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An extremely short guide to job board SEO

SEOI don’t talk much about search engine optimization (SEO) because: a) I’m not an expert; and b) many other folks are experts. But…I do have opinions and advice! So this will be my ‘take the Doctor’s comments with a grain of salt’ discussion about job board SEO. (For more on job board SEO, check out the JobBoardGeek podcast that focused on the subject, here).

First of all: should you care about SEO? Well…yes! Absolutely!! Optimizing your job board so that candidates can find it is critical for your long term success and profitability. If your site is optimized, then the right candidates can find it and connect with employers. If you’re not optimized, you’re more like the proverbial ‘shoe store in an empty field’ – sure, you’re open for business, but you will be waiting a long time for customers!

So what are the basics that no one – not even the Doctor – should ignore?

A) Look like a job board: No, Google and Bing do not visually inspect your site – but job seekers do. If they don’t recognize your site as one that they can use to find jobs, they will click past it. Google, etc. will recognize that every job seeker seems to click past your site – and they will deduce that you are not a job board. Is that going to help your SEO? Um….no. So make sure you have those little hints like: a job search box; job listings; text that says ‘the Doctor’s guide to job board careers’ (or something like that!); and other key terms like ‘resume’, ‘job search’, ‘careers’, and so on. Don’t get too cute with your terms – you’ll just confuse both the job seekers AND the search engines.

B) Follow Google for Jobs schema: Many years ago, Google developed a job post schema – basically a guide to the information that a job post should contain in order for Google to index it. If you’re unfamiliar with it, check out the details here. The schema includes key information about the job that Google believes job seekers want, such as salary, location, employer, and so on. If you format your job board’s posts using the schema, Google is more likely to include them in its own job results index – this is generated when a job seeker goes on Google and types something like, ‘marketing jobs near me’. Google’s ‘blue box’ displays the jobs, along with links to apply – including links to your job board. In other words, you can now get additional traffic that in previous times had been reserved primarily for those sites that were extremely SEO-optimized (like, um, Indeed). Trust me – for 99% of us, this is a good thing. So do it.

C) Use a job board software platform that does SEO well: Particularly if you’re a start-up or even established site, if you’re not ‘growing your own’ platform – be sure to use a job board software platform that understands and optimizes for SEO! How do you know if they are such a platform? Well…check to see if they automatically format jobs for the Google Jobs schema. Check out their page structure. Check the SEO visibility of some of their customers. Ask them how they keep their software up to date with regard to SEO. Just like everything else, some vendors do better on this than others.

Well…I said it was short! SEO is a complicated subject – witness how many SEO companies there are out there. At some point it is a good idea to talk to an SEO expert, not only to improve on what you’re done thus far, but to identify the changes you should plan for in the future. Good SEO will positively impact everything else you do to attract candidates and employers. So investing in it is smart.

Enough said.

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[Check out JobBoardGeek, the Doctor’s podcast!)

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