I’ve had a couple of queries about my post on the SEO template for a job details page – in particular about the job description and title itself, so wanted to expand on that a little.
I still seem to come across so many job descriptions on websites that appear to have been written for newspaper job ads. ‘Attractive’ headlines or calls to action may attract the eye in a newspaper, but the words are of no use to someone searching.
Make the job title simple and to the point.
- Use keywords that people might search for in the job title
- Don’t waste words
- Describe – don’t ‘attract’
- Forget humour – keep it plain and businesslike
- Keep it to about one line (8–10 words, generally)
So a good job title would be:
“Senior Mechanical Engineer for Rail Company in South Yorkshire, Permanent”
and a dreadful one would be:
“Are you a fast-mover who likes to keep on the rails?” …you get my point. Think ‘keywords’ – which candidate would possibly be searching for a ‘fast mover’?
The description should always start with a brief summary paragraph. Think about having 30 seconds to get all the info possible across to a candidate. Use words they would use.
- Business area
- Role type
- Summary of tasks
- Level / seniority
Remember that the first 160 characters of the opening paragraph is likely to be (or at least should be) the meta description. This has keyword value in Google and other search engines, so get keywords in early.
Things you can use without ruining your SEO
- If you need to attract people to certain words, then use bold (or better, <strong> tags) – if needs be. Search engines pay little or no attention to whether something is bold (depending on who you listen to) but the human eye can’t help but pick up on certain attractive words.
- Don’t be afraid of a bit of repetition – over-describe the role if needs be
- Qualifications can also be great keywords in some circumstances – list them in the job
- Use the word job. It’s a job description.
- Location, location, location. Say where it is. People need to know. They might be travelling to it.
…and things you shouldn’t use
- Precious few people search for ‘role’ or ‘vacancy’. It’s a waste of a word in SEO terms. If you’re going to use it, use it sparingly.
- “My Client has an opening for…”, etc. It’s obvious that they’re your client. Waste of words.
- Humour, sarcasm, etc. Not good, waste of words, sets a bad tone.
- ‘Headline speak’ or ‘Questions’ – your site is giving information out to people. It’s plain patronising to says things like “Do you fancy a change of direction?” and it’s off-putting.
The template for a good job description
Job Title – round about ten words, keyword-rich.
- describe the role, location, employer-type and anything else pertinent
- keywords in the first 160 characters.
- about candidate requirements
- employer type
- job tasks
- area, hours of work, etc.
- conditions and pay
- holidays if appropriate.
‘About’ the application:
- closing date if appropriate
- further contact info if appropriate
- excluded applicants.
Anything else about the job:
- what will happen after application
- permanent or part time, etc
- headline allowances, remuneration, and other attractive things in the package
We still see lots of lazy job descriptions pasted straight in from the client’s text. It shows – it looks bad on you and bad on your client. They’re paying you handsomely to represent them, so deserve a good job.
First, the chances are your client isn’t a professional writer and will slip into many of the jargon traps of ‘what a job description should sound like’. The things you’re now so keen to avoid. Second, they almost certainly won’t be thinking about SEO when drafting the description.
Hopefully, after reading this you now know what needs to be done. So do a good job for your clients and your candidates.