No matter what you’ve been hearing lately, search engine optimization (SEO) still matters. A lot. It drives higher brand awareness and leads to lower cost per hire. But the fact that it has been around a long time leads many in the talent acquisition space to think they know everything about SEO. So we asked our Inbound Marketing Team to answer the following question: What are some SEO best practices for talent acquisition and recruitment marketing? Here are their answers.
John Elstad: Fundamentals Are Still Fundamentally Important
There seems to be a social media-fueled arms race for “content” in today’s world of digital marketing, and the pervasive thought is that just by doing this alone you’ll rank highly for everything under the sun.
However, the foundational SEO work still needs to be put in place before you’ll have a chance to see visibility for keywords that you want. It’s still very important to build out the content that your users want to seek out, and to structure your pages, and link strategies accordingly. Google relies heavily on a lot of the signals that they have used in the past to generate rankings.
It’s very important to tell job seekers why they should come work for you, in the form of content, and then promote that through social media. It’s just as important to have the SEO fundamentals of those pages laced-up nicely before you roll out a content strategy, and then, to measure performance over time.
Adam Bednar: Real SEO Takes Time
There are plenty of gimmicks and under-the-table “strategies” floating around that have promised first-page rankings on Google within a matter of days. Simply put, authentic organic traffic takes time to snowball and make a measurable impact. Want to figure out correct on-page optimization, research current trends, and boost your site’s authority – all in a few weeks? Not going to happen. Give it time, folks. You’re likely to come up against established sites that have been playing the SEO game for years already. Don’t get discouraged when your site doesn’t instantly skyrocket to page #1.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But then again, I don’t think Google existed back then.
Reagan King: It’s Never “Done”
Change is inevitable. With change comes reaction, and many people in the search engine optimization (SEO) world are very familiar with change. However, clients see a rise or fall in metrics as something great or something terrible. Rarely is there a happy medium or understanding that these things happen, and they happen frequently.
A common scenario has been the decline in desktop traffic and an increase in mobile traffic. With the recent announcement of Apple’s iPhone 6 and the hype surrounding it, it should come as no surprise that more and more people are relying solely on mobile and tablets, and less on desktops. As this trend continues to grow (and increase the gap between the two), we can expect to see these numbers continue to gravitate further away from one another.
With a simple theory comes a clear conclusion: desktop traffic may be declining, but mobile traffic is increasing more than ever. With that being said, a shift in focus is needed. Keeping mobile in mind, the health of your site – from an SEO standpoint – is crucial moving forward as we continue to see more and more mobile/tablet usage and fewer end-users chained to a bulky desktop.
Kenzie Austin: Balance People and Machines
It is possible to create a site that is accessible to the search engines AND enjoyable for the actual people (visitors) who land on your pages. If you put too much focus on what you think will impress the search engines and help your site rank higher, you are forgetting your most valuable audience – the candidate. Move away from constantly tweaking your site for the search engines and let’s focus our SEO efforts on what’s most beneficial to our visitors.
Patrick Welch: Use Google’s Tools
A simple way to increase organic traffic is by leveraging the tools that Google provides marketers, and one of the easiest to take advantage of is their own social network, Google+. Unlike many social media platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook, Google+ acts as a mini-blog and can easily help increase the amount of organic traffic to a website.
Many bloggers have found that when they share their posts on both their website and Google+, their posts will index quicker. This is due to the fact that Google does not actively index Facebook or Twitter results, meaning they are not sending Google search bots through these social media sites to find relevant results. But they do for their own social platform, Google+. This should be reason enough to create and keep a Google+ page up to date for a product or business.
In addition, Google+ helps marketers take advantage of Google’s personalized search results, which provide search results based on users preferences and previous searches, including any businesses or products they may follow. For instance, if an individual is searching for a new smart watch, and someone in their Google Circles has recently posted an article related to a specific smart watch, that article has a higher probability to have a high page rank in that user’s personalized search results, as it’s within the searchers influence circles.
Wait, so what’s the point?
Google+ accounts are easy to make and maintain, so take a few moments to create, personalize, and leverage your Google+ accounts by sharing useful articles, posts, and pictures in order to obtain more followers and views. This will provide a continual increase in organic traffic, which should lead to an increased click-through rate, over time.
Adrian Rojas: Your Analysts Are On Your Team
Clients often think, we SEO analysts are huddled up in some dimly-lit room, surrounded by empty Mountain Dew Code Red bottles, while writing thousands of lines of code with our carpel tunnel-stricken fingers. That’s not true. In fact, if that were the job description, I wouldn’t be doing it (though, Mountain Dew Code Red is mad good.)
Instead, clients should know that what we do is simple and relatable. We analyze numbers and trends, and then make recommendations based upon them; it isn’t some sort of overly complex thing, though, we in the field certainly want to think so, in order to inflate our heads. Clients, do get to know your SEO analysts better and ask questions. SEO analysts, get to know your clients better by explaining things as simply and matter-of-factly as possible. SEO is a two-way street in a residential neighborhood—and not some sort of high-speed chase down the autobahn.
Erica Goldberg: Don’t Forget About Images
So, you’ve created a really great site that is ranking highly in Google for the exact keywords you want it to rank for. Everything is running smoothly until one day, you do a Google search for a keyword string you’re ranking well for and accidentally hit “images” in Google – and no images from your site show up on that page, nor at the top of normal search result pages.
Just like pages on your site, images on each page can be optimized for search engines by updating the alt text in the code for that image (short for alternative text). Since search engines can’t see the physical images, they use this coded text to understand what that image is, so it’s important to put your keywords into the alt text for your images. If the image has a caption, add your keywords in there as well. If the image file size is too big, consider making it smaller in order to decrease the load time of that page (Google and users like when pages load quickly!). Images drive a ton of traffic to your page, so why not optimize them for search engines?
So there you have it. Seven experts in the SEO talent acquisition field and their wisdom on how to get the most out of Google and other search engines. For even more actionable information on perfecting your SEO, take a look at the other articles within Meshworking.