8 easy job advert SEO fixes
Writing job adverts rarely makes the list of exciting jobs, but whether you’re a hiring manager or a recruiter, it’s a necessary evil that could be one of the reasons for low applications or a lack of candidate quality.
It’s one thing creating an advert that’s easy to read, attractive to the candidate and converts well. However, if you don’t write a job advert that Google likes, then your hard work could be for nothing.
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is well known but often not quite fully understood. Yes, it’s all about the special keywords that Google’s algorithms use to determine who appears first when a candidate performs a job search, but it’s also a lot more than that – which we’ll cover in this list.
And to help us do that, we got in touch with the brilliant Dennis Yu, a Digital Marketer, Speaker and SEO expert who has been building brands and teaching marketing for over 13 years. Dennis specialises in helping young adults grow into the leaders of tomorrow by confidently developing their marketing skills through extensive training programs and seminars with some of the biggest enterprise clients on the globe.
Check out Dennis’ website for tons of great SEO tips and digital marketing advice, as well as access to Dennis' brilliant courses and seminars.
So let’s dive into 8 easy fixes for job advert SEO that you can action today.
1. Get the job title right
Own a coffee shop? Advertising for a ‘Whipped Cream and Marshmallow Artist?’ Sadly, it’s highly likely that not a single Barista actively searching for roles in your area is going to type that into Google.
A very high amount of importance lies in the title of a role – after all, it’s likely going to be tagged and signposted to Google (or Bing, other search engines so exist). This means you need to be aware of the most commonly used job titles for your live role, otherwise your competitors may rank higher than you.
And if you’re posting on a job board, they’ll have their own system for categorising job titles. If it doesn’t fit their mould, it won’t end up featuring or ranking on their search system either.
There’s also the bit about creating confusion for the candidate, but let’s save that for a different list.
2. Do keyword research
Keywords are words and phrases that Google is looking for when it ‘indexes’, or adds your page to their global library of webpages. If you have relevant, strong keywords that match your page, then the Google algorithm likes this and may rank your page higher in the search results.
However, like many things Google-related, it’s both a fine art and a science to get the right keywords, and the right amount of keywords, into your job advert.
A great trick here is to search for the job title you want to write an advert for, hit the top result (that isn’t a paid advert) and run it through a keyword research analysing tool. There are loads out there, but Google’s own Keyword Planning Tool is free. Choose the ‘start with a URL’ option and ask the tool to analyse the page.
As if by magic, the most popular search strings, keywords and terms are listed for you, so you can write your advert including those keywords.
3. Wait a minute, how do I add keywords to my adverts?
This is also a bit of an art; Google hates it when you add too many keywords, and they really hate it when you try to jam them in in an unnatural way.
The best advice is to look for great opportunities to include them in place of something else as you write, rather than trying to add them at the end. For example, let’s use that coffee shop example from earlier.
Instead of writing: We’re hiring someone who can create great coffee in Birmingham
Write: We’ve got some brand new Barista jobs in Birmingham – can you create great coffee?
That first sentence has some good keywords in it (Birmingham, coffee) but that second opening sentence has something more valuable – a search string (Barista jobs in Birmingham) that a lot of people are searching for each and every day, which we know from our keyword research.
By doing a little bit of planning and practising those keyword-adding exercises like the one above, you can soon start ranking higher just by adding keywords properly.
4. Write a great advert
Now you’ve researched and got the title right, it’s important to create something that candidates actually want to read and engage with.
Keep it to a good length – a few hundred words is good, and try to add bullet points, headings and subheadings to break up the important information. Something like this:
What the job is and where it is
A list of
- And what the candidate can expect
Maybe some qualifications and must haves
What’s in it for the candidate (It’s really important to talk into benefits here – and not just money, we mean cultural benefits)
Don’t forget to wrap up your job advert with a clear call to action, and repeat the closing date if you have one to create urgency and push your visitors to apply there and then. Only 6% of page visitors will apply first time, so you really need to capture attention and get them applying as quickly as possible.
5. Create great URLs, meta titles and descriptions
So you’ve written a great advert full of lovely keywords, and now it’s time to post the advert to your CMS or ask your webmaster to create a new listing. Stop.
Google doesn’t just check the content of your page. The algorithm will also look at the url (the web address of your job advert, e.g. yourcompany.com/jobs/job-advert-title) and the metadata (tags, additional code, page titles and the description that is displayed when Google shows your page to the world).
And guess what? You need to have great keywords here. Instead of a random jumble of letters or your own internal job number (stop posting that anywhere, by the way), create a URL that says something like /careers/barista-jobs-in-birmingham. Include a lovely description of the role that sits in the meta description box too, or ask someone to upload a meta description for you if you don’t know what one is.
A good tip is to keep your meta description to around 130 - 150 words, and to make the copy different to your job advert. This gives Google an additional handful of keywords and, in all honesty, other recruiters probably won’t be doing this.
And an expert level tip? “Implement Google AMP (accelerated mobile pages) so that your job listing loads fast. Speed is one of the top ranking factors, especially with traffic being 80% mobile. Of course, make sure your site is mobile-responsive too.”
If you don't know what any of that means, then remember, you can always ask your webmaster!
If you don’t do these things, then even the best job advert out there probably won’t make it to Google’s top search results.
6. Build links in your job adverts
This is one really easy trick that lots of us overlook. Google loves it when all the pages on a website are intertwined by using links to other pages. Google especially loves it when other good websites link back to your page too.
Use an html link in the text of your job adverts to take candidates on a journey. On your Barista job ad, create a link to your company’s values page, or show them similar roles nearby. Add a link to a consumer-facing page like ‘learn more’ so they can find out about your organisation. It can be as easy as that.
By adding more links, you increase your chance of Google liking your page, and pushing you up the rankings.
According to Dennis, another important thing to build into your job ads is video: “Include video in your posts, specifically an embedded YouTube video, so you can show up in Universal Search results. Guess who owns YouTube?”
7. Share your job advert in more places than Linkedin
Linkedin is great and we should all be using it, but think outside the box here. Driving traffic to a job advert is all about giving something to prospective candidates that is relevant, appealing and valuable. Oh, and if lots of people are visiting your job ad from sources that Google likes, then it may rank it higher too.
Think like the candidate and visit places online that they may frequent. Looking for a developer? Get involved with communities on GitHub, join Discord servers and scour Reddit for boards relevant to their skillset. You can then share your opportunity, that is, after you’ve built trust and shown that you’re genuinely interested in the topics and industry (which any good recruiter does, right?)
And Baristas? Check out the forums at the SCA Coffee Championships, join Baristanetwork.com or get in touch with a company that provides recognised Barista training. As well as improving your SEO, you might just find the ideal candidate on your quest to get more visitors!
Dennis Yu recommends posting live jobs everywhere you possibly can; “Share jobs all across social, especially Twitter. Google picks up these mentions, and then displays them in search results.”
8. Get featured on Google for Jobs
You’ll need to have a top-notch advert SEO-wise and an additional bit of code on your job ad page, but getting featured on Google’s own job search function is the Holy Grail for applications.
Remember to tag everything up, add the correct location, salary and supporting information and follow Google’s guidelines to give yourself the best chance of getting listed.
And Dennis’ final top tip? “Use these techniques for jobs you regularly fill, not one-off. No sense in trying to rank in Google for a job posting that expires in a couple weeks. SEO is about long-term exposure and traffic on keywords you care about.”
Now you’ve got SEO nailed, it’s time to learn how to write the perfect job advert. Luckily, we’ve got something to help with that!