How do I ensure my Career Site is seen by the best possible (ideal) candidates? - Keyword Strategy, that's how

Let's assume you have spent your money wisely and purchased a content management platform (like ours - sorry it needed to be said) that is technically compatible with the needs of Google and its peers in terms of page indexing.  Then the next thing you must get right is the linguistics you add to the site, that matches the linguistic styles of your ideal visitors.  You will have determined who these people are based on the goals you set for the career site / talent hub.

Now you need to add to the fabric of your site page's set-up and content the words that the search indexer (spider/robot) will take back to the search engine algorithm for the page to evaluate for authority and trustworthiness.  You need to find the keywords that allow you to do this.

Start by listing all your top words or phrases that you believe your type of candidate visitors will use in a search when looking to find your website?

In your starting list, every keyword should be unique and should not be a single word and be no longer than two or three words, do not use the same word twice in the list, (eg software jobs <> php software jobs).  In this example as you have used software jobs as one phrase then the second phrase need not include the word software but could be php jobs.

The key objective here is to think about your internal functions in terms of words, themes, core terms and subject matter. To help your thinking process, try:

  • Writing down a description of your career site, its purpose and its scope.
  • Read your competitors’ career sites and scan for interesting words or themes.
  • Think about what candidate visitors would be trying to accomplish by visiting your site.
  • Consider which categories your different functions would be listed under in leading or industry job boards.
  • Think about location: is geography important to where visitors might be based? If so, you’ll want to include the city or region names in some of your keywords. "php jobs in Birmingham"
  • Compliment / Compare your words with suggestions you can get from free online tools like Google's AdWords Keywords Tool.

Once you have chosen your primary words/phrases take each one and paste or type it into Google's search engine.  On the first page create a unique tab in your spreadsheet and name the tab the same as your keyword.  Then list every organic url on that page associated with the keyword you used (even if there are more than one page from the same website (only use the organic results and not any in the main result column that has been placed there as advert results by Pay-Per-Click).

Now review each of the websites on the first page, noting not only the keywords of phrases you find that also apply to your site pages (Meta Keywords, Browser Title, H1 and H2 titles, hyperlinked text, alt text on images, and wording in content areas).  Also note any other positives and negatives you see regarding this page’s SEO. 

As you are on the page you might also want to note the visitor experience you are having and how easy is it for a visitor to find what the keyword/s was intended to find and how effective is the page and the site in general is in converting the visitor into registering some form of interest (apply for jobs / set job alert) or in capturing opt-in data about them.  You can use this to help in your site and page design.  Add any new words or phrases you think an actual ideal visitor might use to find this site and by default your site.  These sites are your main competitors for a first page listing in search engine results.

Now look to build a list of converting 'long tail' search phrases

'long tail' phrases differ from your primary keywords you’ve already chosen for your start-up list: they include one or more of the chosen keywords or core terms you have already selected, but as a variation you add an additional descriptive word or words.  For example, now you can add extra words to the list "php software jobs birmingham" "software engineering job birmingham"

Narrow Down or filter the full list based on indexed volume, search volume and conversion rate.

After completing the search for your industry-related keywords and long tail search phrases, it’s time to prioritise and sort the overall list.  Select the words or phrases that will be the most valuable for your site – then eliminate the rest.  The most important consideration for confirming if your keywords and phrases are viable is competition for the word/s or phrases, volume of search queries as well as the conversion rate. 

Keyword Competition:

A key identifier in confirming the saturation level of any keywords or phrase is to look for the total number of pages in SERPS that is indexed for that word or phrase.  You will note this number against each of your words.

Traffic Volume:

Using either a paid or free SEO tool, like the Googl's AdWords, (traffic simulator) tool.  You will use this type of tool to find out the approximated volume of search queries. Do ensure when you use a tool like this you default the search type as "phrase match" and choose if it’s correct for you to search either the DOT.COM or just the DOT.CO.UK index. 

In the result you will see a global result and a local one (read more about this), you want to only use the local number as this relates more to the query search volume per month in the search engine (given as an average over a 12 month calculation period).  Add this local search number against each of your keyword entries.

Now filter your list by the search volume number, descending in order.  Prioritise the search words that show a monthly volume of 500 or more and come back to the rest later. Any that produces a zero result or a dash (not enough data) it’s a good bet that no one or very few people are using these terms to find your type of content.

Now look at the words / phrase that have the highest search volume but the lowest number of pages indexed in SERP's.  The smaller the number in SERP's the easier it will be for these words to get to page one in a search result, as they will have the least competition of indexed pages to overcome.

Conversion Rate:

Now prioritise again in creating a list from the group you have into words that can attract the most targeted and conversion-driven traffic.  These are words should be the ones that are the closest to or related to the jobs or careers you can offer them.  To ensure you are selecting the best possible options the rule to follow is to choose as a customer, you know what the priority words or phrases are.

Now revisit your page one competition list for that word and as the candidate, 'If I type in "java developer jobs in swindon" the page they land on is the page that allows them to see and apply for all the java developer jobs in or near swindon or if the query is "java or HTML developer jobs" then it’s a page that has a selection of different types of developer jobs that show both HTML and Java options.  You now know what page types you deferent words need to lead the visitor to if they click on your link in a search result.


With these tasks completed you can now add them to you on-page SEO tasks and page content.  This will help your target visitors find your site, your jobs and the careers you offer. 

One word of warning, the biggest error in SEO a careers site can make, which in turn creates a need to massively compensate for in your SEO and SMO budgets is the inability of ATS integrations presenting data in the correct manor so that these actual list of job adverts can be indexed and searched for in Google.  This is the best content for the career site in terms of SEO authority and if it can’t be seen by Google and its peers, it will cost you many missed opportunities, never mind wasted budget spend.

Author: Martin Shaw

For more information, please contact martin by email or call him on 07791 673 715.

About RecruitSmart Technology

Founded by Martin in 2012, RecruitSmart is a company focused on applying any combination of technology, on and off line marketing and communications and all their years of recruitment industry expertise to support a company's talent attraction, acquisition and management strategies.

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