As the title of this article clearly explains, I am not an SEO expert. Yet, in my line of work, I often work in tandem with some experts and while great SEO doesn’t come cheap, there are some ways of educating yourself and creating more “juice” on the career site you have until you can afford a guru.
There are a couple of caveats with SEO: The first is that it’s always changing; the second is that it requires you to always be learning. While large HR Technology vendors can usually afford SEO services and big companies have marketing analysis firms do it for them, smaller staffing agencies, SMB talent acquisition teams and one man recruiting firms rarely have such luxuries. So when consultants come in and tell them they need to “optimize” their “career sites” they’re like “WHAT?!”
Even though you’re a recruiter, you may have a day where you need to know just enough SEO to:
a) hire someone to do it for you
b) get the most out of your website
c) “optimize” your “career site”
And while I’m no SEO expert, I can run through the basics with you.
K is for Keyword
What do people look for when they find you? That’s all a keyword is and there are lots of easy ways to find out what yours are. You can ask your clients (and family and friends) to search for your site and keep track. You can use common sense (WWYT- What Would You Type?) or you can use Google’s AdWords tool, which is super simple and gives you a ton of ideas. Now I know there are other search engines out there, but this is NOT expert SEO. Keyword research is essential to figuring out what both candidates and clients may type into that bar on the top of their browser. Once you’ve figured out that list of 50 or so keywords, sprinkle them naturally throughout your web copy. If you have a blog, try to use 5-10 in each post.
L is for Linking
We just talked about blogging for a moment. Now you don’t need to have a blog, but making enough content is the key to getting those golden tickets of the Internet world— links. But it’s not just about a number of links, it’s about making sure that high quality sources are linking back to you, not odd spammer people. So to simplify, create good content in a consistent fashion and let people—especially people who link, like bloggers, online editors, and even PR folks—know about it.
A is for Anchor
Remember those keywords we discussed? They need to be linked up if at all possible, preferably to some piece of content on your site that explains or expounds upon that very phrase. Instead of linking “click here,” link up your job titles or particular industry niche.
B is for Bounce
Pay attention to how quickly people bounce off your website. If you’ve done a good job with keywords but have very little in the way of useful content or a difficult-to-navigate website, then you need to fix that. The easiest way to see which pages are unattractive to your visitors is by taking a look at your analytics. Most blogging platforms or CMS offer Google Analytics or something similar.
S is for Social
Make sure you are taking full advantage of social media. Search engines use signals from activity on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and others. While social is great for letting people know about new posts, specials and generally engaging with your target market, it’s also SEO gold (at least right now).
P is for Pay Attention to Me!
This isn’t strictly an SEO tip, but it’s useful as a part of an overall SEO strategy. You ever notice how people say (as I did, up above) you should make sure high quality websites are linking back to you? How do you do that, pray tell? Do you twist their arm? Pay them in golden bullion? The secret is by providing excellent, non-promotional content for free, and making sure you frequently give them links and promote their useful articles within your own text, posts or white papers. Kind of a pay-it-forward thing.
D is for Downtime
Which is a no-no. Any site will experience at least one outage but if you host with an unreliable company, have huge image only pages that take forever to load, and don’t store your code and documents online, you are asking for a hit.