Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Bond Opinion: SEO Tips for Recruitment Agencies

It’s no secret that the first step in any career move is a Google search. Whether an individual is looking at vacancies nearer to home; assessing the next salary bracket options; or simply hoping to improve the quality of a CV, online search is an intrinsic part of our daily lives.

Two thirds of respondents have used a recruitment agency in the past to help with a job search. Of these, well over half (58%) found the agency via an online search.

Ensuring a recruitment agency appears in the top search results is now a key component of the digital strategy – if it isn’t, it should be. But prime Google real estate is competitive and costly.  A well thought out and constructed pay-per-click (PPC) programme is one way to achieve prime position – but highly competitive keywords can be expensive.

From keywords to mobile optimising, great content and social media, Bond International Software provides eight simple SEO steps that can begin to push an agency up the Google rankings.

1: Optimise Keywords

Understanding how a candidate will search for a new job is critical to determining the right keywords – and that means keeping it simple. There is no point in optimising for terms that no-one will ever use. Industry specific and geographic terms are clearly a good option – a candidate is likely to search for ‘IT jobs in Manchester’, but it is also worth considering options for less popular, but still standard keywords.  Before starting it is worth checking out where the agency sits in the Google rankings today – and use this benchmark to assess performance improvements as keywords are optimised on the website.

2: Use Meta Descriptions and Meta Titles

Meta titles and meta descriptions play an important role in educating and informing the audience, so avoid the temptation to oversell. Meta titles, which show the name of the webpage at the top of the browser, should be based on keywords and relevant to the rest of the web page. Meta descriptions, which are used on search engine results pages to display preview snippets for a given page, should provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages. Undertake a search and look at the current descriptions: Do they make sense? Convey the right message? And do they explain what that webpage is about?

3: Be Unique in your Thinking

With the basics in place, it is time to get a little more creative. While the short tail search terms – such as ‘Manchester Jobs’ – are important, they are also likely to be highly competitive, making it tough to rise through the Google rankings. Consider what other terms candidates might use and optimise for longer tail terms – such as ‘where would I find a job in Manchester’ – and use feedback from Google Analytics, if available, for the terms candidates are using.

4: Publish Good Content

The days when a website was nothing more than a glorified brochure are long gone. To be really attractive to a candidate, a website needs to include good, informative, educational content. A blog is the easiest way to keep content updated. It can cover so many different subjects that are relevant to both clients and candidates and reinforce a recruitment agency’s industry expertise – from interview advice to trends in employee remuneration/benefits packages. But remember: content has to be fresh and up to date – for both Google and candidates. Out of date or infrequently renewed information will deter candidates from signing up for updates.

5: Promote Your Local Area

Candidates will typically have a preferred working area – so localising webpages where possible and optimising for the local city, town, county or local postcodes, is a really important aspect of any SEO strategy. In addition, blog content can also be used to reinforce local presence and success stories.

Does the agency have a Google Business Page? If so, check that all the information is accurate, including phone number and website address. A Google listing also provides a regular email update outlining the number of people who have found the website via Google, asked for contact information and used the information to get in touch.

6: Be Social

Up to date information is key - and social media is a fantastic way to get new content out into market. But remember: less is more. Social is a commitment. Don’t sign up for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and a YouTube channel all at once, unless the resources are in place to generate enough new and relevant content.

A Twitter feed with a tweet every six months is far more damaging to reputation and brand image than no Twitter presence at all. Pick one platform and start posting jobs, company updates and blogs. Not sure which platform? Ask candidates which social media platforms they prefer and prioritise the most popular! Assess the value being attained over a few months – and the work involved in keeping it up to date.  If it is working, and the resources are available, add another profile.

7: Use Mobile

Providing a great experience for candidates using mobile phones or tablets is key – not least because Google actively penalises websites that aren’t mobile optimised. In addition to ensuring the website looks good, renders correctly, resizes images and scrolls well it is  essential that every aspect of the mobile journey, such as completing forms, works as well as the desktop journey.

8: Put Yourself in the Candidates Shoes

Having invested time and effort in ensuring candidates find the agency’s website, it is essential to ensure a slick, efficient online experience once they arrive. The best way to achieve that is to experience the website journey from the perspective of a candidate and test the experience. Asking candidates to test the site and provide feedback is a great way to check which pages appear for the optimised search terms and whether the path from landing page through to make contact, find jobs, submit an application or seek advice is clear and easy to navigate.

The power of Google search should not be underestimated. Research conducted by Bond International Software revealed that two thirds of respondents have used a recruitment agency in the past to help with a job search. Of these, over half (58%) found the agency via an online search. BUT please remember SEO is just part of the overall online strategy so make sure that it coincides with a great online experience to be truly effective.