Are you a small or medium sized business that is growing and needs to bring in more talent? Or, is the talent you have not working out and you need to replace it with better talent? You've recruited and recruited, but you just aren't getting the quality or quantity of applicants that you had hoped for and you can't figure out why.
While we can talk about recruiting strategy in another post, there's also good chance that you don't have enough online employer brand presence. Did you know that job seekers are 80% less likely to apply for a job with a company that doesn't have a large internet presence?
Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you fix this quickly with a few tweaks to your website. Even someone who knows nothing about SEO can make these tips work for them!
The Most Important Thing You Can Do: Generate Link Juice (also called linkbacks)Get your company name mentioned in as many places as possible and make sure that those places link back to your website. Link Juice is the most important, and also the most time consuming, piece of advice that I can give you for SEO. The more linkbacks you have to your website, the higher your ranking on search engines will be. Want to know how many linkbacks your website currently has? Go to Google and type in link: followed by your URL (example: link:www.talentcounseling.com). If Google tells you that search did not match any documents, then no one is linking to you. If results appear, then all of those web pages have linked to you at least once.
So, how can you generate more linkbacks?
- Start a social media campaign. YouTube is the best social media platform to self-generate link juice. This is mighty convenient, since job seekers are 80% more likely to apply if a job description includes video! Pinterest is another good source for self-generated link juice. Facebook, not so much.
- Find online forums and bulletin boards related to your business and post in them. Answer people's questions in a general way and then say something like "for more information, visit my site at www.talentcounseling.com". (Note: Read the forum's policy. If they have a "no-follow" policy then search engine will not count those links when ranking your site).
- Ask every one you know to link back to your website.
What Else You Can Do (In Order of Importance)
- Update the titles of your pages to include key words and phrases that job seekers or your customers might be searching for. For example: The title of your Contact Me page should not be Contact Me. Instead it should be Contact Your Name or Name of Your Company | Geographic Location | Phone Number. My contact page says Contact Robin Brodrick | Talent Counseling | Greater Boston | 617-372-4305.
- Add in or optimize your website's keywords. There should be a section for this in your Content Management System (CMS). Enter in 20-40 keywords or phrases that jobseekers and customers might be searching for. Separate each word or phrase with a comma. You do not need a space after the comma. Make sure to include common misspellings, your geographic area, etc.
- Update your website's description. This is the blurb of text that appears below your website's name in search engine results. There should also be a spot for this in your CMS, whether it be WordPress, Joomla, or something else. The description must be 156 characters or less. It should contain keywords and phrases in the form of a sentence and should also entice people to click on the link. For example, you may want to describe what the business does and then say, "Click here for a free consultation" to entice them to click on your link.
- Have meaningful and engaging content. I wish that this was the primary thing you could do to increase your search engine rank, but that's just not the case in the world of SEO. That doesn't mean it's not important. Your content is what will keep people coming back to your website. It's also what will entice job seekers to click the Apply button. You should include why your company is a great place to work, the job description (don't forget to include a video to increase the chance that a job seeker will apply by 80%), and a summary of your benefits.
What should you do if you need more information, or need specific advice for your situation? Seek the help of an SEO subject matter expert (SME). I can personally recommend Ben Vivante (www.vivante.us), who teaches a great SEO class at BCAE.
Have you used SEO to market your employer brand? Was it easy? Did you find that it increased the quality and quantity of applicants? I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments section!