unnatural patterns created by repetitive keywords and may penalise the ad for ranking purposes. Instead, find alternative ways to describe a job title, skill set or task. This will increase the chances of your job advertisement coming up in searches. So, instead of repeating the word ‘Secretary’, you could use ‘Personal Assistant’, or ‘PA’. This should attract more candidates from more diverse backgrounds.
Understand the difference between keywords and buzzwords. Be specific with your job titles but avoid clichés such as ‘ninja’, ‘wizard’, or ‘rock star’ for job titles such as ‘IT Programmer’, or ‘Designer’. Likewise, long paragraphs with highly detailed role descriptions not only confuse candidates, they can confuse search engines too. Use clear headings in line with best SEO practices and keep copy succinct and to the point. A basic understanding of metadata (the language search engines use to rank pages) will help your efforts. Include relevant images where possible, as this can help search engines results too.
Finally, sharing is caring. Get your staff to share your job adverts on social media to grow the reach of your job advertising.