No matter where your business is located or how many members on your team, no business can escape the ‘War for Talent’. In the last two decades, you could say that hiring has shifted from a seller’s to a buyer’s market. Where once, the primary goal was to narrow down your seach among dozens to hundreds of qualified applicants, today you need to attract as may talented professionals as possible.
And the key to that here in the Google age is to appear in search engine results. Which means that SEO is no longer the exclusive territory of your marketing team. Today, it is necessary to optimise your job listings so that the best possible job candidates come across it in their search. In other words: On-Page SEO tactics. Let’s explore the basics of on-page SEO for job adverts.
The first step is to understand how and why SEO works. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and simply means that it is easier for search engines to bring up your page when users search for something relevant. On-Page SEO is the first and most basic type. It simply matches the word and phrases in your content with the keywords a search engine user (in this case, a job seeker) types into the box.
Therefore, what you need most is for the words in your job advert to match the keywords job seekers are using to search for positions. If this seems like good news, you’re right. Organic On-Page SEO is surprisingly easy if you write with detail and clarity. Because when you describe the job accurately, your advert will have all the right words for great candidates to find it. And that leads us to our next point.
Know What You’re Looking For
The most important part of writing a great SEO’d job advert is to know what you want in a candidate. This probably means that the hiring manager should write both the description of the role and the list of skills required (and desired) to fill the position. And when they do so, they should have a very clear idea of what a new hire will trained in, asked to do, and assigned to in the next year. All too often, either aren’t solid on exactly what the new person will do or they have a dream candidate in mind and list requirements that appear far too demanding for the actual workload and salary range would indicate.
There are two important aspects of the job advert: The description and the listed skills. Develop them separately, doing whichever first is easiest for you. Then fill out the details. If you have a ‘wishlist’ of skills and experience, include them! You absolutely want people with these skills to find your advert. But also make that wishlist clearly separate from the minimum requirements or great candidates might accidentally think they’re not qualified to apply.
So be absolutely clear about what it is candidates will be doing, what experience they need, and what is expected of them. The mroe specific you can be, and accurately so, the better SEO will work for you to find the right candidates.
Use Industry-Standard Language
The next step is to choose the words you use carefully. Any SEO expert will tell you that “keywords” are the most important part. What this means is that you want to match up the words in your content with the words job seekers type in. These are how search engines judge the “relevance” of a result. The more keywords match from search to content, and in the same sequence, the better.
What does this mean for you? It’s simple: Use industry-standard language. Make sure the language you use matches what professionals use to search. Even if your business uses unique internal job titles, advertise with titles that most closely match the role in the broader industry so that job seekers can find your advert when they search for roles that match their experience.
The Details that Candidates Want to See
The next thing to think about are the details your candidates are looking for. Remember that valuable professionals are often already employed, but looking for a new job that better suits their desired working environment or lifestyle. They may be looking for a job that has better opportunities for career advancement, a friendlier office environment, or a more reliable schedule. Many are looking for specific benefits, or even specific job tasks that they’ve decided is important to them.
This means that they are not always searching just for job titles, salaries, and skill keywords. Because what they really want is more personal, so too will their keywords be. When writing the job description, try to put yourself in a job seeker’s perspective. Describe the working environment, expected hours, and task variety with clear detailed words that match what would be used to search for a better working situation. What would you type into Google, Monster, or Glassdoor if you wanted a job with the perks this position has to offer?
You should also seriously consider offering information where other companies tend to hold back. Be up front about the salary range, including what you’re looking for to qualify for the upper reaches of that range. Mention exactly what kind of tasks the role does, and the kind of position growth the hired candidate might see in the future. These are the things candidates care about, so SEO best practices says share them.
Divide and Conquer the Layout
Finally, how you lay out your job advert matters a surprising amount. You can’t just write a great description and list of skills. The information has to be arranged in a way that is easy for search engine crawlers to understand. Fortunately, crawlers are designed to read job adverts in the formats that are most often used.
So start by looking at other job adverts or use a standard template to figure out where to put your job title, location, salary, and description information. We should note, header size does matter, so don’t toy with these settings. Your most important headers should be in H2, followed by H3 for subheadings if necessary.
That said, use as many headings as you need. If your job description runs long, give sub-headings to the sections so candidates can skim for the information they want. If your skill list is separated by duties or necessary vs wishlist, be clear with separate subheadings. As you might suspect, detailed headings are great for SEO and will help candidates understand your advert once they find it.
Writing a job advert with great on-page SEO is easier than it sounds. Mostly, you need to have a clear idea of what the job requires and write in a way job candidates (and therefore their search engine queries) can understand. For more great tips on how to optimise your hiring search at every stage in the process, contact us today