Recruiters are extremely busy people constantly wear various hats, and one of them being “marketer.” After all, you are technically marketing job openings to your target audience and then selling them on the position.
Part of being a marketer is knowing how to optimize your job descriptions so you get more visibility. The more traffic and views you get, the more it increases your likelihood of finding the right candidate and your posting will get pushed to the top of future searches.
There is only one objective of all job listings: to be seen by as many job seekers as possible. To do this, you need to know a few SEO (search engine optimization) tips to help make your job listings more searchable in order to attract more job applicants.
Here are some helpful do’s and don’ts to keep in mind as you write, edit, and publish your job postings.
SEO Job Postings: 6 Do’s and Don’ts
1. Don’t use quirky buzzwords.
Do use non-biased, positive words and phrases.
It’s really easy to add in gimmicky words to make your job listing more enticing and stand out among the rest; however, they are not helping you attract more views and can be devastating from an SEO standpoint.
Today, job candidates are savvier than ever and have seen all the “fun and catchy” buzzwords stuffed into job descriptions, such as rockstar, superstar, guru, ninja, black belt, wizard, or prophet. They are overused and don’t explain what exactly you’re looking for in a candidate. Plus, most people aren’t searching for those quirky buzzwords anyway.
These words may sound exciting to a recruiter, but it can seem outdated and desperate to the job seeker. Steer clear of these words so you don’t offend or turn people off. Instead, when you’re writing a job description, choose words that evoke positive feelings and are non-biased. Read more here.
2. Don’t use words or phrases not associated with the job.
Do research relevant keywords that people will search.
Think about what a job candidate would search for in their job hunt. They are typing in the title of the position they are seeking or the name of a company or programs they know how to use. They may even use certain qualities that define a person who would work in this role.
For example, if you’re posting about a web designer job, include keywords like web design, websites, website builder, web development, graphic design, HTML, CSS, Adobe Creative Cloud, and other associated words to this role. Or, if this is a “flexible job” or an “entry level” job with a lot of “team collaboration,” then also add in those phrases to your description. Use whichever words will help the candidate to understand what the job is and the skills needed to succeed in the role.
Brainstorm and research relevant keywords and their synonyms and make a list. Find out what words and phrases people are searching. Then, start adding these words into your job description so it has a higher chance of being indexed by the search engines.
If you’re stuck and don’t know which keywords to use, try to think about the person working in the job you’re trying to fill and ask yourself a few questions to get the creative juices flowing:
- How would someone in this industry typically describe their work?
- How would a person in this industry search for this role on a job board?
- What are some other job titles that someone would use in this position that may be similar?
- Can I get more specific with the job title to better describe the role than the one I’m currently using?
You can also use keyword tools to aid in your research. These tools can tell you how many people are searching your keywords, how many people are clicking on links with those keywords, and how competitive the competition is to show up for those keywords. Check out Wordtracker, WordStream, or Keyword Tool. Some are free and some are paid services.
3. Don’t over use keywords (aka keyword stuffing).
Do strategically insert them into the description.
We’ve discussed a lot about using keywords and phrases throughout a description, so this next piece of advice may sound like we’re going against our own suggestions, but there is another thing to keep in mind: your audience.
At the end of the day, it’s not about writing for the search engines to find your description (well, it is and it isn’t), but it’s more about speaking to your prospective candidates. Write descriptions for them because they are the ones who will either take further action when they read it or won’t.
As you write, make sure your paragraphs sound natural and sentences flow together. You don’t want your description to look like you’ve been keyword stuffing, where it looks more like a bunch of keywords thrown together into a listing. The search engines are smart and really frown upon and punish posts that use too many keywords in an attempt to get more clicks. Aim to use certain words just once or twice in a paragraph.
“A good way to test to see if you have overused specific keywords in a job description is to read it aloud. If it is repetitive, or hard to read, reduce the number of times you use that keyword phrase.”
Be clear, concise, and accurate as you write your job posting. Let the job seeker know about the position and give specific details about what is involved.
Also, another writing tip is to keep the job description to around 500 words and use original content. Sometimes, it can be helpful to use optimized templates that you can search for online, but be sure to edit them and make them your own so that they reflect your hiring needs.
4. Don’t use generic position titles and forget to mention the location.
Do use specific job titles and include exactly where the job is located.
Always remember to use the title of the position and be specific. If you’re looking for a manager, get more detailed depending on the type of manager it is, like sales manager, social media manager, project manager, etc.
Also, always be sure to add the location of the job (if it’s a remote job, post that it is a remote or telecommute job). Many job candidates will search for keyword phrases like “web designer in New York City” or use a zip code.
Try to push the title and location as high in the posting as possible to help keep it search-friendly. Ideally, add the title and location to:
- Title of the listing
- First few sentences
- Meta tag descriptions, if possible
5. Don’t write long, bulky paragraphs of text.
Do think about the format and keep it short, concise, and easy-to-read.
With the short attention spans of people today, it’s critical to keep your job description brief, succinct, and very user-friendly. No one likes to read several big chunks of text in a paragraph that over-explains job responsibilities and lists too many qualifications. It’s confusing for the reader and hurts your ranking on the search engines.
Instead, keep your paragraphs short, use bullet points when listing responsibilities and/or qualifications, and try to use headings (known as H1, H2, H3 in SEO terms) whenever possible.
6. Don’t just post your job opening on the job boards.
Do share your job listing on multiple platforms and websites.
Once you hit publish and your job listing is posted to your website or a job board, your task is not over yet. This is not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. Now, you need to spread the word and promote it, which means sharing it everywhere to help drive traffic to it.
The more you share your posting, the better the search engines treat it and the higher you rise in the search results. So make sure to:
- Email current and passive candidates that may be ideal for the job
- Share it on social media, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Ask your colleagues and team members to share it with their social networks and talent pools
- If possible, make sure there are share buttons on the post itself
“By generating this immediate traffic to your job posts, you will show search engines, like Google, that your listings are of interest to people searching for the job description keywords they include.”