SEO Is the Secret Recruitment Weapon You’re Not Using

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The pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of life, including recruitment. Remote work has made it easier than ever for candidates to search for job opportunities and even interview without ever leaving their homes. On the flip side, remote work has also opened up national and even global talent pools for organizations that had once been tied to the idea of only hiring local talent.

The arrival of the fully remote workforce has benefitted both the employers and employees — but how can you ensure your company captures the attention of top talent when competing with employers around the world in the remote job market?

When many people think of search engine optimization (SEO), they immediately think of it as a marketing tool and a way of driving lead generation via web traffic. While it’s true that SEO has primarily been a concern of marketing professionals over the years, it can also be a powerful recruitment tactic if you know how to use it.

Here’s a look at how you can use SEO to attract skilled candidates to your talent pipeline:

Optimized Content Leads to Increased Visibility

With so many pages elbowing for space on the internet, online content needs to be optimized to be seen — and that includes your recruiting-oriented content. Whether it’s a job ad, a blog post touting your employer brand, or even your company’s careers page, you need to optimize it for search engines if you want it to show up in a prospective candidate’s Google searches.

The higher your recruitment content ranks in search engine results, the more visible your employer brand will be. The more visible your employer brand, the more likely candidates are to find you and apply to your jobs.

Google takes many factors into account when ranking pages in the search results, like page load time, backlinks, quality of content, proper use of keywords, and more. Plus, search engine algorithms are constantly changing in order to produce richer results for the user. That means SEO isn’t a one-and-done activity. You need to stay on top of the trends to make sure your website continues to rank highly.

Note that SEO isn’t limited to your website. Every time you utilize a third-party site to post job ads, you have an opportunity to optimize that content so that your listings are put in front of the right people.

SEO Makes a Good Impression on Candidates

Many interested candidates conduct research on potential employers ahead of applying or interviewing for a job. If they encounter a slow or disorganized website, they may think twice about moving forward. Even worse, if your content doesn’t rank highly in search engine results, they may never find the information they’re looking for at all.

An attractive, fast-loading website filled with rich content and structured via a logical sitemap speaks volumes about a brand. It shows prospects that your company is innovative, engaged with technology, and invested in its image. Your optimized website leaves a stronger impression on candidates, making them more enthusiastic about the job opportunities you have to offer.

Work Backwards From Your Ideal Candidate

So that’s what SEO can do for you — but how, exactly, do you optimize your career content?

It helps to work backward by envisioning the ideal candidate first. Start by identifying the skills this candidate would have and the things they would prioritize in a new job. Of course, these will vary depending on the job, but some examples might be: project management, communication skills, proficiency in Google Analytics, professional development opportunities, remote work arrangements, etc. The idea is to predict the terms your ideal candidate will use to search for jobs like yours.

Once you have a list of likely search terms, rank them in order of importance. Then, you’ll use this information to craft optimized job ads that include all the right keywords.

The most important keywords (job title, experience level, and other nonnegotiables) should be worked into the title of the ad and the ad’s main header, as these are two of the most important elements of on-page optimization.

Now is not the time to get creative. Many businesses don’t realize they’re shooting themselves in the foot when they share job ads with titles like “social media wizard” or “content development guru.” If your ideal candidate is searching for jobs with titles like “social media account manager” or “digital content director,” your ads won’t rank highly in their searches. In order to attract quality candidates who meet the criteria, it’s best to be straightforward and descriptive with your job ads. Save the creativity for the rest of your web presence.

Plenty of businesses already use SEO to boost customer leads, but relatively few tap its full value for recruitment. By creating a strong web presence through quality, targeted content, you can easily attract more top-tier candidates right to your organization’s open roles.

Tori Hagy is SEO account manager at Be Found Online.

Before heading up the SEO team at Be Found Online, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency, Tori specialized in content creation as a medical copywriter. Now, with eight years of SEO experience under her belt, Tori works with clients to optimize both content and SEO to ensure they reach their business goals.