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.

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