Have You Considered Your Career Site Optimization Strategy?

Any successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign attempts to meet two goals. When looking at your companies’ HR SEO Goals, consider the following:

1. Increase the number of highly qualified and targeted job seekers to your corporate career website.

2. Grow the employer’s brand by getting high search engine rankings for pages that contain content that’s related to the keyword strings that potential employees use when using the search engines to conduct their job search.

As the industry expands, there are more and more companies jumping into the career site optimization space. What most of these companies are selling is some version of “we can pull your jobs out of your ATS and create a micro-site optimized for the search engines, which we will use to send candidates to your ATS”.

While this approach will lead to the creation of pages that are optimized for Google and the other search engines to find, it has a major problem- it’s not meeting the two stated goals of any SEO campaign. Just being indexed in Google doesn’t mean that more job seekers will apply for your jobs. Optimizing a page for the search engines does not mean that job seekers are going to find your pages- structure is not enough, in order to build brand authority you need to get other highly-ranked sites to point to your pages or no one will see your jobs!

Let’s look at why.

You need to have optimized pages for keyword phrases that job seekers are actually searching for. If no one is typing in “pediatric nurse jobs in Chicago, Illinois” into the Google, Yahoo, or MSN search box (they aren’t), then it doesn’t matter if you spent $10,000 or just $1 on optimizing that page. If no one is searching for that keyword phrase, there will be no job seekers applying for the jobs. When was the last time you searched Google and went to Page 2 of the results? Chances are, not very often. In fact, some results show that this happens less than 10% of the time. Top 10 and Top 20 rankings are all that really matter. In fact, when optimizing for any “search string” that has 4 or more words in it, page 2 doesn’t even matter, because there are so few people searching on these phrases, (i.e. “search traffic”), that 10% of 100 searches in a month is only 10 people… That is NOT going to drive candidates to your website.

So, does anything actually work?

First, you need to perform keyword research. This entails researching a list of potential keyword search strings, and developing a list of “keyword phrases” that your job seeker target audience is currently using to find your job openings. It’s only after you’ve done this research that you can begin working on designing a “landing page” for your jobs, specifically constructed to rank highly on Google and other search engines for the keyword strings your target audience is using. It bears repeating- you HAVE to know what keyword phrases your jobseeker target audience is using to search for jobs- only once you know that can you start building out pages optimized for the strings you choose. Once your landing page is optimized, most vendors will offer to help “submit” that page to the various search engines.

This doesn’t take a lot of work.

However, you can’t stop there. The above steps will probably get you into the Google index, but you probably will not be on page 1 of the search engine results for your keyword phrase. Chances are, you probably won’t even be on page 3 or 4, depending on how competitive the keyword phrase is. The last part of the SEO process is the most critical, hardest, most difficult and expensive process. However, without the proper marketing, your landing pages and career site are identical to everyone else’s. You must get other high-quality and well-thought-of websites to point to yours, to be seen as the authority.

To close, remember, there are 3 vital steps for successful SEO.

1. Conducting keyword research to figure out how to build your brand and drive traffic.

2. Implementing web pages that are optimized for those keywords.

3. Conducting a marketing strategy for these landing pages that builds credibility and authority for them.

If an SEO strategy for HR Search Engine Optimization doesn’t encompass all three of these aspects it is bound to fail. The failure will be measured by the lack of targeted job seekers to the new micro sites or career site.

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