Career websites: SEO housekeeping
Part 3: How good housekeeping helps your SEO, and why Google For Jobs is your friend
So far in this series of blogs we’ve looked at site structure and careers categories, compelling content and job descriptions. Next up it's a few tips to help you deal with expired vacancies and how to get Google for Jobs working for you instead of against you. Read on!
Good housekeeping guide
Once a vacancy has expired you’ve three simple choices: remove the page, redirect the page, or completely ignore it. OK, that’s not really true - Number 3 is a no-no. It’s important you do something with expired vacancies as they will start to cause SEO problems further down the line if left unattended. Google will only allow a certain amount of time to crawl and index your pages on a monthly basis. This is called crawl budget, so it’s absolutely imperative that the pages live on the website and stay available in your sitemap for Google to crawl are the ones that matter. Otherwise, you risk Google crawling hundreds or even thousands of pages each month that have expired or aren’t important to your overall organic success. Not good.
If you only have a handful of expired jobs on your website then perhaps adding a link or similar jobs to the expired vacancy page would be a smart move. This way you get to try and keep the traffic looking at your website and other roles without users bouncing off your website immediately. If you have upwards of a few hundred vacancies on your website that have expired then you have two options:
- Place the page as a 404 (page temporarily unavailable) and add to the page the date you expect to see the vacancy republished; or
- 301 redirect the page to your main jobs page so users can take a look at other vacancies. 301 redirects tell the search engine that the page is being permanently redirected to another page.
Straightforward to do, this is good practice to get into and helps Google to help you.
Google for Jobs
In effect, Google for jobs is a search feature contained within the results pages which collects jobs from job boards, and careers websites and displays them in Google search pages. As Google for jobs isn’t a job board, it’s probably wise to point out now that if you’re already using job boards to advertise your roles then you may be happy with this and no further action is required. However, you may want to ensure your careers website is the one ranking prominently in Google for jobs to ensure you are giving candidates a proper first impression of your brand and culture and reducing your job board spend. Why wouldn't you? Your competitors will be, so get Google for Jobs working for you.
Getting your jobs listed
The good news is that if your jobs are listed on your careers website and you want to have them directly listed on Google for Jobs then this is a fairly straightforward task:
- Ensure that your job pages are indexable (can be crawled by Google)
- Mark up your pages with job posting structured data
- Update your sitemap to ensure Google is aware of the job
- Use Google search console and Analytics to keep an eye on progress
Job done. But also, make sure you’re helping Google by including the info it likes to see:
- Job title
- Job location
- Post/Expiry date
- Company name and description
- Job type
Optimizing Google for Jobs
The one area that often lets careers websites down when it comes to marking up jobs is excluding two or three of the main points above which Google requires to display your page prominently. More often than not it’s salary that gets excluded and a poor job title. It’s so important to know what your candidates are searching for so ensuring you do your keyword research first can be fundamental to your success here.
Some careers websites are content with simply just marking up a job, and hoping that it appears in Google for Jobs however over the next few pages we’ll explain how to get the most out of these listings in Google.
Search engine within a search engine
You’ve marked up your jobs, and now you do a keyword search based on the job title to hopefully see your job in Google for jobs, yet on page one of Google you’re greeted with some big corporate giants or job boards stealing your thunder and your job is just part of the noise in the other 100+ places further down the listings! Sound familiar? Well if you treat Google for jobs as a search engine within a search engine and optimize your job listings accordingly, then this can be a thing of the past.
How to get the most out of Google for Jobs listings
There’s a number of metrics you need to mark up in a Google for Jobs listing to ensure your jobs are given the best possible chance of ranking well, beating the job boards and big corporate giants. Below is a checklist of do's and don’ts to ensure you give your jobs the best opportunity to be shown.
- Add concise bullets and make the description easy to read
- Try to add locations to the copy, as this will help with visibility when candidates are searching for role and location
- Include a brief company introduction
- Write your role description in language candidates will easily understand
- Include skills and experience in the description
- Include working hours, salary and benefits
- Use special characters or emojis in the job descriptions
- Post job ads with less than 150-250 words (for competitive industries this is fine to increase to 400-500 words)
Considered a big ranking factor in Google for Jobs to ensure jobs posted are kept as fresh and up-to-date as possible, Valid Through is a must in your job ads. Do it!
One of the areas where we see companies missing a trick when it comes to Google for Jobs is not specifying a location within the schema mark-up of their job ad, or not mentioning it within their job description. We see multiple instances on a daily basis of companies who aren’t marking up the job location correctly, and this can have a detrimental effect. If your job is giving candidates the opportunity to work from home or remotely, then by adding the property “telecommute” into your schema markup, you suddenly open yourself up to longer tail variations of keywords where candidates are looking for a role + location + remote working keywords.
By marking up jobs correctly and ensuring you optimize them as well as possible, you give yourself a fantastic chance of ranking above the job boards, recruiters and corporate giants when it comes to Google for Jobs. This should ensure you aren’t paying for your own traffic for the foreseeable future, and get your careers website as visible as possible in the search engine job pages.
So there we are, all you need to know about good SEO housekeeping and Google for Jobs. For more in-depth guidance, simply download our Ultimate Guide to SEO for Careers Websites.