With the launch of Google for Jobs, search engine optimization (SEO) has once again become a hot topic in the recruiting space. The strategies you used last year to optimize job postings may no longer be effective; in fact, they could actually hurt your exposure. Below are some of the best job posting tips for 2019 and beyond.
The evolution of search engine optimization and recommendation engine optimization
Historically, search engines have primarily functioned through keyword matching, a.k.a. SEO. For example, a user types in a keyword (or set of words) in a free form search box and the “engine” scans the available content to serve up a result list most closely matching those keywords.
Once recruiters understood this practice, it became common for marketers and recruiters to fill job postings with keywords (also known as "keyword stuffing") to improve ranking potential. While search engines have evolved to detect and neutralize the impact of such tactics, this strategy continues even today within recruiting.
Recommendation engines have also continued to evolve, yet aren’t a topic that’s often discussed in the recruiting space. Perhaps it’s because recommendation engines are mostly behind the scenes, making it hard for recruiters to see and easy to forget about. But recommendation engine optimization (REO) shouldn’t be overlooked. For example, almost 80 percent of all “applies” to any job posted on CareerBuilder.com come from our recommendation engine. These job recommendations are displayed on our website, mobile app and within user emails.
The good news is that modern SEO and REO strategies are very similar. The shift to optimize these two important engines is centered around one basic concept: relevant structured data.
The impact of mobile
Mobile phones have forever changed the way consumers search and view content, and more and more job seekers are searching on mobile devices. (In fact, almost 70 percent of CareerBuilder’s job seekers are coming from a mobile device.)
When creating job postings for mobile devices, it is critical to keep a few things in mind. For one, it’s common mobile user behavior to conduct a search, filter quickly and then scan the posting. For this reason, you should include critical posting attributes, such as salary, location, type (part-time, contract, etc.), as metadata tags. If you fail to use metadata points that job seekers are using to filter their searches, your postings may not even show up in search results, and you could miss out on relevant candidates.
Also, keep in mind that long job descriptions are harder to read from mobile devices, and users quickly disengage when they come across them. Therefore, instead of writing long job descriptions stuffed with keywords, a better strategy is to keep job descriptions concise with strong structured, relevant metadata that can be filtered against in mobile search.
Structured data vs. relevant data
Structured data is just a fancy way of saying you should organize the content of the job posting cleanly and neatly into specific categories. It’s necessary to have data organized into fields to allow easy filtering and search facets for users.
What does this mean for you?
Here are my recommended next steps make your job postings more SEO and REO-friendly.
- Stop keyword stuffing as an optimization strategy. If you continue the strategy of keyword stuffing, your ranking will no longer be optimized, and it’s likely your content will be flagged as spam for keyword stuffing. Once content is flagged as spam, it’s caught in spam filters and no longer displayed. If content is repeatedly flagged as spam by one company, this can also have long-term ranking impacts on the perceived quality of the brand in the machine learning algorithms.
- Include relevant data in your job posting. Again, this means including the keywords, terms and concepts job seekers are searching for most: Salary, benefits, location, job type and employment type.
- Where possible, send that data in a structured format. Review Google’s published schema, and if your applicant tracking system (ATS) does not currently have these fields available, set up meetings with your provider to better understand their roadmap.
- Post your jobs with trusted partners. It’s important to choose partners who understand the evolution of the marketplace and can help you get the most from your job postings. CareerBuilder has entire teams dedicated to taking unstructured data from a job posting and putting it into a structured format on your behalf.
Learn more about posting jobs with CareerBuilder.
Leigh Margaret Stull is VP of Product Development at CareerBuilder.