Job Posting 101: Keywords & SEO

Our next installment of #JobPosting101 series touches on the use of keywords and SEO. If you missed it, check out the last Job Posting Blog

Given the growing importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the exponential use of Machine Learning and AI in the staffing industry there has never been a more important time to understand how to use Keywords in Job Posting Advertisements.

First off, never forget rule number 1 “Remember who your audience is”. Yes, it is true that the web crawling robots and indexing algorithms are partially your audience.  They are your marketing audience, because these are the tools deployed to catalog and organize the content on job boards and search engines. If you follow the Job Posting 101 tactics your job posting will rank higher in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and therefore increase your reach to candidates. Deploying Keywords in bad way will not only hurt you’re the number of candidates you reach, but it will kill the number applicants you convert with your advertisement. Just read the Job Posting excerpt below.

Software Developer Keyword Soup

I am not sure about you, but if I saw this Software Developer role I would cringe. Sure, the keyword density of this posting is off the charts.  It says software three times, Software Developer twice, and a variant of Develop four times just in this paragraph… But, any human reading it is probably scratching their head and saying “Advance the core product forward” what other direction would they want it go in?

I could spend a couple hours trying to explain how to optimize your career page and job postings to maximize your reach and conversion ratio. But, for the sake of this article here are some rules to live by with Keywords.

Use the Keyword your Audience & Industry commonly use

In accordance with the golden rule “remember your audience”, using keywords that are common ground for your industry is incredibly important. If your company has internal jargon for a job title, or just strange job titles throw them away on the job posting. Think to yourself what is my candidate putting into the search bar when looking for a job. Test them by using keyword planning tools (Google) and going onto the job boards and platforms you are posting and searching using that term. (For the most accurate results a fresh incognito tab)

Emulate what is working

If a job posting has been around for an extended period (30+ days) and is still landing on the first couple of SERP’s than they are getting candidate traffic. Search engines and job boards use your cookies, account history, and trends to bring to you the most relevant data. If you are emulating what is working in your space, you will be lumped into the same category and become more relevant. This is also why it’s important to use an incognito browser. You may think you are optimizing yourself, but the results you are looking at may be swayed to your search history.

Use a keyword between 3-5 times.

For a keyword to register as an important term you need to use it more than once. In general, most search engines will recognize it as an important term when they see it between 3-5 times. It is also important to think about your posting structure as that can change the weight a search engine gives your term.

Avoid using only abbreviations

I ran into this in the Healthcare industry. Our client was using the term PA to describe a Physician Assistant. Not only was PA not as commonly searched by users, but it was also used as an abbreviation for multiple other industries causing keyword degradation.

Sometimes, abbreviations can be to your advantage. The same client was searching for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, which is often abbreviated as APRN or referenced as Nurse Practitioner. To avoid the keyword soup, they would use the abbreviation in conjunction (Nurse Practitioner - APRN). The APRN keyword and utilization of Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Practice Register Nurse in the Qualification section helped distinguish it.  This was especially important because Nurse Practitioner would pull hits for Nurse. This technique helped. It took tracking the applicants and click rates to fine tune.

Structure is important

The structure of web page comes into play with the assigned weight and use of keywords. We will spend some time talking about structure and other search engine optimization techniques in the next couple of installment of #JobPosting101

Find the whole Job Posting 101 series here

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Comments (2)

So true. I use both, abbreviations and then spell them out. Let’s not forget that role every company has: Senior Specialist 2.
No one knows what that person does, but they want to be true to the title. Big miss!

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