An excellent article. It is amazing how many companies miss a trick in not optimising their website properly, especially given the huge search volumes as illustrated here.
Why Recruitment SEO is Important
Later this month I will be traveling to Calgary, Canada on behalf of CareerBuilder to speak to some of their potential customers about the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) in the recruitment industry, or as they refer to it: “recruitment SEO.” Recruitment SEO is the strategy that employers use to tap into the talent pools searching online for jobs. Companies looking to outsource their job portals, or online recruitment strategies should read this post.
Many companies use an Applicant Tracking System, or “ATS” to manage their job applications and resume data. Data is fed to the ATS either through internal sources, such as the company’s website, or through external sources like job and resume boards such as CareerBuilder.com. The ATS makes it much easier for employers to manage the recruitment workflow, as well as data mining, collecting and reporting.
Problems with ATS
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have been a little slow to the SEO game. Some of the problems that have plagued their systems (and still do) are blocking the search engines from indexing the job content in the robots.txt file, putting searchable content behind password protected areas that a search engine cannot access, using improper URL structures that lack target keywords or that are overly dynamic, and much more.
Applicant Tracking Systems have also failed to address mobile content, and how to exactly integrate social media into the process. In essence, the ATS systems were built to manage the recruitment process, and not the online marketing process. But this is where CareerBuilder’s Talent Network tool comes in. They leverage your existing ATS by putting their platform on top of it, enabling you to leverage your online marketing components. Not only that, but you also get CareerBuilder’s proprietary algorithms matching your job postings to qualified candidates instantly.
Want the top talent? They need to be able to find you.
According to ERE.net, a recruitment intelligence community, there are over 124 million job related searches through Google each month. Below are some global search volumes for some general job descriptions, using the Google Keyword Tool:
I’m going to pick on Rackspace as an example of what enterprise companies are doing for recruitment, and then show you how it can be improved. Rackspace is a big magnet for talent here in San Antonio, and attracts techies from all over the country (and the world) to come and work for the company with Google-style perks.
If I do a search for “jobs at racksapce”, it can easily find their job recruitment portal – www.rackertalent.com. But what if I don’t know who Rackspace is, and I’m a java developer from New Jersey? What if my wife and I are moving to Texas, and I need to find a job there? If I search for “java developer jobs in texas”, not only do I not find Rackspace in the first page, but I don’t find them in the first 10 pages! They are not listed in some of the other Job Search Engines (JSE’s) like indeed.com and others.
3 Ways Rackspace Could Improve Their Recruitment SEO
1. Use unique URL’s with keywords. For example, on this Java Developer job listing, notice how the URL stays at www.rackertalent.com/careers/? They would be better served with a URL such as www.rakcertalent.com/jobs-in-texas/software-development/java-developer/. In this case, we would recommend “jobs in Texas” as the intermediary page that accumulates all of the jobs in Texas, then by category, such as “Software Development” – then onward to the job details page.
2. Customize the Title Tags and Meta Descriptions. In this case, they are using the exact same title tag and meta description throughout the entire site.
3. Create unique job description detail pages. This entire site is dynamically generated, which was probably a lot of fun for a developer, but does not create any SEO value. In fact, according to Google, RackerTalent.com only has around 200 pages in their index to cover the 156 open jobs, the blog and other content on the site. They are leaving all of the job position data out of the search engine index.
CareerBuilder’s Talent Network platform could alleviate these SEO issues, and immediately find matching candidates for their 156 openings.
Ryan, Thank you for the feedback on our career site! Our approach and strategy for the site was to first build the bones then recruit Rackers to be a part of it. Once these two pieces were in place, we started looking towards the methods that you describe above. For that effort, we have engaged Jobs2Web and plan to launch our new and improved "Careers" section in the very near future. The base philosophy is that we want to share an authentic employment brand with candidates who would consider our organization as a place to work. In order to do that, we felt it necessary to enlist Rackers from across the organization to be a part of the fun. In an effort to improve the overall candidate experience, we wanted to make this rich content available for job seekers as they go through the evaluation process. In my experience, job seekers who simply click and apply to jobs, without doing research and getting to know the company, have a much lower chance of getting hired. It's all a work in progress at this point and we will surely go through some trial and error. That said, we've been having a blast highlighting life inside the Rack for our future talent. Thanks again for the feedback. Good stuff as always! Michael Long t: @TheRedRecruiter
Hi Michael, I think that makes a lot of sense. You basically created the culture pieces so that once a job applicant was directed to the site, they could learn more about why they should work at Rackspace. The only thing (IMHO) is that by doing the SEO as a follow-on phase, you essentially lose all that time you could have been building it up, instead of starting it now. But again, in your case, this might work out since RS already has a high Page Authority (52/100) and Domain Authority (43/100) with the search engines, along with 7,700 links pointing in - and a lot of employers are not going to have this.