Adapting to Change: The Implications of Indeed’s Shift Away from Organic Traffic

Rumors are circulating that is phasing out organic (free) traffic. Surprisingly, this might be the right decision!

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Apr 3, 2024

I recently saw some posts from Steve Rothberg on LinkedIn and heard on the Chad and Cheese podcast, where it was reported that is potentially phasing out organic (non-paid) traffic. This move signifies Indeed’s commitment to remaining relevant. It’s a bold step and one that deserves recognition. And honestly, if they decided to phase out non-paid traffic, I say bring it on! It’s about time!

Indeed faces stiff competition from job programmatic companies like Appcast and PandoLogic, not to mention the behemoth that is LinkedIn. Yet, by embracing change, Indeed has positioned itself to stay ahead of the curve. Admittedly, not all their innovations, such as the cost-per-application-starter model, have hit the mark. However, unlike some competitors, Indeed hasn’t avoided necessary adaptations. The decision to eliminate organic traffic clearly acknowledges the need to evolve or risk obsolescence.

What are the risks? Potentially losing their customers? Maybe. But the real risk is not acting—not having a survival strategy. Recruiting is evolving, adapting, and transforming, especially where AI is increasingly taking over. Indeed is not going to “wait and see what happens” like others. They will take action, even if it’s getting some bad press along the way.

One reason for the end of organic traffic is Google’s unparalleled dominance in job indexing. While Indeed has established APIs and scrapes with career site pages, Google crawls them, too, including Indeed. As a former recruitment marketer, I’ve seen Google surpass LinkedIn and Indeed in non-paid traffic overnight, usurping them as the largest non-paid traffic source. Therefore, Indeed’s decision to withdraw from organic traffic appears strategic and logical.

However, my experience with Indeed hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Their discontinuation of tracking pixels and conversion tracking codes for Applicant Tracking Systems has frustrated many recruitment marketers. Without these tools, gauging the effectiveness of non-paid traffic from Indeed is challenging. Consequently, reliance on Indeed’s platform-generated data, particularly regarding paid versus sponsored content, becomes…. inevitable.

Moreover, discrepancies between Indeed dashboards and Applicant Tracking System data are concerning. Whenever I met with Indeed account reps, they often beat their chests and boasted about the campaign performance, high numbers of clicks, and application clicks on their platform. However, the conversion rates in Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) often paint a different picture—significantly lower. Without conversion tracking, you were left with two stories. dashboard analytics would show me extremely high impression rates, clicks, and click applies; however, our ATS showed a small number of applicants relative to their high number of clicks.

Returning to the main point, Indeed’s potential cessation of non-paid traffic could be a positive development. For those heavily invested in sponsored jobs, it would provide greater clarity regarding expenditure. The elimination of organic traffic would no longer be mixed in with sponsored traffic, which creates a nebulous cloud around CPC.

A move to sponsored jobs or nothing at all provides their customer pathway to transparent pricing and facilitates more informed decision-making by recruitment marketing teams. This would allow for adjustments in budget reallocation to optimize applicant flow. Ultimately, this would lead to more insightful guidance from Indeed account managers, eliminating the need for speculative forecasts regarding non-paid versus paid traffic outcomes.

In conclusion, Indeed’s potential shift from organic traffic heralds a new era of job ad marketing characterized by evolution and adaptability. While challenges undoubtedly lie ahead, embracing change is essential for continued growth and relevance in a job ad market ripe for AI, automation, and new players.

This is for those interested in adapting to the rapid changes from Indeed, LinkedIn, and other job advertising platforms. Industry experts like Ashleigh Anderson, Jim Durbin, Melissa Thompson, Craig Fisher, and Jocelyn Lai will also be at the ERE Recruiting Conference to help you reach your hiring objectives that factor in the changes from companies like Indeed.

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