OK, so by now you should have heard some noise about Google for Jobs (GFJ); it is a move by Google to help job seekers find work easier on the net. Google recognises that most job searches start in its search engine and wants to make that process easier, slicker and more accurate.
How serious is Google about jobs? Well, it has added to its analytics console the job feature, and it will tell you if your jobs are not being indexed, missed indexed, indexed in part, etc. But there is another way to answer the question: is it serious about the jobs, or is it making a land grab for users?
My thoughts are that it is more of a land grab for users than a great job seeker experience. I mean, the fields that it asks for you to put in your website mark up won’t win any advert writing prizes, and some of what it asks you to do will destroy your SEO. Yes, I said destroy your SEO. The biggest problem it has is that it can’t handle job titles with locations very well – bad news for Long Tail searches made in their billions per year by job seekers, then.
Will it work? Yes. Will the hype be bigger than the real impact? Of course. I mean, when was the last time you heard a vendor not say they were the world’s largest or the most of this or the top of that?
Indeed, the end is nigh – only it is not
Some think this move by Google will mean the end of the road for indeed, because on the surface it looks like Google will start to get the traffic indeed currently gets. The reality of that is it will not, because indeed has more job content, and it has more content from a far wider source. In addition, indeed does not make you jump through the same technical hoops GFJ does, albeit these hoops are pretty simple for web developers to implement (circa 4-8 hours max per site).
So it is going to take time to build traction and buy-in; with 28000+ recruiters in the UK and only 3000 buying websites from recognised recruitment website vendors who offer GFJ integration out of the box, you can see there will be 25000 who are not ready for GFJ, and I predict at least half of them will not bother ever to comply. Then consider just how many employers there are with no career site, or career sites without GFJ compliance, and that runs into the millions.
I do think indeed is on a course for extinction, not because of GFJ but because the user experience is crap, and to get to the top of rankings you now need to pay thousands in sponsorship to get your jobs seen.
Job boards – the end is nigh, only it is not
One of the flaws in the GFJ setup is it will publish a single version of the job, so if you used a product like, say, Idibu and put your job on two, three jobs boards, social sites and your website, then GFJ in theory is going to rank what it thinks is the original source for the jobs. Indeed is said to have made the same move in December, BTW.
This could be a major issue for job boards who do not set their code to be GFJ ready, and naturally for employers and recruiters alike. It could simply be a one-horse race for those at the top of the job board trees who can react quickest and give GFJ the volume of job search they will be desperate for. Job board vendors are bound to make updates; it will be a case of rushing them out to meet this need.
At the very least, for recruiters, you might want to put the job on your website first if it is GFJ ready, and then the job boards, etc.
Google for Jobs is the holy grail for your job content, only it is not
OK, so I have worked on SEO for job content since 2004, putting the first recruitment website CMS online where all the job content could be indexed by Google and making AI tools to get job seekers to specialist job seeker landing pages.
What I can tell you is that inaction when it comes to promoting your own site is what has killed your online success, not the invention of job boards or job aggregators like indeed. I predict the same for GFJ, in that if you think you can’t compete, you are already dead in the water, and you drowned yourself.
So how do you compete with or on GFJ?
Firstly, if you can’t beat them, join them, which means make your job content match the needs of GFJ; here is a basic summary of how to do that:
Follow the link, and you will find advice on what content Google is looking for and in what form to include it in their service. The controversial one for recruiters will be the inclusion of the need for the hiring organisation’s name. Or maybe not – if the post is a temp, contract interim role then it will be legitimate for the recruitment agency to list their own name, given that technically the candidate works for the agency.
For permanent roles, the concern will be giving away your sensitive client data. Well, for the parts of the industry controlled by fixed PSL, this is no hardship. For the part of the industry whose client’s name is listed on Google maps (an issue now if you use Google’s service for post code search), maybe again not so much of an issue.
However, we have seen in the USA that recruiters are putting their own company name; the most high-profile UK recruiter’s name we have found this week is Michael Page, so perhaps GFJ is not all doom and gloom for recruiters if the platform promotes recruiters’ adverts. Why was this in question in the first place? The founder of the GFJ business program said his stated aim for the GFJ venture was to connect job seekers to employers, not recruiters.
Does having your client name on your advert harm your chances as a perm recruiter? Well, the answer is yes and no; back in the day, before the internet, adverts for jobs got placed in trade magazines and newspapers, and recruiters had an opportunity to sell campaign advertising of advertised search services to their clients. The basic premise was that the recruiter would buy the ad space and charge the client for that ad space, but the advert would be branded and carry the client’s information. The deal with the client was that they would turn away other recruiters who saw the advert and called them. Or the client might ask the recruiter calling on spec to lodge their interest with their recruitment partner, who was running the initial advert.
There is no reason why the present-day recruiters cannot offer the same service, albeit using web advertising. Indeed, companies like Michael Page do this very well. Since about 2005, I have been asking recruiters to consider this strategy for their own websites and have client campaign pages. While we have the technology, no client of the hundreds we have spoken to has taken up the option. GFJ might be the catalyst that sees recruiters with more campaign pages on their websites or mini career site portals.
Contract, temp and interim recruiters will, I am sure, take a different view. Keeping your clients’ identity private is the holy grail for most recruiters in this area of recruitment. Again, there is evidence that GFJ is indexing recruiters’ ads for contract, temp and interim roles, so at this point I am again going to be less gloom and more va va voom for GFJ.
A final word of caution: they will monetise the channel when it gets busy, so you have yet to see the true cost of GFJ as a recruiter yet. Make the most of it while it is free and be an early adopter to become a trusted site.
Secondly, if you can join them, beat them… What, beat Google? Have I had one too many beers over Christmas, you ask? Nope, and you can beat them – here is how I think it can be done.
Sales Funnels & Chatbots for Facebook – you don’t have billions to compete with Google, but Facebook does, so piggyback off their efforts and use Sales Funnels & Chatbots for Facebook.
Google Adwords – yes, beat them with their own gun. If GFJ is the new shotgun approach to job ads, then Google Adwords is the sniper rifle, and used well it will get you highly targeted results. Google makes money for Google Adwords, and until it monetises GFJ (which it will do and will have to) this means it’s still in Google’s best interest to rank your PPC ads.
Long Tail Job Seeker SEO – one of the problems with SEO is that it is slow to get results, as it takes a long time to get rankings for your pages. Only with Long Tail SEO, provided your website is set up correctly, results happen pretty much in an instant. Or at least for RecruiterWEB sites anyway. Why is Long Tail so important and what is it? In short, a Long Tail search is a search in Google that is looking for an exact match, or is a highly derivatized version of a more common search. Examples of this kind of search would be “part-time payroll clear Sudbury Upon Thames” or “key stage 2 teaching jobs in independent schools Cornwall”.
Build a return user website – some of what is listed above fixes the issues in the short term, what you can also do is build a content strategy that has job seekers return to your site over time. This is where I think the internal recruiter will struggle, as once they have rejected a candidate as not a match for the job/employer, it is a tough ask to build a desire in the candidate to come back. Tough, but not impossible, I agree.
Recruiters have no such issue with rejection if they treat the candidates with respect and care, by which I mean listen to the feedback on LinkedIn about what the candidates want in terms of feedback, etc.
Connect with our author here
Please note I am Dyslexic, and in my form, I am blind to grammar, and sometimes I get my fors and fours etc backwards. Please keep that in mind when you read my work.
Best, Darren Revell, founder, RecruiterWEB.