Search Engine Results: Providing Engaging Content and a Great Experience

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Nov 19, 2012

What did we do before Google? Drivers needed maps – or their memories – to navigate from one place to another. Arguments couldn’t be resolved with instantaneous, fact-based support and job seekers had to rely on classified advertising and job boards to find the next opportunity. But that has changed as “The Google Machine” has taken over.

Each month, more than 338 million people use Google and other search engines to look for job-related content. 76 percent of job seekers are using mobile devices to search and more than half of all Internet users have Google as their home page – according to market research firm ComScore – making Google, by default, the world’s largest job board.

It’s no secret that investing in search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) strategies enable organizations to leverage search engines for sourcing talent. Companies, however, also need to consider how the audience thinks and adjust their strategies to reflect user expectations. It’s time for companies to start putting search and the resulting content at the center of their sourcing strategies.

According to Google Insights for Search, the term “job” shows up in about 30 searches out of 100. The term “careers” only shows up in approximately 15 searches out of 100 in the same time period.

While active job seekers may be using the terms ‘job’ or ‘career,’ location-specific search terms or looking for a specific company by name when they search online, passive job seekers are more likely to see your company’s information if it appears in conversations they’re having on social networks or if the content is optimized and included on sites and platforms where they’re already active. For recruiters, optimizing search is less about analyzing algorithms and more about ensuring the right content is surfaced by search engines. Providing your audience with information that goes beyond a simple job description, to that which is visually engaging and that showcases the work experience and culture of the organization, will drive deeper connection to your brand.

Here are some tips for optimizing search and getting your jobs in front of candidates.

Go beyond the job description

The best way to showcase company culture is to show it. Instead of flat, text-based content, showcase a mix of images, videos, employee profiles, news articles, location profiles, product releases, awards and other information. This helps candidates understand who you are and the value you bring as an employer.

Be location and role specific

Don’t fall into the trap, however, of showing the same, generic images and videos on all pages. What you show needs to be relevant and compelling – allowing the user to envision themselves in the job and at the company. If it is a job in New York, show images and videos of the office in New York, employees with whom they may be working in New York, and highlight what is nearby – restaurants, transportation, the gym, etc. If the job is for a web developer, show cool projects the company has worked on in the past, awards won, or other specific information that can help you “close the deal.”

Be visually compelling

As noted above, search enables users access to not only text, but images, videos, and more. Leverage existing photo libraries and current employees as content generators and ask them to use their mobile phones to snap photos of their work environment, colleagues, etc. Posting content to Pinterest and Instagram is a great way to start gathering and sharing compelling images that will be indexed via search engines. As an example, check out #ShowTMP on Instagram to see some of our team members at work.

Get gritty

Monitor the social space to see what others are saying about you. Be prepared to take the good with the bad. In addition to a straight search using your company name, conduct a secondary search with your company name followed by the word “sucks.” Taking an honest look at your brand can provide insight into the image others have of your company and reveal areas for improvement.

Show some link love

Building a link strategy for both external and internal content is important to boost SEO. However, it’s not just who you link to that is important. Google considers URL longevity (how long the URL has been actively used), both yours and that of the site to which you are linking, as well as the content appropriateness (does it match up with what the site claims to represent) of tags and pages. Take this into consideration when creating content and identifying organizations that link to your online destinations. This will create a better environment for sharing content and raises the likelihood of your information being found.

There is another (and more important) benefit to making your job descriptions more compelling relating to search. Aside from all of the tips and tricks around search engine optimization (SEO) that these assets can provide, it will also make a better user experience – which in turn will motivate more people to link to the pages. The power of a legitimate link in SEO hasn’t changed; it is still the single most important factor in SEO. The more people who link to you, the better you will rank. Peel back all of the algorithm changes and the basic rule remains – when Google wants to decide whom to rank where, they say “wow, if a lot of people link to them, they must be a good site!”

Companies must make sure they deliver content in such a way that it can be easily indexed and found through search. Making it easy for candidates to find content while delivering a positive candidate experience requires organizations to revisit their website strategies and messaging and potentially even the way they promote themselves. With more candidates starting (and ending) their day on Google, search is a critical component in a successful recruiting strategy.

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