How to get your recruitment website ranking on Google

Visibility on Google is crucial for any recruitment business

If you’ve read my blog on the top 5 cash-making marketing tips for your recruitment business or listened to my podcast on investing in marketing, you’ll know how crucial I feel it is to ensure your website ranks highly on Google searches. 

Simply, if your website isn’t visible, the only people who will see it are the clients and candidates who you are already doing business with – which reduces its value immensely. Whereas, if you can create a website that is optimised for your marketplace, it’s then a great lead generation tool to attract new clients and candidates. Added to that, if either a client or candidate is taking the time to Google a new recruitment company, the odds are they don’t have faith in their current recruiter, so they are ripe for us to sell to. 

Paying to get your recruitment website visible on Google

So, how do you get your site searchable on Google? One way is PPC (pay-per-click), in this context, also known as Google Paid Ads. These sponsored listings can work as quick fix to drive traffic from Google while you work on your site’s optimisation.

While PPC can get you appearing on the top of page one, some people don’t like clicking on adverts and trust Google’s natural rankings more. Also, if you haven’t already done a certain amount of the optimisation we will discuss below, you risk paying to drive people to your website who won’t convert.

For example, if you are paying to rank for ‘procurement recruitment agencies,’ which is one of your many specialisms – if you don’t make quite a few mentions of procurement on that page then people aren’t going to stick around but you will still be paying for that ‘click.’

PPC can be expensive and, if you don’t have a good PPC Manager, you can risk wasting a lot of money this way. A good PPC Manager will ensure you are spending your money wisely on keywords and phrases that are likely to get you the highest number of people converting.

Don’t misinterpret this as me being against PPC – far from it. If done well, it’s another string to your marketing bow. But, it’s not the easy fix some may lead you to believe. If you are looking at PPC as an option, you may want to read my blog on how much it costs to start a recruitment business and how to plan for your costs. 

So, how do you get Google to show your site on their non-paid rankings (also known as organic search rankings)? Well, it all comes down to good site optimisation. Getting attention is easier said than done, though. Google search is a competitive environment. And so, grabbing the limelight on the platform is notoriously challenging.

The algorithms Google uses to rank sites change all the time, so keeping on top of changes is important. That said if you follow my tips below, they’ll give you the best chance of getting ranked without blowing your budget on an SEO company.

A word of warning, for those not tech minded some of this might be heavy-going. However, if you are reading this as research before you set up your first recruitment company you could always contact us.

As part of the investment we make in the start-ups, we provide bespoke, optimised websites and we are really good at it. So, if you’d rather focus on billing, partner with someone who can take care of this and many other aspects of setting up and growing a recruitment business. Contact me directly on LinkedIn here

Why is ranking on Google important for new recruitment businesses?

Well, it matters for driving new enquiries to your website. If you’re visible in organic search, users will naturally float in your direction. But if you’re not visible (which is the case for most recruitment start-ups, and even established recruitment businesses), nobody new will come your way.

The statistics on this are a little frightening. According to WebFX, only 25 percent of users look past page two in the search engine results pages (SERPs). And Backlinko says that only 0.78 percent of Google users actually click something on the s....

From this data, the message is clear: it’s critical to be on page one. If you’re not, you may as well be on page one hundred and one.

How to get your recruitment business ranking

So, how do you actually get your pages to rank on Google? Here are a few best practice steps you can take to maximise your chances.  

Get your backlinks in order 

Sorry to dispel any illusions you might have, but backlinks are still the backbone of getting recruitment sites to rank on Google. Backlinks are links on other websites that point to your site. Google likes this, as it suggests you are relevant and rated by others. Yes, the search engine regularly releases algorithm updates and includes other ranking factors. But, ultimately, inbound links from third-party domains still matter.  

It’s not just any old backlinks you want, though; it’s quality links that make sense for Google users. In the past, recruitment agencies would just pay marketing outfits to spam links to their site from any domain they could find. It was great for boosting ranking. But it was also a crappy strategy. Google cottoned onto it fast and soon updated its algorithms. From that moment on, any company caught using illicit methods to generate backlinks put it itself at risk of punishment. You could find your site on page one on Monday and down on page ten on Tuesday.  

 When it comes to backlinks, you must obey two rules: 

  1. Obtain links from high-authority domains. 
  2. Make sure the linking domain is relevant.

What do I mean by this? Well, it’s pretty straightforward. A high domain authority site is one that everyone knows about. So, for instance, or do well here because Google considers them to be fonts of knowledge, wisdom and truth. (Your opinion on that subject may differ).  

Don’t know whether inbound links have authority? Fear not, Moz has a pretty cool tool you can use. Just paste the URL into the bar and it’ll spit back an authority rating out of 100. Obviously, the higher the rating, the more domain authority the site has (and the more you’ll want to target it for links).  

A word of caution is warranted: the highest authority sites won’t link to you (usually). That’s because securing links on them requires some sort of special relationship. But you can still get links on moderate-authority blogs that’ll boost your ranking. However, you’ll need more inbound links for them to have an effect on your page ranking.  

Getting natural-looking links is also essential. Any sites that link to yours must relate to it in a way that makes sense to Google’s bots and manual auditors. They must offer some kind of value to users.  

So, if have a link from a lipstick site or car dealership, Google won’t rate it – unless you are a specialist recruiter in this sector! Sites of natural value to a recruitment site are recruitment related sites, that could be other recruitment companies, recruitment CRM businesses, or even a CV writing site. Google bots are extremely good at associating related terms, so it will know CVs are relevant to recruitment, as would be psychometric testing etc. 

Another area that will provide extremely relevant backlinks are those from your market. If you recruit in oil and gas, oil and gas related sites will tell Google you are a specialist and links to the content on your site.   

Do your keyword research 

Keywords are the search language your target audience puts into Google. For example, ‘Legal Recruitment Agency,’ or ‘Construction jobs.’ So, if you add the correct keywords to your site, Google will connect related searches. 

However, before you set off adding these keywords and search strings to your site content, do your research first. Some terms are searched a lot more than others, and some are a lot more competitive than others.  

So, how do you choose which keywords are the best for your site? The first step is to get a sense of the lay of the land by finding out which keywords people are actually using. There are sites that will tell you a lot of info on your keywords. Moz is an example.  

Here’s what happens when you type the search term “recruitment agency near me” into Moz’s Keyword Planner:  

It works the other way too. You might think that ‘recruitment agencies UK’ is a great keyword, but it probably isn’t. Yes, competition is low but look at the search volume. Only 200 people are searching that term per month. So, the traffic it’ll generate for your site is low, but 200 potential visitors for an achievable keyword is a hell of a lot more value than zero traffic from a high volume keyword which you can’t achieve.

Ideally, you want high-volume keywords with low competition – the holy grail. That way, you can drum up traffic while keeping the difficulty of rising through the ranks to a minimum.

Usually, you’ll find that it’s a trade off. The more volume a keyword has, the more competition there is for it. But there are exceptions.

Create relevant content

The Google algorithms love content. So, as a recruitment agency, you’ll need to learn how to write good keyword-rich content that Google views as ‘natural.’ By far the easiest approach here is to just write something that users will find useful instead of trying to play any blatant SEO games.

When you are writing your content, make sure that you are using heading tags, bold and italics, as well as other emphasis tags to highlight important parts and words. However, you don’t want to go too crazy with this because then the content writing won’t read naturally.

Try to find a balance and write your article for the user rather than the search engine. It’s important to always focus on writing well with SEO as an addition rather than the other way around.

Google is getting better at determining the quality of a piece too. For instance, the company’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines say that informational content should be:

  • Accurate
  • Original
  • In-depth
  • Well-cited
  • Contain original reporting.
  • Convey a high degree of skill.

It sounds tough. But remember, what Google really appreciates is user experience and value. So, you don’t have to have a PhD to write quality content. You just need to offer what users love.

The freshness of content also matters. Google uses something called ‘Query Deserved Freshness’ as a factor in its ranking algorithm for various query types (particularly news-related searches). So, it’s a good idea to update posts regularly, the moment you get new information.

Know the value of internal links

What are internal links? These are the hyperlinks you have on one of your site’s pages that links to another page.

Why are they of value? The reason for this is pretty simple: Google’s indexing bots (called site crawlers), use internal links to determine the priority pages on your site. It then uses this information to list your pages in a way that makes sense for users.

Let’s say you’re a recruitment start-up and have just published your first website. If your domain (your main URL) is registered on Google, it’ll send a site crawler in your direction to map out the whole of your site, indexing the pages it finds in search results. If you don’t have any internal links it’ll struggle, so won’t see a lot of your valuable content.

It works something like this: Google’s site crawler arrives on your site (usually the home page) and then scans for links. It then follows these to the next page, and then the next, building up a kind of hierarchy of how your pages link up. Once it finishes with all the detailed and intricate interconnections, it learns which pages matter, and which don’t so much. And that’s critical for SEO.

Why? Because it lets Google funnel customers to the most useful resources on your site. For instance, you will want more people heading to your homepage than your terms and conditions page. So, the more internal links that point to the home page, the greater the priority Google will give it.

When creating internal links, it’s important to optimise it for the Google bots. Rather than highlight a single word with a link, use an appropriate phrase that describes the content of the link (and preferably contains a relevant keyword). For example, rather than writing, “read more about our services here,” put, “read more about our specialist procurement recruitment services in the UK.” The latter example will be much more useful to both the Google bots, but it will also help to re-enforce to your visitors what you do.

Metadata, structure and on-page SEO

Metadata might sound complex, but it literally means data that describes the content of something. For example, a web page will have metadata that describes the overall page – what it’s about, who made it, when it was made – but it will also have more metadata relevant to each section of that page to point out what each section contains and what the content is about.

There are different types of metadata for you to think about. When you are designing your website, every page will have a space between the tags where you can put metadata or information about what is on the page. As your site changes over time, you are going to need to update your metadata to ensure that it is still relevant.

You will need to think about description metadata which is a description of the content that Google will show in your page search return. This is done through text and is essentially an appealing description to what is written on the page. The point of this is to encourage people to click on your recruitment website and find the information that they are looking for.

You should also think about ‘turtle metadata,’ which is responsible for the page turtles that you see at the top of the browser. It is the most important metadata that you will have on your page, meaning that you need to take special care with it. It’s for this reason that you need to make use of page titles that have keyword phrases in them.

When creating the content of the page, you should also be thinking about your heading structure. Creating a logical heading structure helps Google crawlers navigate around the page and point to exactly what each section of content is about. It is likely your main page title will be your Header 1 (H1 tag) and then you will give each section of content a hierarchical tag (i.e. H2, H3, H4,) depending on their importance to the content on that page.

Finally, check that any links on your page. Make sure that both internal and external links (links to other websites) work. Broken links can count against your SEO score. This is something to keep in mind as your website grows over time as external links move domains and you may need to make changes on your site to accommodate this. There are tools to help keep on top of these broken links, like the ‘SEO Mini....

Use alt tags

If you are posting photos and videos on your site, then make sure that you are using alternative text descriptions, also known as alt tags.

Alt tags are of increasing importance as we strive towards making the web more accessible for all. Screen readers rely on alt text to give blind and partially sighted and users with other disabilities to describe the content of the images.

These alt tags also make sure that Google can find your page which is essential for the success of your website. Google uses your alt text and tags coupled with computer vision algorithms and the content of the page to get a better idea as to what your site/page is all about.

You need to keep everything up to date for Google to make an accurate analysis of your website and rank it accordingly. The use of alt tags and text are going to be helpful for rankings, so don’t skip out on them and if you don’t understand how to use them properly, consult a professional.’

Wrapping up

I hope that you have found this article helpful, and now know more about how to get your recruitment website to rank on Google.

At the end of the day, you need to understand that a website’s true value is the business it attracts, and a lot of that depends on how visible it is on Google. You could have a fantastic looking website, but if nobody is seeing it due to your poor ranking, you’ll get very little value from it. As such, you need to do everything in your power to get a high ranking, ideally on page one, but no further down than page 2 of Google. The advice above should help you do this.

Rhys Jones

Written by Rhys Jones Managing Director – Davidson Gray

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