SEO (Search Engine Optimization) commonly means being imaginative but also looking at the market and at what others are doing. One of the main issues Google has is with boring and unoriginal content. It usually always imposes a penalty on content that has been “scraped” — meaning text that has been copied and then pasted onto another website.

In reading this, you can see how difficult it can be to attract attention on search engines and even job sites. You will be up against thousands, maybe even hundreds of millions of job-related searches all designed to get attention.

With the following workflow, you can easily optimize your job advertisements and get them to reach your target audience. You’ll learn, step by step, how to:

  • Use search intent to understand applicant/candidate personas
  • Understand the importance of keywords in job descriptions
  • Be specific
  • Not become over-reliant on SEO

We aim to show you how Process Street uses original relevant content when creating easy-to-use optimized workflows.

Put yourself in the applicant’s shoes:

Think of what you want before you get into the SEO of it. First of all, put yourself in the shoes of the people you want to attract. If you are targeting full-time workers — remember they may already be working sixty hours a week. Think of how lengthy and time-consuming your current hiring processes may be.

Ask yourself: do they need trimming?

Use keywords to create a job title

In the past, there has been some advice that an unusual job title will attract attention. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be true for internet job searchers. As an example, if you want to recruit a content writer then use that job title instead of something like “Content Wizard”.

Use tools such as LinkedIn to see how many people are searching for your chosen job title. With “Content Wizard”, the title garners ten results on LinkedIn. “Content Writer” on the other hand gives up 3269 results.

Another way to accurately target talented candidates is to be specific with the job title. Content writer is the better choice, but add to it to relay more information with a few well-chosen words, such as:

B2B Content Writer

SaaS Content Writer

Consider the above to be keywords in attracting the candidates you want. 

If you want to use more flashy keywords, then use them sparingly in the job description. You could have a short sentence saying something like: “We’re looking for a real ‘Content Wizard’ to take us into the next decade” rather than using a confusing job title.

Think location, location, location

Software engineers are very hard to attract because there are not enough of them. With SEO in mind, research the current market to see where these talented individuals want to be based. Is it remote? Consider offering that and if you do — put it front and center in your job title advert.

Your keywords for the job title can now become what are known as long-tail keywords (also known as key phrases). Long-tail keywords are essential in competitive markets such as when looking for scarce talent. They will give you the edge in attracting candidates specifically looking for the opportunity you are offering. If there is a particular location, specific to the skill you are looking for, add it to your existing keywords: 

Seoul based software engineer

Get specific

Again, ratchet down on exactly what you want. 

If you want a software engineer, then what programming language should they be most proficient in? This should be added to the job title on adverts. If looking for an expert in Java, state that and you’ll find a gold needle in a haystack. Then combine it with the location they will be based in:

Seoul based Java software engineer

Try to keep the job title short to attract more attention. Be limited and effective in your use of keywords, 4 to 5 per page is generally enough. You will get what is known as a higher conversion value. This means you will only attract suitable candidates rather than hundreds of responses from unsuitable applicants.

Tempt with secrets not just SEO:

Make your job descriptions and adverts begin with an attractive opening line, also known as the hook. People are always interested in secret and advantageous content. Consider having an opening paragraph in your advertisement to use this to your advantage:

What’s the secret to a happy software engineer?

The ability to work all over the world with a free MacBook Pro.

Appeal to the key interests of your target audience

This is easily done by looking at blogs relevant to the talent you would like to attract. As an example, your job description could mention something currently popular with software engineers, such as: “Must be a voracious reader of Hacker News.” You can also contact people in your departments to find out what would be attractive to certain types of workers such as accountancy, IT, and marketing employees.

Take advantage of free online tools

LinkedIn is a free networking tool that allows you to look at similar job titles and what they are offering. This is a great way to look at your competition when aiming for specific skills.

In terms of a particularly skilled vacancy, Google Trends is a brilliant free data exploration tool. You can use it to search keywords related to a job position and note if there are any changes in the market — what other skills are people looking for to go with a certain post? Again, LinkedIn and Google Trends can help you to ensure you are using keywords that job searchers are looking for.

Anticipate candidate questions

There are a great number of free tools to find out what questions a suitable candidate might ask. You could incorporate answers to these questions in your job advertisement. As an example, let’s say you own a video game company. Something along the lines of Nintendo, and you need to find a story writer.

You can use free search tools such as:

The free tool is very handy and provides a diagram similar to a mind map. Try entering “video game story writer” and look at the list of questions that branch off the central keywords.

WordStream will help you to analyze keyword data and how popular certain keywords are. You can also email yourself a free report of the data from the WordStream website.

Utilize inclusive language

Remember that interesting and inclusive language is what people are interested in, and will encourage more candidates to apply to a vacancy.

So, continue to think of what will attract your target audience, but also use an online tool to ensure your language is inclusive. 

Design a pleasing layout for your job description:

Use short punchy sentences of 10 words or less where possible. Don’t use heavy dense text, space it out with numbers and bullet points focused on the key skills and competencies needed for the position.

Make your text easy to read, and skimmable, by spacing it out. Try practicing by dividing a paragraph into separate sentences:

Make use of relevant image titles

If using photographs, images, or artwork in job descriptions and advertisements — give your filename a relevant and SEO-friendly title. You should use something simple, and true, that also attracts attention:

  • Software engineer using MacBook Pro
  • Software engineer using a MacBook Pro in Seoul

Limit your text to a certain length

If you are creating job descriptions to rank on Google’s search engine, you should carefully consider the length of your text. You should:

  1. Keep the sentences in the opening paragraph short and sweet
  2. Keep the first paragraph under 160 characters (2 to 3 sentences long)

This is important as on the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page), you have limited space to make a good impression. Only the first few sentences will show on the results page. So, they need to be very good to entice talented candidates to read them. The technical description for this text on a Google SERP is known as a “meta description”.

Search Google for a specific topic, and look at how many words show on each result listed on the first page of the search results.

Look at SEO in its simplest terms:

We briefly mentioned Hacker News before. Type that in the Google search bar and the Official Hacker News (owned by Y combinator) will come up first. It’s no accident. The site contains regularly updated content and most importantly is a trusted source for information that folk such as software engineers are looking for. Sites such as Hacker News are often used as external links by other writers to improve the SEO of their content.

Consider SEO when mentioning perks

If looking to hire a software engineer, think of what kind of perk would appeal to them. Use a research tool to look at which operating system is most popular: if it’s Windows, consider the offer of a Surface computer to attract top and knowledgeable talent.

Also, mention equipment sought after, or even known, by the ideal candidate. Apply a link to that keyword such as MacBook Pro. Part of SEO is using text that appeals to the reader’s desires.

Update your company brand:

This is a simple way of saying to keep your website information current. Google is very keen on up-to-date content. So are their users.

You should ensure that:

  1. Links are removed to web pages you don’t have any more
  2. Your advertised phone numbers are correct and up to date
  3. Employees who have left your company are no longer listed as contacts

Keep updating your website

Try to take another look at the resources you are offering on your website. Many talented candidates will be looking at these. Ask yourself:

  • Do we have old blogs that could be updated?
  • Do we have product webinars that not only sell our products but also make people want to work for us

Areas such as the above are great for self-referrals and may save your time and budget when advertising a vacancy.

Bury dead job advertisements quickly

If a job is still advertised but was given away a month ago — that will annoy some candidates and they are unlikely to return. Google may also penalize your site too.

Google often takes action when companies don’t shut down old job ads. It can also affect your company’s SEO. Consider letting the relevant department know every time a job is taken down.

Google has even offered to help: see this helpful link.


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