Recruitment SEO: Tips for optimizing your career site

SEO is a topic that has become extremely popular over the last few years in the recruiting space. The idea of optimizing your job advertisements so that qualified job seekers can find them when they search Google, Bing or Yahoo is an enticing one. While I’ve spoken in the past about the limits of your career site SEO in the past, I still think it’s important to put an SEO strategy in place for your career site for one main reason: it isn’t that hard once you have a system in place.

Depending on the recruiting technologies you have in place today, there are some easy ways to optimize your job / career content on your website. Here are the basics to focus on as you are evaluating the technology you have and looking to optimize your SEO effectively:

Every new job has it’s own page - One of the key principles of SEO is that content is king. Therefore, whenever possible you should try and create a new page for any new content or job that you create. Having a unique webpage for each job enables you to optimize the page explicitly for that job and most importantly gives you another new opportunity for that page to rank in the search engines. (Please note that you shouldn’t just re-post the same job over and over again if you continuously fill the same position. Google punishes duplicate content so make sure to update and improve your job ads for similar positions.)

Optimize the Page Title for each page - The page title is the single most important on page SEO you can optimize for your web pages. For those of you that don’t know, the page title is the text at the top of browser for each web page (for this blog article the page title is “Recruitment SEO: Tips for Optimizing your Career Site”).

The reason that the page title is so important is that it tells the search engines what your web page is all about and therefore you want to carefully decide what keywords you would like to include in the page title. So for your job ads, you will want to include the most relevant information for the job (Discipline, City, State, etc.). Here’s an example of what I determine a good page title:

Senior Java Programmer Job Boston, MA [Insert Company Name]

When looking to create a page title you need to identify the keywords that job seekers are looking for when they are looking for jobs in search engines. In this instance, you are looking for a Java Programmer in Boston, MA. I added “Senior” because I wanted to target programmers with more experience. I also added in the company name because you’ll want to appear at the top of the rankings for when job seekers search “Java Programmer [Your Company Name]“. Now if you look at the actual rankings for this search, you’ll see the top results will be mostly job boards. That’s why I encourage you to identify longer tail keywords like “Senior” or more specific job titles to use when building your job specific web pages as you won’t be able to compete with the job boards for more generic job titles and terms.

Also note that the length of your page title also affects the authority that Google gives for each of the keywords. The two things you need to know are 1) the first keyword in the page titles holds more authority than second, the second more than the third and so on 2) the more text you have the page title, the less authority each keyword carries (so short page titles target keywords more effectively).

Add a Meta Tag Description to each page- A Meta Tag description is a description you can actually set to come up when your webpage is included in search rankings. Take a look at a search result to our website below:

The Meta Tag Description that we set for our Homepage appears under the Page Title link in all search engines. In this case our Meta Tag Description is “SmashFly offers the first Recruitment Marketing Platform that provides Recruitment Metrics and Job Ad Distribution all in one platform”.

If you do not declare a Meta Tag Description, search engines will automatically take the first text it sees on the web page and place it under your link. Most of the times this doesn’t look very pretty so it’s important to set the Meta Tag Description.

Lastly, as you set your description make sure that is under 200 characters long so it fits in the search engine as well as include significant keywords in your description. As you can see above “Recruitment Marketing” is in bold because the search was for “Recruitment Marketing”. So any keywords that are searched that find your content in search engines will be highlighted if they appear in your Meta Tag Description. Which is valuable as it may catch users eyes as they search through the listings.

On page keywords - Once you decide on the keywords you want to target in the page title and meta tag description, make sure to use relevant keywords in the text as well. The more keywords that appear in the text that match the page title’s theme the more authority search engines will give you for the terms you use.

Metrics – Collect recruitment metrics for what search keywords job seekers are using to find your job advertisements. You’ll be surprised by some of the keyword terms that will send qualified candidates to your career site and most importantly you can update your page titles to reflect the type of keywords that work for each future job web page. As for a tool that can help you track these metrics, Google Analytics is a good tool that can provide you with this information.

Recruitment SEO can be important in your overall recruitment marketing strategy. All the tactics above are considered on page SEO and are fully in your control. I will follow up later to discuss off page SEO strategies that you can put in place to get quality inbound links to your career site (which is the most powerful metric that Google uses in determining overall web page authority.)

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

Originally posted on the SmashFly Recruitment Marketing Blog.

About the Author: Chris is the Marketing Analyst for SmashFly Technologies. SmashFly is the provider of the first recruitment marketing platform called WildFire that provides companies and staffing firms with job ad distribution, Recruitment CRM and the best real time recruitment metrics for all their recruiting efforts online.

You can follow me on Twitter @smashfly.

Views: 177

Comment by Chris Brablc on October 19, 2010 at 3:06pm
Robert, thanks for the comment!

It's true that having your domain for a longer length of time can help your SEO but that's mainly for two reasons. First, since your domain has been around longer it has had the opportunity to be linked to by outside sites more often. The # of inbound links is the greatest determinant in ranking high in search rankings and the longer you've been around the more likely you have more inbound links. Second, websites that have been around longer usually have created more content on their site in terms of # of webpages. The more webpages you create the more opportunities you have to be linked to and the more on page SEO you can do to increase the SEO to other pages on your site (although they don't possess the same authority of inbound links.) This will help you rank higher in search rankings for specific terms.

Also, you should purchase whatever domain you have for more than one year as Google looks unfavorably on domains that have less than a year till expiration.

The biggest thing I would say is to get started today in terms of optimizing your site. It's a considerable upfront cost in terms of time to create viable content for your site and you may not see results for a few months if not longer. But if you keep at trying to get at certain keywords / phrases, after a while the work should pay off. Set up a schedule to create 3 or so new content pages a week on your site (which should be easy if you are posting that many jobs over that timeframe.) and stick with it.

If it was easy to rank high in search rankings everyone would be on the first page. You need to put the effort in to make it be worthwhile.
Comment by Chris Brablc on October 22, 2010 at 12:15pm
Yeah, no one knows truly how the Google Algorithm works and if you ever find out it will probably change the next day.

Without knowing the particulars of your situation, probably can't really get in much deeper but I would say there are a lot of good tools out there to measure your website and other things you can do from an SEO perspective. These are two of my favorites:

Hubspot's Website Grader (Gives you tips on how to improve your website.)

Yahoo Site Explorer (Enables you to see what links are going into any website. Really good online competitive analysis tool.)

Thanks for the comments, Robert!


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