Should Recruitment Agencies Stop Worrying About Google Page Rankings?

I often comment about the reliance recruitment firms have on traditional sourcing strategies, but recently I’ve also noticed that website search engine optimisation (SEO) is also still perceived by a lot of agencies as being the most important form of branding outside of job boards.

I get this, it makes sense to have a high ranking website on Google so that people find you when they type in terms relating to your business. This blog isn’t focused on SEO but just quickly if you are going to put time and effort into this area of your business please ensure you aren’t taken for a ride by web development or SEO companies who charge a one off or monthly fee to build spammy (I know its not a word) links into your site.

Google is always changing its ranking algorithms but it is becoming clear that the best way to optimise your website is to ensure it is correctly setup (meta tags, carefully selected keywords and strong in-bound links), that there is regular new content posted and your job adverts and employee social pages all direct back to the site.

Another way to ensure your website is visible on Google is to register your business on Google Plus. This provides a range of benefits but most importantly will verify your businesses address on Google Maps, so it shows up when people search.

If you still want to boast your Google traffic, then Adwords is the other tool that you should consider. When setting up Adwords, remember to choose words that candidates and clients will search. In the example of a construction focused recruitment firm instead of using Recruitment Agency Auckland, you would be better advised to use Construction Recruiter Auckland and / or Construction Recruitment Agency Auckland.

The image to the right shows that in Auckland only two construction recruiters are utilising Adwords.

For a blog not meant to be focused on SEO I appreciate we have spent a fair bit of time focusing on it, this is because it is ok to have website SEO as part of your marketing strategy, but to be clear it is no longer the golden ticket it used to be.

LinkedIn Profile Optimisation

Most sectors are now heavily candidate short, therefore whilst it is still important to attract clients, acquiring new candidates is a priority. In-demand candidates are primarily motivated by the specific job opportunity and the credibility of the agent they will be working with. Therefore when looking for work they don’t start at Google but instead they initially visit Trademe, Seek, Indeed or LinkedIn Jobs. Depending on whether they find an interesting opportunity or not these high value candidates are also highly likely to search LinkedIn to find specific agents who either have expertise in their sector or are associated with a specific job listing.

Last week Andy Headworth blogged about how many recruiters are playing LinkedIn hide and seek and his blog is spot on. LinkedIn profile optimisation is an industry wide problem that is incredibly easy to solve with basic optimisation techniques (try the LinkedIn search below from another account to see if you can be found).

Social Credibility

Having read Andy’s blog I realised that there is also another huge problem, one that should probably be addressed before even considering optimisation. Traditionally, experienced recruiters establish credibility by demonstrating their industry knowledge in person, but this very effective method has a flaw, it relies on the candidate making contact in the first instance.

In today’s skills-short environment candidates are making the decision on which recruiters to work with before even making contact. It is therefore crucial for recruiters to clearly demonstrate credibility and expertise on networks such as LinkedIn.

Portraying credibility through LinkedIn takes more time than keyword optimisation but it is equally as important. My opinion is that for a recruiter’s profile to be credible, it needs to contain the following:

  • Personalised summary, that outlines specific industry expertise and showcases some of the recruiters personality.
  • Clear overview of prior experience geared towards demonstrating recruitment expertise.
  • Easily visible LinkedIn activity from published blogs, group discussion or interaction with user discussions.
  • Obvious contact methods, including phone and email. Whilst some recruiters may be wary of increased volumes of enquiries, the smart ones will not turn up an opportunity for a great candidate to get in touch.
  • At least 5 recommendations (not endorsements) from previous candidates and clients (not colleagues) – This is the most important factor when social proofing your profile.

A tip for getting LinkedIn recommendations is to go through your email account to find emails from either clients or candidates who have been happy with your service (try searching your inbox for the word/s thanks or thank you). Then copy the email content into a recommendation request asking the person to post it on LinkedIn.


My advice is to work on your LinkedIn profile over time, get the optimisation out of the way first but allocate a bit of time each week to seek recommendations and contribute content.



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