Why should you care about SEO …but not stress too much

We get asked a lot about SEO by recruitment clients — it’s right they care. We care about SEO and work hard to make sure our our clients’ sites get the best ranking they can.

You should be optimistic about your site’s prospects — we find recruitment sites tend to rank well because:

  1. The nature of the business puts them at an immediate advantage with a steady stream of keyword-rich, frequently updated content — JOBS!
  2. A specialist recruitment product naturally ranks well as a good ‘web citizen’ — sites are built with a structure and content that makes things easy for the search engines.

Sometimes clients are approached by agencies promising great things (the SEO industry has had a patchy reputation and we’ve come across a whole range of abilities).

SEO agencies can sometimes focus on tweaks and changes ‘under the hood’ to the code and structure of a site. Search engines are getting less and less interested in these technical aspects (eg Google pays little attention to ‘meta’ tags these days). What really counts is high quality, fresh, interesting content and we believe this should be your focus.

As Dave Haygarth wrote recently on the Reverse Delta blog: “Nothing’s really changed as far as you and I are concerned…

  • create good content and ensure your site supports it well in its structure
  • market it well
  • don’t try and cook the books
  • have confidence in Google to get it right. Google’s reputation depends on getting it right. It will keep trying.
  • have realistic expectations and goals (can/should you really be on the first page for 34 million results?)
  • monitor and understand what traffic actually converts.”

Takeaway messages:

  1. SEO is important, but you’re probably doing pretty well already. Keep marketing yourself.
  2. Great job descriptions generate the most relevant visitors — make sure your team know this. 

That’s all for now, thanks for reading.

Why recruitment is all about the mobile

Why recruitment is all about the mobileThe world is heading mobile and the recruitment industry is probably travelling faster in that direction than many others.

Our stats show that close to 50% of website visitors are using mobile devices (iPhones, iPad, Android smartphones, etc) to browse recruitment websites, and the trend is upward.

We recently analysed around 100,000 emails generated from recruitment sites (job alerts, ‘positions you may be interested in’, etc) and saw that those figures were even higher. As an interesting aside job hunters seem to be increasingly wedded to their Apple devices, with IOS taking the lion’s share of operating system use.

Think about it for a moment: job hunters need to be discreet and responsive — they’re bound to be avoiding corporate networks. But it looks like they’re increasingly reliant on mobile devices outside of work too.

The lesson for us all is: ignore these users at your peril. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Think about the devices your users are reading emails on. Design accordingly.


Right now is a critical time for recruitment SEO

Google ‘Mobile-geddon’ is coming

…and sooner than you think

podiumWe don’t want to frighten you, but you should at least be concerned. Significant changes are coming on 21 April that will affect your search engine rankings.

The cards will fall one of two ways. If you’re on the right side of the cut, congratulations – you’ll feature higher than some of your competitors. If not, your more agile competitors are about to get a boost at your expense.

A couple of questions:

  1. Do you care about your Google rankings? Silly question, of course you do.
  2. Is your current website mobile friendly? And by that we mean one of two things — you have a separate mobile website, OR your main site is built using a responsive design (it displays equally happily on a desktop, laptop, tablet, tv, smartphone …or whatever else your visitors are using).

If the answer to the second question is ‘No!’ you’re about take a tumble down the search engine rankings, very soon.

Why is this? Because Google is about to make ‘mobile-friendly’ a critical indicator for rankings. Quite simply, you’ll need either a responsive design site or a mobile-specific site to stand any chance of a better ranking.

Check for yourself

But you don’t need to take our word for it. Pick a search, any search, here’s a sample set of results from Google telling you more: http://goo.gl/k3D2yL

Why should you care?

Why should you be concerned about how your website looks on mobiles and tablets? The short answer: because your visitors are using their mobiles to visit your site. And this is particularly true in recruitment, where potential candidates are avoiding the corporate network when looking at your site.

The more stark answer is, ‘because Google says you HAVE to care’.

How do I know if I my site is ok?

Open your website in your favourite browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE, etc) and resize the window – make it as big as you can, make it tall and thin, make it short and fat, just fiddle with the size and shape. Does the site content resize and redraw elegantly so the content still makes sense?

Look-up your site using your smartphone – does it look usable? Do the menus collapse down elegantly and still remain usable?

If yes, you’re ok with the latest Google changes.

If no, think seriously if you can take the hit. We all want to be high in the search rankings and we’re all by now used to this taking a bit of effort. This time it may require a bit of investment too.


Find out more

Talk to us if you want to know more about how these changes will affect your site. We’d be delighted to help. Call us on 08000 199 737 or get in touch here.


Useful resources



The single best thing you can do for great SEO…

Awareness of SEO has moved from the geek-sphere to the commonplace. Anyone vaguely in the trade will be familiar with the shift — people at social gatherings will now happily sidle up and ask ‘what should I be doing about my SEO?’ without shame.

The single best thing you can do for SEO is play great footballCollectively we’ve been in the trade now for well over 20 years and with Reverse Delta since 2002: we’re well used to the query.

Our answer has shifted over time, as the web matures and people have become wise to the smoke and mirrors of the early generation of ‘SEO gurus’, we’ve focused less on SEO as a separate activity and more on the way good practise, effective structure and great content will naturally keep the search engines interested.

More and more of this can be taken as read, with a well-crafted website from an established developer and built on a suitable web platform. There are many, many things you can do behind the scenes to keep the search engines interested …but more of these now simply fall out of a good development process.

Recruiters are at a big advantage here – they have rich sites, with a long history of dynamic content and ever-changing updates. In that sense, the nature of their business is naturally more interesting to the spiders …and especially so if their site is built with a search engine optimised development product like FXRecruiter.

Just play great football

The single best thing you can do for SEO is to have great content. Just as the single best thing a football team can do to get noticed is to play great football. If you have something interesting to say, people will be interested. And if people are interested, the chances are the search engines will want to find and promote you.

Nobody wants to back a loser, and that’s how you should think about the search engines. They like a flutter — see Google’s ‘I’m feeling Lucky’ button — but mostly they back the winners. And winners have great content.

Make sure your website has the basics covered — useful tagging, image tags, a good rich structure that’s easily crawled, headings that match the content — but don’t try and be something you’re not. Be yourself, and be excellent.

Getting SEO right for recruitment sites in the Brave New World

It’s been a while. That phrase probably sets all the context you need for this blog post.  I’ve sadly neglected this blog and not made the time to write.

I’m not particularly ashamed of that – we all need to go off and make money once in a while… it’s more that looking at this blog now in early 2014 the first thing that strikes me is what a different place we all inhabit than when I last posted here almost two years ago.

Today, when working with my recruitment clients, the acronym SEO has gradually taken on such a different meaning. It’s so much more about advice, pointers, myth-busting and hand-holding than it used to be.   Ten years ago, SEO practitioners had to ‘do’ stuff. Much less so, these days. Software (CMSs) has improved and the majority of sites do the majority of what they should do out-of-the-bag.  So SEO has become more about the creation and finessing of good content in many ways, rather than rolling eyes at a nasty mess of bad source code.

But let’s remind ourselves of the basics. The success factors in optimising recruitment sites still falls into three main groups:

  • On Page SEO – what you do on your site to help gain meaningful traffic from search engines
  • Off Page SEO – what you do away from your site to help gain meaningful traffic from search engines
  • Compliance – being aware of and responding to guidance, intelligence and feedback from search engines, their rules, violations, warnings, etc. 

You can read more on this here on SearchEngineLand

There are some things a SEO practitioner can influence and others that only the web content / admin person can.  Generally, the sway is still moving towards the latter and away from the former.

Just as social becomes increasingly important as a signal of quality and relevance, spam and poor quality or paid-for inbound links are weeded out as considered violations that can lead to penalties.

Neither of us has much control over that. We can simply put in the request to Google to help us clean it up – but ultimately we are at their behest.

Coming from an SEO background, we built FXRecruiter (our recruitment website CMS / marketing software) from the ground up with SEO in mind, so those “on page factors” that we can influence, we already do.  I won’t isolate any of our competitors – most people in software development have got a grip on SEO over the years. It’s not just us. The rest is really about content (which we don’t traditionally do) and links (mainly social – but all of which you should not try and ‘rig’, anyway.

Good relevant content will naturally get linked to and shared anyway.  We’ve always said this. Google’s always known it. Nothing new, but worth chanting…!  This will reward you in traffic and ranking.   But better still, it rewards you with engagement and quality relationships with your visitors.

We think the fundamental principle is the same as it has always been: Content is King. Google is getting better at finding the good content and filtering the trash.  Of course it is.  It has to.

Most decent website CMS systems will help Google make ‘sense’ of that content, and we are proud of the high traffic sites we have developed using the FXRecruiter CMS.

As a recruiter, the majority of your content is your jobs and we’ve said that many times before. This is what the majority of your audience are looking for. Your keywords are actually obvious from the categories and locations you serve:

[job title] in [category] in [location] – e.g. “project manager in IT in London”

You then have more generic search terms for which our landing pages are optimised, e,g,

“IT Jobs” – don’t expect to rank well for this – or get good quality referrals as it’s not specific to what you do. There will be sites more relevant than yours in Google’s view.

“IT Jobs in Oil & Gas in Buenos Aires” – high chance of performing well – more relevant to what you do.

You should see SEO as one part of a holistic and measured digital marketing process that should also encompass email, social, content syndication.

Erm… still.

Evenbase has acquired Jobrapido, for €30m

Just to prove how important feeding your jobs to the job aggregation sites is, Evenbase has just bought JobRapido for a staggering €30m (or c. £25m)

Evenbase (owners of Broadbean and Jobsite amongst other big players) have brought their competition closer to home to ride the powerful stats of the job aggregator – with

“Last month, Jobsite had 5m unique visitors; Jobrapido had 32m – we’ve gone from 5m to 37m,” Evenbase chief executive Keith Potts said.

Read more here on the Recruiter wesbsite www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2012/04/jobrapido-acquisition-supercharges-evenbase/

More jobseekers using social media in the USA

Fascinating report into the current US job market sparked my interest. I’m usually careful about reblogging or assuming that what goes in the US is relevant to my UK clients, but this report By Jobvite (PDF) contains lots of food for thought.

It stands to reason really when you understand that referrals are still fundamentally the most common way to secure a new job.

Young professionals build their networks faster and generate more referrals online (when compared to previous generations still using more traditional methods) and social media is the arena for that networking more and more.

The astronomical growth of social networks has created a new way for companies and candidates to connect online.   Nielsen calculates social network traffic grew by 43% from June 2009 to June 2010, and social network activity is now the single largest activity online, dwarinng online games, email and search. And Americans are now turning to their social networks to find jobs.

  • 44% of all job seekers cited referrals and/or social networks as the source of their most recent job, compared to 32% for job boards (note, respondents could select multiple options).
  • 18% of respondents ages 18-24 and 19% of respondents ages 25-34 used social networks to find their current job, compared to 9% of those 35-44,  4% of those 45-54 , and 1% of those 55+.
  • Extrapolated to the national adult population, approximately 14.4 million US American job seekers would credit online social networks for their current/most recent job.

Read the report here