We’ve been encouraged to get to grips with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for years now, but we’re recruiters, not marketing gurus or web experts. So, what is SEO and why should we be spending our time developing skills in this area? If I were writing a quick SEO tutorial, I would say that SEO is about making your online content easier for search engines – and consequently candidates and clients – to find. The more visible your content is to viewers, the more people will click through to your website, see the roles you’re advertising, and apply. The more people who apply, the higher your chance of success is.
Spend less and stay ahead of your competitors
SEO isn’t just about attracting more people. Ensuring your SEO plan is effective can save you money, attract candidates you wouldn’t find otherwise, and even help you win new business.Competition is rife in recruitment, and making sure your job listings and website appear on the first page of Google search is crucial to consistent success. Very few people look beyond the first page of search results, so optimising every job listing to appear as high as possible makes a real difference. Job boards often have built in SEO capabilities, and posting your roles there may seem like an easy solution, but so there’s very little SEO advantage to be found there as your competitors are using them too. Instead, get ahead of the game by adopting SEO techniques on your own website:
- Add keywords relevant to your sector and ensure you make it clear that your postings are for jobs. - Improving your SEO ranking for ‘jobs’ will be more beneficial than using terms like ‘recruitment’ or ‘career’ as more people search for ‘jobs in…’ than other terms.
- Create keywords that match up with your desired candidate's needs. ‘Senior Engineering Jobs in London’ is more useful than ‘Engineering Jobs’ because it’s more specific to what the candidate you're searching for will type into Google. (These types of keywords are called ‘long tail’ keywords.)
- Ensuring your web content is part of a wider SEO plan will improve the search ranking of your website as a whole, meaning that all jobs advertised on your website benefit from increased traffic.
Attract unique candidates
Getting candidates to approach you before you spending your time looking for them is one of the main reasons to get on board with SEO as a recruiter. Studies estimate that upwards of 70% of candidates begin their job search on search engines like Google and Bing. Usually these guys start with a simple search like ‘Recruitment jobs in Glasgow’, and then click through to the websites and job boards which appear in the first page of the search results. The majority of searchers never get past the first page of results. Without an SEO plan, you are almost guaranteed to appear lower in search than your competitors that are using SEO. Generating engaging web content with your chosen keywords will help push you above competitors and give you the chance to catch candidates before they turn you competitors. Catching these guys before they hit the mainstream job boards is critical as well. They are far less likely to have been contacted by other recruiters at this point; meaning you are able to supply your clients with a new and unique candidate pool.
How can I Impress my clients with SEO?
Winning clients ahead of your competitors can be a tough gig. We’re all able to say ‘I’m a specialist in this market’, ‘I have a database full of candidates that would fit well with your team’, or ‘we advertise on popular job boards and we’ll be able to offer exposure for your business’. A good recruitment SEO plan lets you demonstrate that you’re truly targeted to their needs. Show you have the edge over other recruiters by showing them that your website ranks highly for specific keywords that are relevant to the client’s business. This shows that you’re working hard to deliver the best results, even before you’ve won their business, and that you’re able to think strategically to find unique candidates. SEO helps to reassure clients that they’re making the right choice to work with you, and ultimately it will also help you deliver the talent they need.
SEO isn’t one of those things you can continue to ignore in the hope that it will go away; your competitors are developing SEO plans and it’s time you did too. After all, there’s very little point in working to fill multiple jobs if no one is ever going to see your adverts! Effective SEO will allow you to save money whilst continuing to place unique candidates, impress your clients and gain new business too.
Want to up your SEO game but have no idea where to start? Check out the whitepaper below!
Heidi is PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. Her research focuses on the issues surrounding the recruitment of patients into clinical trials.