SEO in 2014? Your Career Site Needs to be a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ for Candidates

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 9.38.59 AM2013 has proved to be an extremely turbulent year for search engine optimization professionals. Google has made more significant search algorithm changes in 2013 than at any other time in its 15-year history. Last month (September 2013) Google announced that it had not only updated its search algorithm, but also completely revamped it. The official word from Google is that this new algorithm, called Hummingbird, is already affecting 90 percent of searches.

Google continually makes changes to its algorithm in an effort to serve up the most relevant and useful webpages based on the query. The new search algorithm is just the next natural step in its evolutionary process — a way of adapting to changing behaviors, as users become more mobile and users voice search more often.

What This Means for Recruiters

If your applicant traffic has been down substantially this September and October, your career site/job postings were probably affected by Google’s latest Hummingbird algorithm change. With Google’s new way of choosing which webpages to show in the search results, attracting candidates is no longer as simple as executing an SEO “keyword strategy” and waiting for the traffic to show up.

Don’t misunderstand — your career site’s technical SEO stills needs to be as close to best practices as possible. However, now there are many more additional triggers in the search engine algorithm that need to be addressed. Good technical SEO is now simply the foundation you must build upon.

To optimize your career site in light of Google’s latest update, become a “Swiss Army Knife” for your candidates!

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Think about the Swiss Army Knife for a moment. It’s truly one of the greatest inventions, ever. It’s a single item that can help you perform many tasks, and can actually help you solve hundreds of problems with its many tools. The knife’s “multi-utility” concept is exactly how you should be looking at your career site and its content.

Remember, Google is always updating and changing its algorithm to show webpages in the search results that are more useful and engaging for users. As recruiters, we must keep up with those trends and change the content on our career sites to be more useful and engaging for our target audience — job seekers.

5 Tools Your Career Site Can Use

  • Tool 1: Provide more useful information. Above all else, your content needs to be useful, unique, and fresh. By “fresh,” I mean content that is recent and/or updated on a fairly regular basis. The days of putting up static pages and not touching them for three years are over. Your career site should also contain content that is engaging and purposeful to the job seeker. A good gauge for your success is to look at how often candidates “share” your webpages on social networks. If possible, set up an editorial calendar to add content to and update/freshen the pages of your career site.
  • Tool 2: Answer candidates’ questions. All candidates have questions. Discover the most common questions among your candidates and focus career site content on them. By monitoring your recruitment social channels and applicant interviews, you can find the exact information your candidates are interested in. Then, write content around answers to the questions you hear most often.
  • Tool 3: Include helpful links. Some candidates want to get something from your career site. But some applicants just want to quickly find and apply for jobs, though. Make sure that option is plainly visible on every page. Other visitors might be interested in benefits, geographic locations, or even relocation assistance. Be sure to consider all the potential content that could be useful to your candidates, and include helpful links whenever possible. If your career site serves as a resource for the candidate, they’ll keep coming back.
  • Tool 4: Engage/interact with candidates. The days of putting up content and walking away are over. Today’s Internet users are more savvy and have higher expectations than ever before. Today’s candidates want engagement, so be sure to include links to your social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Another great thing you can do is add a blog to your career site and set up an editorial calendar to regularly add content and check for candidate interaction.
  • Tool 5: An open door policy for candidates? That’s no joke. I work with a couple of healthcare organizations who were having difficulty with a some hard-to-fill physician and nursing specialty positions. They now have instant messaging (i.e., live chat) set up on a select few of their career site pages. When these highly sought-after specialty candidates come to the career site and have questions, they now have the opportunity to instantly be connected with a recruiter.

These are all useful tools that can benefit visitors of your career site. These steps will help improve your candidate experience — and keep you on pace with Google’s ongoing quest to display the best search results.

As SEO Strategist for NAS Recruitment Innovation, Larry Engel (here on Google+) oversees the research, design and implementation of search engine optimization (SEO) methods for client career sites. His recruitment agency experience includes 12 years in account management, 5 years as a Certified Google Advertising Professional (AdWords GAP Program) and 2+ years’ concentration in SEO. Larry also has OMCP Master Certification in Social Media Marketing (SMM) and recently completed a mini MBA in SMM from Rutgers University. lengel@nasrecruitment.com

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