This article was written by Jack Saville, an SEO Specialist at Bynder.
Here we will explore how recruiters can use SEO keyword research to better target their ideal applicants through Google search.
Imagine that a hiring manager has just come to your desk and asked you to find a new web developer, despite having no budget for posting to paid job sites.
If your website doesn’t naturally pull in large amounts of traffic, then simply publishing the job opening on your careers site isn’t enough. However, by utilizing SEO to make your job page appear in the right search results, you can be sure to always be found by potential recruits.
So where to start?
The first thing to think about is what the role will entail. Make a list of all the key skills and attributes required, then summarize each skill into a maximum of four words.
Now you have a list of all the keywords that your job page needs to target. But how do we know if these are keywords that people will actually search for?
The next thing to do is to ask your marketing team for access to a tool called Moz (or if you don’t have access to the tool, you can use the tool three times for free before you have to pay).
By using the Moz Keyword Explorer, you can identify the search volume for each of the keywords. This allows you to rank each keyword that gets the most searches, and optimize your job page accordingly.
So let’s imagine that these are three of the required skills for a web developer:
- Automated testing knowledge
- Python web framework knowledge
- Amazon web services experience
Using Moz Keyword Explorer can help you to recognize how many searches each of these keywords creates, and whether you can can optimize the keywords to attract more searches.
Now that you have entered “amazon web services experience” into Moz Keyword Explorer, you will need to consider the results from the Keyword Suggestions. Does it give any clues as to how you can alter the keyword to pick up more searches?
For example, you can see that many keyword suggestions with a higher search volume abbreviate “amazon web services” to “aws”. Based on this suggestion, it might be a good idea to abbreviate the job responsibility in your job page to “aws experience”, as it will likely attract a higher volume of searches.
And sure enough, when you enter “aws experience” in Moz Keyword Explorer, you will get a higher search volume. That means when a potential job seeker searches for jobs with “aws experience”, your job page has a much higher chance of appearing in the search results.
Once you have identified the search volume each required skill will likely receive, you can then take steps to optimize your job page to get as much relevant search traffic as possible.
Where should the keywords be inserted, and how often?
Now it’s time to actually finish your job page within your CMS or ATS. It is important to recognize which keyword is likely to get the most search traffic, and base the title of your job page around that keyword. It makes sense: Google search algorithms place a lot of importance on title keywords.
If one of the key skills listed in the job description gets a larger search volume than the job title itself, then it might be worth editing the job title to include the high volume keyword. For example, if “AWS expert” gets more search results than “web developer”, then it might be worth editing the job title to “Web Development and AWS Expert” to ensure maximum reach.
It is also worth replicating the title of the page as the H1, as this is also something that Google takes into account when determining the content of a web page (remember to enclose the H1 in <H1></H1> tags in the source code – there should be a way to easily do this in your CMS).
Once you have decided on a title, then it is time to create a URL (there should be a field to enter a URL of your choosing in your CMS or ATS). Like the title, you should base the URL as much as possible on the keywords you are trying to rank for, as the keywords in the URL are given a lot of weight by Google.
As the URL does not need to be a complete sentence, you can base it on your keywords. For example, your slug could be “web-development-aws-expert”; you can remove the word “and”, as that is not something that you need to rank for.
Long term hiring needs
One of the struggles to contend with when optimizing job pages for SEO is that a big factor for search engine rankings is the time a page has been online. The longer a page has been online, the more authority and presence it has, at least according to Google. Job pages are unsurprisingly temporary pages for the most part, as when the position is filled, the job page no longer has a purpose and is thus taken down. Unsurprisingly, some job vacancies that are typically filled quickly may struggle to rank highly for competitive keywords.
So how to get around this hurdle? Well, if you’re always recruiting a particular position, i.e. developers, you could place a permanent developer job page online. This will help you to collect more applications, and have the added benefit of increasing the authority and presence of the webpage in the eyes of Google – ultimately helping the page to rank higher for the more competitive keywords.
How to track the ranking of a job page within search results
There are a number of tools available for that very purpose. The following two are great examples:
Respect the keyword!
Using keyword research is a great way to ensure that your job page is targeting the right searches, and ultimately the right people. By deliberately placing relevant keywords in the right place within a web page, you can make sure to stand out from the crowd when looking for your next new addition to the team!