Help Me, Wanda! #6: How Do I Outrank Indeed?

Help Me, Wanda! #6: How Do I Outrank Indeed?

Dear Wanda,

I’m looking for ways to get our career site ranked higher on search engines. My number one goal is to outrank Indeed. If we can be the top search result, we’ll be the first thing candidates click on. What are some ways we can work towards achieving that number one spot?


Rising in the Ranks

Dear Ranks,

At the risk of becoming unpopular in my first sentence, I’m going to have to say that your goal of outranking Indeed is unattainable. All is not lost, however! First let’s talk about how Google works and why Indeed has that #1 spot on lockdown, and then we’ll talk about some things that you can do to help.

Why is Indeed in the #1 Spot?

At its most basic level, Google tries to answer questions for people. If you think about the query “software engineer jobs in Chicago,” Google will want to send you to the most popular site and the one that has the most answers to your question. If I look at software engineers in Chicago on Indeed, I get 4,181 results. My guess is that your career site doesn’t have that many results for the same query (or for any of your roles, for that matter). When we combine this with the fact that Indeed has 140M unique visitors each month, you can hopefully see why Google ranks them (and other job sites) ahead of your corporate site. And it’s not going to be changing anytime soon.

So What Do I Do?

Having a good media plan and making sure that your jobs are covered on popular sites is the best way to make sure your jobs are getting the attention that they deserve. To start this, I would recommend putting yourself in the candidate’s shoes and doing a job search for “XXXX (title) job in XXX” (location). Which sites come up first? Those are the sites that you want to make sure you have coverage on. It’s simple but effective and a nice starting point for your media strategy. Once you’ve identified your targeted sites, then you can see if sponsoring jobs or placing paid ads makes sense for your budget and goals.

You don’t want to pick someone up in a limo and take them to McDonald’s.

If you’re still interested in the SEO side of things and worried about rankings, you should check out How to Rank on Google for “nursing jobs,” an excellent blog written by some of my friends here at TMP. It gives some great tips that companies of all sizes can sink their corporate teeth into.

And what good recruiting article would be complete without mentioning content? I see this happen a lot with clients, so I want to mention that your destination for candidates is equally important as how you get them there. By having engaging content on your career site that explains not only your culture but also talks about the challenges and rewards of a particular role, you are validating someone’s decision to choose to apply (or not) to your company. Think about it: You don’t want to pick someone up in a limo and take them to McDonald’s.

Don’t spend all your time worrying about attracting the right people and advertising your jobs if you aren’t giving candidates enough information to make the final decision about you as an employer.

Happy hiring,


Have a hiring question you’d like Wanda to answer? Tweet using the hashtag #HelpMeHire and your question could end up in a future “Help Me, Wanda!” column.

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Written by Wanda

Wanda has spent the past 20 years in the recruitment marketing world, using her no-nonsense approach to hire the best talent for companies in need. She is a huge Montgomery Biscuits fan and craft beer aficionado. When not dispensing career advice, Wanda loves traveling the globe with her Chocolate Lab, Cooper. She currently resides in St. Louis but hopes to one day live on the moon and start her own improv training center.

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