By some estimates, over 124 million job-related searches are conducted each month on Google.com – and that number will only continue to rise with the launch of Google Jobs. That figure doesn’t even factor in other major search engines.
It’s you, the Agency Builder, who has the most influence on whether your job description is returned in the top of search engine results with the correct keyword phrases.
In order for your online job posting to be relevant to search engines, you will need to select the right keyword phrases for your job title and description. This process will also help your listing perform better within the individual job board’s search engine as well.
Keyword Research is Key
In order to make your job posting search engine optimized, ask yourself the following questions:
- What phrases are relevant to your job description?
- What terms might a job seeker search for in order to find a job like yours?
To find the answers, brainstorm as many phrases as possible, look at competitor listings and use free keyword research tools on the Web like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to expand the list of keyword phrases for your listing.
Your keyword phrases in your job posting should be specific, not general (i.e., ‘sales job’ may describe the job generally, but ‘financial services sales job’ would be a better phrase to target.) Also keep in mind that the more general or broad a keyword phrase is, the more competition there will be for it.
Other types of keyword phrases to consider in your brainstorm include:
- Company/branded/product terms: Select phrases that you use in your marketing campaigns and are familiar with job seekers.
- Location-specific terms: Many seekers search on location + job title (e.g., “product manager job in Boston.”)
- Industry-specific terms: Are there tools, software or acronyms that are important to the job and your business?
- Alternative job titles: Are there alternative job titles that people may use to describe the same job? (e.g., “territory manager” or “field sales manager.”)
Using this ‘pool’ of keyword phrases, you should then select the most popular and relevant phrases to use in the creation of your job listing. Test your keyword phrases by seeing if you can answer “Yes” to the following questions:
- Can I determine the intent of a job posting and of the job seeker simply by looking at the keyword phrase?
- Will my job listing satisfy the intent of the job seeker if they search this phrase and land on my listing?
The Job Title Rules
The Job Title is the most important part of your job listing for three reasons:
- It appears in the body as text. Search engines use it to understand what keyword phrases your job listing is relevant on.
- It appears in the browser <title> tag. Search engines weigh the job title heavily when determining what keyword phrases your job listing is relevant on.
- The browser <title> tag also appears as the clickable hypertext in search engine results.
Your job title should be compelling, but most importantly, relevant, in order that seekers click on your job listing over others. Here are some guidelines to help you pick your job titles:
- The job title you choose should be a simple, concise title that job seekers actually search on, not a creative hook or title that is only known within your organization. ‘Sales Star Needed!’ is not an effective job title. Instead, choose ‘Sales Representative’.
- The job title should be as specific as possible. ‘Sales’ is not an effective job title. Instead, choose ‘Insurance Sales Representative’.
- Indicate the career level of the job in the title if possible. ‘Sales’ is not an effective job title. Instead, choose ‘Director of Sales’.
- If a skill is essential to the job then be sure to include it. ‘Territory Sales Manager’ is not an effective job title. Instead, choose ‘Territory Sales Manager – Spanish Speaking’.
- Include the job type (Part-time, Temporary, Contract, etc.) if appropriate. ‘Janitor’ is not an effective job title. Instead, choose ‘Janitor (Part-time)’.
- Do not abbreviate job titles. ‘Sr. VP’ is not an effective job title. Instead, choose ‘Senior Vice President’.
- Include the full job title as well as the acronym. ‘RN’ is not an effective job title. Instead, choose ‘Registered Nurse (RN).’
Avoid the following tactics as they make your listings appear less professional and spam-like:
- Deceptive/inaccurate titles
- Posing questions in your titles
- Keyword “stuffing” in titles
- Including the salary or rate of pay in titles
- Capitalizing words (unless appropriate) in titles
- Mentioning ‘No experience required’ in titles
The Importance of Keywords in the Job Description
Search engines are only concerned with text, so your job description is your best chance to have your job posting appear in search results is to integrate keyword phrases throughout your job listing.
Along with the job title you’ve chosen, select 3-5 related terms to use throughout the copy to increase the relevance of the page. Do not overuse any keyword phrase. To test for overuse, read the description out loud. If it sounds awkward, reduce the number of instances for that phrase.
Here are some additional tips to help you integrate your related keyword phrases:
- Use bullet points to make the description easy to read
- The length of the job description should be at least 150 words (remember, search engines like text!) but not too long (seekers don’t like to read long descriptions.)
- Use brand, industry, and occupation-specific phrases
- Avoid using internal company jargon or abbreviations that will confuse the reader
- Do not include the location within the description field — Most job listing templates are set up to automatically display the location within the title and meta-tags.
Keywords in the Company Description/Boilerplate
Since your company’s description/boilerplate is present on all of your job listings, be sure to optimize the keyword phrases used in this copy in a similar way to your job description. Avoid typical ‘marketing fluff’ and focus on keyword phrases that explain and demonstrate your business and industry and describe your company culture.