Job Post SEO: What You Need to Know
Have a question? Chances are you go to Google. This is especially true when it comes to job searches.
With all but a monopoly on search traffic and the fact that 30% of all Google searches job-related, it was only a matter of time before the Silicon Valley giant put their weighty sword to job aggregator sites like Indeed and Monster. They’ve done so in the form of Google for Jobs… sure, not the catchiest name, but when something works as effortlessly as this does, the need for marketability sort of goes out the window.
Google’s entry into the careers space actually occurred back in 2017, but it’s only been recent that the utility has truly caught fire. And as more and more job seekers look to the search engine to find their next role, employers and recruitment agencies need to understand how this new marketplace works, and how to leverage it in the most effective way possible.
So let’s do just that.
What is Google for Jobs?
Google for Jobs works in much the same way as the company’s famous search engine. It trawls the open web for job posts, serving them up in one convenient location. These jobs could be posted anywhere – from the careers page of a mom and pop business to job aggregator behemoths like SEEK.
Job seekers can search, sort, and browse the internet’s job listings in one place, filtering by location, industry, role, salary, experience, qualifications, and even things like commute time and the employer’s reviews and ratings.
And just like getting your website to appear in a normal Google search, the manner in which an employer or recruitment agency job posting is displayed on Google for Jobs, or if it is indeed displayed at all, depends on its search engine optimisation (SEO).
Why is it important in 2020?
While the tool got off to a slow start in some regions, it is fast becoming the number one destination for job seekers the world over. According to RankRanger, Google for Jobs has access to between 5500 and 7000 job boards at any one time – both the big names and a wealth of recruitment agency and employers that host their own boards. Because it can identify and pull job listings from the careers page of a company’s website, Google for Jobs gains access to positions that normal site aggregators can’t, including high-end positions that often aren’t thrown open to the public through Monster and the like. The careers page of Apple is a good example of this.
On the employer side, the perks in effectively leveraging Google for Jobs include:
- Enriched search results displayed on Google, including a company logo, reviews, and ratings displayed with the job.
- Access a far greater number of applicants, with your ad open to be viewed by anyone who uses Google.
- Increased likelihood of finding the right candidate, with applicants able to cleverly filter their search to find your job quicker.
Google for Jobs is something new, and something only Google could do. While employers and recruitment agencies have previously been reliant on the reach of the large job board sites to get word of their open positions out, they can now trust that Google will come to them.
But only if things are done right.
How to optimise your listings for Google for Jobs
There are two main ways that employers and recruitment agencies can post a job – through a third party or on their own site.
If you’re posting your open jobs through a third party, it’s simply a matter of checking whether your provider is participating in Google’s job search experience. The major players are split – Monster has partnered with Google from the outset, while Indeed has chosen not to participate. If your provider isn’t Google for Jobs-friendly it might be worth considering a switch, although Indeed has managed to go from strength to strength since making its decision.
If you post or aggregate jobs on your own website, you can add structured data to the HTML of your job posting web pages in order to directly integrate with Google. Once this is done, Google will pull new jobs from your site as soon as they’re added.
Ensuring your posts are valid
No matter which way you choose, you’ll need to ensure that the content of your job post lines up with what Google is looking for. What does a ‘valid’ job post look like? Let’s find out by way of examples from Google themselves.
- Floor manager at a department store: A named role at a valid company.
- Checkout associate for a grocery chain: A general role at a valid company.
- Clerical job for a recruiting agency: Although the final company is unspecified, the agency is the hiring party and is described.
- Recruiter ad with an application flow where the company is unspecified: This is acceptable because the role is well-defined and the company does exist, even if it isn’t revealed.
- A restaurant hiring kitchen staff in a single posting: While specific job titles may vary (line cooks, dishwashers, servers, etc.), the broader label of ‘kitchen staff’ is still appropriate, and all candidates are subject to the same hiring process.
- An ‘always hiring’ barista posting: Blanket postings for ‘always hiring’ jobs are acceptable.
‘And what does an invalid job posting look like?’ you understandably ask. Here is a selection of Google examples that’ll help steer you in the right direction.
- Invitations to career fairs/days.
- Recruiter advertisements that don’t offer a way to apply.
- Resume drops that are purely for candidate data collection purposes.
- Advertisements for a business disguised as job listings, such as broad career pages or other offers for services.
- Job postings that require payment to interact with them because job seekers can’t apply directly online.
- Providing false links that ask job seekers to apply that are substantially different from what job seekers would see browsing your website.
- Job postings for a job that is no longer hiring for the position (expired jobs).
- Job postings that are seeking employment instead of offering employment.
- Job postings that direct users to a list of jobs.
- Job postings that misrepresent the hiring organisation or the advertised job.
- Job postings with obscene or offensive language.
All this is to say that Google for Jobs only wants to offer up real job postings that fairly represent both the employer and the opportunity at hand.
Optimising Your Content and Structured Data
If you are grandfathered into a homegrown job engine or just want to make sure that you are covering your bases, you are going to want to ensure that you are including all of Google’s required fields and as many of the recommended fields as possible.
This can be tricky for some recruiting organisations that have limitations on data they can publish publicly whether it be due to client agreements, competition poaching, or others. You’ll need to compare what Google wants to see with what you are currently displaying (and willing to display) in your job postings. Make the best business decision you can for your agency.
Google’s Required Fields/Properties:
Google’s Recommended Fields/Properties:
Going the easy way or the hard way
With the content and structure of your job posts now valid, it’s time to decide how to post them in a search engine optimised way.
You can boil down your job post SEO options to a race in two. You can do things the easy way, which will give you limited control over your job posts, or the hard way, which will give you total control. The easy way is to use either a third-party provider like a job board or a WordPress plugin on your own site to optimise your job posts. The hard way is to code everything yourself from the ground up.
Choosing the easy route can be as simple as utilising the services a Google job board partner to post your ads. But to limit yourself to a job board is to miss out on leveraging your own website. Happily, you don’t need a degree in coding to optimise the posts on your own site. WordPress plugins like WP Job Manager and Jobs for WordPress make the optimisation process incredibly simple – a process of filling in fields and clicking ‘post’.
The drawback of the easy route is that it doesn’t offer the level of control that coding the entire thing yourself does. For the overwhelming majority of recruiters and employers, it offers more than enough control, however.
Then there’s the hard way. If you’re confident in your organisation’s ability to code, you may choose to exercise total control over your job post SEO by coding everything from the ground up. While difficult and time-consuming, this grants your organisation total control in how your job posts are displayed by Google for Jobs.
What Google actually wants isn’t all that complicated. They want you to post valid jobs in a way that makes it easy for their bots to find the pertinent data and rank. Follow their guidelines, post real jobs, don’t try and fool Google, and you will be just fine.