A former Indeed executive reached out to me last week regarding Google’s recent dive into Indeed’s waters and the launching of Google for Jobs. He requested anonymity, but his message went like this:
Read this article yesterday and was just blown away. Incredible that Google will use almost the exact same playbook as Indeed and probably get away with it because they can. I figured you are enjoying watching this unfold as much as I am:
“Google is very clear about the fact that it doesn’t want to directly compete with Monster, CareerBuilder, and similar sites. It currently has no plans to let employers posts jobs directly to its jobs search engine for example (though that would surely be lucrative). ‘We want to do what we do best: search,’ Zakrasek said. ‘We want the players in the ecosystem to be more successful.’ Anything beyond that is not in Google’s wheelhouse, he added.”
You could literally replace Google with Indeed in that paragraph and place it in an article 10 years ago.
The comparisons are indeed obvious for anyone who was around the industry back then and paying attention. It also reminded me of the day Craigslist blocked all the vertical job search engines. It was around 2006. In addition to Indeed, Craigslist blocked SimplyHired, Jobster, and WorkZoo among others. To this day, Craigslist still blocks Indeed from indexing its job content, so it’s safe to say, at least for Craigslist, it’s a sound strategy.
Indeed direct ads aren’t on Google
So, I wasn’t surprised when I recently chatted with Indeed SVP of Marketing, Paul D’Arcy, when he said, “We are not participating in Google for Jobs at the moment.” But my jaw dropped, however, when he then added, “jobs posted on Indeed are not indexed by Google.”
I understand that Indeed wouldn’t want to play nicely with Google for Jobs and add their original job content into the index, like CareerBuilder, LinkedIn and others have done. But saying an original job posting on Indeed isn’t indexed by Google at all was news to me.
I checked it out, and sure enough, jobs posted on Indeed directly do not show up in Google search results. Some snippets of a posting may show up as part of a wider geographic or industry search, but exact URLs do not. You can also put in exact phrase searches into Google for job content on Indeed and get nothing back.
It’s also safe to say that jobs posted into Indeed’s new Career Pages won’t show up on Google. D’Arcy said there are “some employers who only post on Indeed,” which should make those jobs only available on Indeed’s network as well.
Following Craigslist’s strategy
In short, it looks like Indeed is taking a page out of Craigslist’s strategy, cutting off Google from its content and making it only available on its platform. Only time will tell if it helps secure Indeed’s status as the most-trafficked job search site in the world.
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It’s likely a strategy that will work in the near term. Millions of employers and job boards themselves post jobs to Indeed, which gives it more job listings than any site in the world. Also, according to a recent Madgex survey, the typical job seeker visits eight different sites in their quest to find a job. Knowing that Indeed will at the very least solidify itself as one of the sites you need to visit if you’re looking for a job.
Long-term, however, the strategy has the potential to backfire. Indeed salespeople are no doubt going to be asked, “Do my jobs get into Google’s job search results?” They’ll have to answer no, and that’s likely going to translate into lost business.