Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Yes - SEO Matters For HR!

For HR, the importance of being visible in search engines may be obvious when it comes to job listings

People searching for a new job must be able to find the relevant positions in time and not apply for positions already filled. But there is more to it. Screening today is not a one-way process, applicants screen their future employer just as thoroughly as the company screens them.

Before an applicant sends their CV or accept a job interview, they will carefully review the website and social media accounts of the company. At an average, a job applicant will read six reviews about the company, before they decide if they want to apply for the job or not and 69% will not accept a job at a company with a bad reputation.

There are great benefits to gain in terms of brand messages when the marketing department and the HR are working together. Still in many companies today the HR department is regarded as an isolated department focusing exclusively on issues related to the benefits of the employees. Representatives from the HR department are not often invited to discuss website design, SEO or marketing strategies. However, a failure to work together can lead to bottlenecks in the recruiting process. Even worse, if the design of the homepage, or social media posts, do not reflect the voice of the HR with a consistent and true image of the company throughout the organization, the company may end up getting a bad online reputation.

The importance of the role HR play when it comes to both internal and external brand communication should not be underestimated. The website of the company gives out a clear message of what the company stands for. Company ethics, values and goals are all expressible through the homepage and play an important role in attracting the right, or wrong, applicants for new positions. This means having a functioning website with proper social media presence, and of course, using proper SEO is essential to any successful HR.

SEO for HR

While many have some understanding of what digital and social media marketing, and branding is about, the SEO concept is often much more vague. However, in order to maximize a job listing, good SEO (search engine optimization) is essential. The ability to utilize SEO techniques will gather good search results and people at the same time. For the best results, one needs to optimize many facets of the company website. Obviously these tasks are not, and should not be, within the scope of the HR personnel. However, it is important to have an understanding of how these aspects influence the recruiting process in order to find the right candidates for the job. This includes domain structure with internal and external linking, keyword research, domain authority and search results. If no one can find the contact page, or application form on the website, due to bad internal linking then it doesn’t really matter how well the HR has formulated the job listing.

How It Works

Search engines like Google use algorithms to evaluate the importance as well as the relevance of every webpage in existence. Pages or websites, are presented in the search results in order based on how well Google believe they match the searcher's intent. If the website gives readers as much information as possible about what they are searching for, then the site, or page, will have a better chance of being shown in the search results. Wikipedia pages are usually at the top of the search results on Google because the site has a reputation of providing valuable content. The position of the website is also dependent upon the number of referrals the website gets from other sites on the internet or from social media, how many and how often people visit the website and of course, of the overall quality of the site. This means that if other companies or individuals link to the page with the job listing, the better position the page will get in search results. The better position will in return lead to more internet traffic and ultimately determine how many applications the job listing will attract.

Some Practical Examples

The most important techniques to ensure your hiring efforts will be successful is by using optimized key phrases, page URL, page title, meta description, first paragraph, position in text, last paragraph, tags, and page length. These are important factors to consider when posting a job online or providing the marketing department with the text to publish. A key factor is to make the job listing clear by considering what specific terms and phrases, you will want the applicants to find you by. Make sure the description of the job and title includes at least three keywords that relate specifically to the most relevant qualifications the company is looking for. For example, content writing. If the job requires qualifications in a specific language then this should of course be mentioned. If, instead, your company is hiring blog writers on an ongoing basis to work from home, then focus should be on flexibility of working hours and location.

A clear job listing is important but people looking for a new job are not only reading the job description. They are also actively searching on the internet to see what reputation the company has. To include some descriptive text that says something about the value and ethics of the company is a good idea and this is where cooperation becomes important. It’s crucial that the design of the website radiate the same values and tone as the job description. If your job listing is strictly professional with a legal tone and the homepage an animation with jokes then the applicant is left with confusion. Instead, try to find what best relates to the core value of the business and it’s often a good idea to include a page URL to the official social media account or about us page. This will increase the trustworthiness of the company as it makes it easier for the applicant to form an opinion about the company before applying.

Basic digital and social media marketing skills, as well as an understanding of how to use search engines for HR benefits are valuable skills for anyone working within HR. Not only will it improve the hiring process but it will also strengthen the brand by creating a greater room for cooperation within the company organization.