SEO and recruitment websites: The rotten truth

Recruitment SEO Demystified

Recruitment SEO demystified


If you fail to grasp the gist of our message, sure, we will lose a sale, but you will lose a great deal of money with vendors at the hands of their SEO snake oil pitch.


Websites don’t have SEO.


So there is the ugly truth: websites don’t have SEO. In the same way that a rugby player does not have sports and a truck driver does not have logistics…


In short, what we are saying is SEO is not one thing, so by the very nature of linguistics, a website cannot have SEO. Now just let that sink in for a bit and then consider: a salesperson visits your office or talks to you on the phone and tells you their website has SEO.


SEO is, at its heart, about finding the right words to achieve a result, and these other salespeople cannot even get the basic words to describe SEO right. Well, that is unless they are using the ‘snake oil’ salesperson bible, and then their claims are perfect!


So if a website does not have SEO, what does it have?


A website is obviously needed for SEO to take place, as you cannot rank a site that does not exist. However, genuine SEO experts will tell you that of the 200 to 400+ strategies published for what makes up SEO, about 15–20 of them are strictly related to your website and how it is made.


The rest is about using on-page and off-page SEO methods to rank your site. However, it suits some companies to sell you ‘snake oil’ and to brush over with a quick yes to all your questions on SEO. Then they will introduce on-page and off-page SEO in 6–12 months when your site fails to rank. Heck, we recently found one of those companies’ salespeople lying about RecruiterWEB and our site’s ability to be indexed by Google. The claim was that our sites couldn’t be indexed, a laughable lie, but a lie nonetheless. A simple test of any site in Google debunks that lie, but this is the level of toxicity in our space when it comes to making a fast buck at your expense by misleading you about SEO.


What can we offer you when it comes to SEO, and why should you trust us?


Our founder is an ex-recruiter and recruitment company owner. His passion for the recruitment industry is the best, and his aim when setting up our company was to provide recruitment website technology that would make recruiters money, as well as representing their brand online.


As a result, our technology was built to tick the proverbial 15–20 core requirements of a recruitment website for Google, etc. Then we set about explaining to our clients where they could make their wins with on-page and off-page SEO that covers, as we have stated, 90% of what is needed to make a site rank.


It is all about keywords, keywords, and keywords.


People place words into search engines. The SEO industry calls these keywords. Keywords come in two primary forms: ‘short tail’ and ‘long tail’. The general rule is that if a search engine user uses three words or less, it is a short-tail keyword search: sales jobs, finance jobs, teaching jobs, and London are examples of short tails.


If they use three words or more, it is a long-tail keyword search. Examples would be ‘big data contract recruitment jobs in Liverpool’ or ‘SAP FD contracts jobs in Frankfurt’. Subject to the short or long tails you are trying to rank for, SEO can be as easy as falling off the proverbial log, or akin to the quest of Frodo in Lord of the Rings.


In some cases, simply having the keyword combination on your page can give you the ranking you need, though this is most likely for long-tail search queries of a low-competition nature, or emerging-market wording. Long-tail searches perfectly fit job seeker searches, and the ever more sophisticated job seekers are making longer and longer long-tail searches that can be up to nine words long. This happens most often when they use voice search on services like Siri and Alexa, etc. (Think sitting on your sofa and saying: “Alexa, find me a sales job in cyber software that is 50 miles from Derby.”)


Long-tail SEO was one of the reasons why we invented automated job landing pages in 2005, and for mobile search linguistics, we offered dedicated mobile pages in 2007. Innovations ten years ahead of their time.


Today, services such as Indeed and latterly Google for Jobs have started to eat up the ranking slots for long-tail job seeker matches, but if you know where to look, it can still be a ready source of high rankings for you. Having started our long-tail recruitment SEO journey in 2004, we are one of the longest-serving providers of knowledge in this field.


We will keep ranking for short tails. Ranking for short tails that are highly or overly competed-for, like ‘sales jobs’ or ‘finance jobs London’ is going to need some high-quality on-page SEO and off-page SEO to get you there. This is a truth the snake-oil salesperson is very keen to hide from you.


Finally, here are some numbers to help you understand further. Google has said about 30% of searches are employment-related. SEOs generally agree that 70% of the searches made are made of the long-tail kind. How can you use that to your advantage? Write your job pages, blog pages, news pages, and case study pages, etc. with plenty of long-tail keywords, and here is the best bit:


To write in long tails, you need to paint pictures and tell stories with your job advert content. Job seekers engage best with images and stories. In fact, a new recent study states ‘job branding’ (credit to Bill Borman) is the absolute way forward, as the job ad content is what converts the reader above almost all else. This fact will also keep a certain Mitch Sullivan tickled pink.


What is on-page SEO?


Here is a link to a globally respected source for SEO, if you want the long story. If you want the short story, then it is about the content of your page and all the places/levels that Google likes you to tune the content. We would summarise that as ‘technical SEO’, then there is the actual content itself and the function it must perform to target positions in the Google rankings (SERPS).


For example, your ‘about us’ page is likely going to target rankings for the kind of recruitment company you are, whereas a job post for a “Head Teacher for a special needs school in Truro” is clearly looking to attract headteachers looking for a job with these specific skills and background.


We can advise you on on-page SEO techniques, and that works in partnership with trusted vendors, who will back up our work on your on-page campaigns. Rather than attempt a ‘Jack of all trades’ approach, we deliver SEO via a collaboration of proven masters.


What is off-page SEO?


Again, we offer you a link to the same globally respected SEO source to explain what off-page SEO is in full. If you want the short story, it is about links and link partnering. Subject to the quality of the link from another website that points Google back to your website, you will gain more kudos with Google’s algorithm tools that measure the overall value of sites.


Good content will rank; good content with links will rank better. Sadly, it is still the case that poor content will also rank well with useful links, though this is getting better as Google tries to fight this spam.


Why is SEO so complicated; why can’t it just be easy?


Well, it can be easy, and subject to the goal of the page, you may well get instant and consistent rankings for your page/pages. For example, if you actually make a page for a head teacher job in Truro that needs a special needs background, then that combination of keywords on the page may get the job done.


For your other pages like your ‘home’ and ‘about us’ page that you wish to be ranked for sales jobs or cyber recruitment, this is where the fun starts, and you will, in almost all cases, need off-page SEO assistance. This will get your site’s kudos with Google to the level where Google will want to rank your website higher than what is there now, or better than the 500–5000 others who are vying for the same rankings.


Keep in mind that all you do with off-page can be countered by those you are trying to displace. So it can often be a fool’s errand to chase these rankings. We met a firm who had spent £120,000 over four years doing this with a very high-profile competitor of ours and got nowhere. Imagine if that £120k had been spent on other forms of proven marketing.


So there you have it.


RecruiterWEB: telling you the uncomfortable truth about SEO since 2004. Your website does not have SEO, and it is snake oil to say it does.


Your RecruiterWEB website can be part of a joined-up SEO plan, for which we unashamedly collaborate with proven experts to deliver you a winning solution. Some of your wins will be gained by us sharing our 15 years of recruitment SEO know-how, and some of it will require stimulus from proven on-page/off-page SEO methods and services trusted award-winning service providers will deliver us.


Want to know more? Connect with our founder on LinkedIn by clicking the image below; all advice is free, all chats welcome.


Our clients say it best…

Darren and his team gave us clear and best advice for our project, in particular taking care of all third parties in different times zones, which frankly I would not have had the time or patience for. Truly a great joined up service.


Harry Bigwood