Do recruitment agencies need SEO?
SEO is not the ‘dark-art’ or shady tactic that some people might lead you to believe. In the simplest form, SEO is the process of optimising your website to speak more fluently to the search engines. Which is important for any business, especially recruiters.
The most popular method people use to find new vacancies is the internet, whether they search for specific roles, or just look for a good jobs board website. Nowadays 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine so we’d assume that the majority of online job searches also start on the ‘internets library of things’ search engines.
With Google being the largest search engine in the world, that’s the focus when it comes to SEO for a recruitment agency. However, Google is also the smartest search engine in the world, that cares massively about their users and only wants to promote the very best websites.
Which means optimising your website to appear on the first page of Google is a process which involves many layers, actions and a lot of content.
So is it all worth it? The simple answer is Yes!
As time goes, your potential clients and candidates will increasingly use search engines like Google to seek out recruitment agencies so being the first site they see is a major factor in the growth of your business.
One of the only ‘secrets’ to rising above your competitors with SEO is to start first…
The Brick Digital Guide to SEO for recruitment agencies
At Brick we specialise in SEO for one simple reason. It returns the best long-term ROI for businesses, and we’re all about ROI.
We created this guide because we know from experience in the industry just how competitive the recruitment market is, with generally higher deal values than other businesses. So let’s get into the guide and explain how to approach SEO for a recruitment agency.
Who are your target users?
Just like any marketing campaign you need to start with a defined target audience, and a plan of how you’re going to reach the target. But unlike other businesses who’s only target website user is their end consumer, it’s likely you have 2 types of users you’re looking to attract.
Mapping out each target audience, what they’re searching for, what content would satisfy their search, and how you plan on converting them should be one of the first steps you take in your SEO campaign.
Aside from head hunting on LinkedIn and trawling through CV’s online it can be a tough job creating a network of candidates who are actively seeking for roles within your recruitment agency niche.
But these types of candidates are out there searching for jobs, and although some will start their search with the large CV libraries, most will start on Google. Hence why Google has now introduced their Google for Jobs search snippet.
Although Google uses existing job board site data to populate their Google for Jobs snippets, it’s still a new feature (2018, UK) and could disappear as many others have.
Candidates are out there searching for roles to apply to, and many are searching within their local area which is why it’s so important to make sure your recruitment agency appears at the top of Google so that you receive the high-quality applications you need.
Gaining new clients is a strenuous task in any B2B industry, but taking into account the 9,000 new recruitment agencies opened in the 2017 and it’s obvious that recruitment is becoming a highly competitive market.
Once again, gaining new client interest from inbound website leads is a much more efficient way of generating new business as you’re likely to be the very first agency that a client contacts if you appear on the first page of Google.
But is SEO for recruitment agencies really worth it, and are your potential clients even searching Google before choosing an agency to fulfill their roles?
The short answer is yes they are! Look below at some of the example searches and roughly how many people are searching for that term each month:
Structuring your agency site for SEO success
As we mentioned at the beginning of our guide, SEO is all about speaking to Google and telling them what keywords to rank your website for. The best way to do this is to structure your site in a way that you’re leading Google’s robots ‘down a hallway and showing them what each room is like’.
In order to make it easy for Google you need to set-up your menus, pages, and links so that they make sense to these robots and allow them to easily identify what each page is about.
But it’s not all about showing Google your site, you also need to keep in mind your end users.
Pages should be used to host your important content like job roles, job categories, and client industry information. The types of content that your users are searching for will be on the pages that they’re likely to convert through as well.
In order to reach candidates you need job category pages to at the top of Google, as candidates likely to be searching things like ‘Engineering jobs London’.
When clients are searching you’ll usually want to show them your homepage, or specialist pages set-up for industry sectors like ‘Engineering recruitment agencies’.
This might seem like a lot of work if your site isn’t set up in this ‘Silo’ structure right now with breakdowns for each category, but it’s necessary in order to start getting high-quality traffic seeing your site and converting.
You should also be aiming to gain traffic from both clients and candidates through your blog posts. Without getting into exactly what your blog posts should be about, it’s important to note that every blog post should have an aim.
To rank in search results!
Blogs are a great way of ranking for ‘long tail keywords’ which your users might be searching for. E.g. if a candidate is searching for ‘How to find good engineering jobs’, and you’ve written a post on the subject which is on the first page of Google then you’re going to get that click.
This is yet another chance for your agency to gain more candidates on your books.
As an SEO agency our approach to SEO for recruitment agencies will differ completely from agency to agency. But to give an idea of what a general recruitment agency website page structure should look like we’ve plotted one out below.
(Disclaimer: As mentioned, this will be different for each recruitment site so is not guaranteed to yield the best results for all)
Keywords for Recruitment Agencies
Forgot ‘Content is King’ for a moment. Because keywords are just as important to any SEO campaign.
Luckily for recruitment agencies, keyword research is slightly easier than for other businesses.
The keywords you target through your SEO campaign need to be selected based on the following factors:
- Number of monthly searches
- User intent
To find out the number of times a keyword is being searched for and the competition level of that keyword there is an easy Google Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere.
Simply install the extension on your Chrome browser and search your keywords in Google as normal. Underneath your search bar you’ll see the monthly search volume and the competition level scored out of 1. 1 being the most competitive.
Using the monthly search volume you can get an idea of whether it’s worth the time and money to target the keyword. But this is also subjective depending on your agency niche.
A high competition level shouldn’t put you off targeting a keyword if it is very relevant to your industry. But it worth checking the other sites who are ranking for this keyword and making sure they’re direct competitors of yours.
User intent is a major factor in selecting the correct keywords for your SEO strategy. For example a keyword search phrase like ‘How much do engineers earn in London’ shows less intent to apply for a job than the search phrase ‘Engineering vacancies in London’.
Targeting keywords are different levels of user intent is a good way to catch a lot of traffic and potential candidates.
In that case focus on ranking your main pages/categories for the high intent keywords, and target the other lesser keywords through blog content.
How to optimise your on-page content
If you’ve reached this far in our guide then you’ve probably heard of on-page and off-page optimisation…
On-page optimisation covers all optimisations techniques you should be applying to the content of your site. Which helps to tell Google what keyword you want each page to rank for.
But what if you don’t have much content on each at the moment, or you’ve just built new pages and categories according to our structure guide? Well then you’ll need to get creating.
There are a few rules you need to follow when updating or creating content for SEO on each page:
- Target one major keyword per page, then create content around that keyword
- Write at least 700-1000 words of useful content per page
- Include your main keyword in the content a maximum of 9 times per 1000 words
- Link to other pages on your site from relevant words
- Create videos wherever possible and relevant
The content on your pages needs to be useful to the user and not just a wall of words for the sake of ranking for a keyword, as this will cause a high bounce rate which also reduces your ranking positions.
For example on your Engineering Jobs in London category page you could write content about why the capital is such a great place to be an engineer, including key statistics and information the searcher will find useful.
Technical on-page optimisation
Following the content rules above will help Google rank your page for a number of different keywords that you’ve used in your content.
However the most powerful way of telling Google what your page is about is to optimise your page titles and meta description. This is easily edited in most website backends.
Your page title should include the main keyword for that page, which should also be included in the meta description. As close to the beginning of the text as possible.
This is what users will see when your page appears in the search results so having an attractive and information Title and Meta description will lead to a higher CTR which is known to affect your ranking in the search results.
Internal Linking for Recruitment Agencies
Another expert tip to optimise your on-page content for SEO is to link internally.
Linking internally like a lot of other SEO tactics can be easily abused and end with decreased rankings instead of increased.
But when used correctly internal linking is perfect for guiding both Google and users through your website allowing them to discover other pages on your site, and place a value on them.
Internal linking should be natural and make logical sense. For example, if you’re writing content for your homepage and you mention ‘engineering jobs in London’, then it makes sense to link to the page on your site which is focussed on engineering jobs in London.
This helps Google find the page and also tells Google what this page is. Which in turn leads to Google ranking the site higher when searchers look for ‘engineering jobs in London’.
On-page optimisation is critical to recruitment agency SEO success which is why you need to be following the tips above (and more) to stand a chance of outranking your competition on Google.
Blogging as a Recruitment Agency
Content is king. And blogging is content.
You’ve all heard it before, you need to be blogging to rank in Google. This is true, but like everything in the world of SEO, it’s not as simple as it sounds.
Creating blog content, writing articles, and sharing your content is the best way to add fresh content to your website on a regular basis. Content that Google loves.
After you’ve optimised your main website pages for their focus keywords, your blog should be the place where you start to broaden your keyword focus and rank for long-tail keywords.
But how do you actually create and maintain an interesting blog for your recruitment agency that will help you rank higher in Google?
Blogging for SEO – 101
Company website blogs are not a place to talk about your services and do heavy promotion. They’re a place to share industry insights, answer user queries, and help people find what what they’re looking for.
The number 1 aim of each blog post as a recruitment agency should be to attract new candidates, with SEO coming second place. This way you’ll always be creating great content, not keyword stuffed, dull articles.
What could we write about?
Anything that you think potential candidates would be interested in.
Let’s say a candidate is looking to change jobs so starts doing some research.
The first thing they’ll probably search in Google is ‘How much do software engineers earn in London?’
So why not write an in-depth blog post explaining how much they can expect to earn working in London and what other things they need to consider when looking for software engineer jobs.
At the end of the post include a phone number and ask them to get in contact if they’re interested in finding a new software engineer job in London.
You could also write about the current state of the job market, or give opinions on current vacancies/trends.
Quick tip – Throughout the post include internal links out to relevant pages and other blog posts.
(An example of internal linking form earlier in this guide.)
How long should each post be?
Similarly to optimising your page content you should aim for 700-1000 words in each post.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule as shorter posts that deliver great value to the reader quickly are just as likely to get shared online, which is another factor that will really help your website ranking higher. (Scroll down for more information on Backlinks)
How often should we be blogging?
Once again there isn’t a magic pill for blogging frequency. Your content production should be as regular as you have the resources for.
But remember. Quality over quantity.
2 posts per month is a good baseline for blogging in the recruitment industry, however, this can change depending on the SEO quality of your competitors.
Google loves seeing fresh content on websites which is why you need to be consistent with your blog content.
It also gives Google bots a reason to come back and check your website to reconsider its position in the search results.
What do we do after we’ve published a new post?
This is where great SEO agencies are separated from the rest of the pack…
Content in general should always be of the best quality, and after you’ve spent all that time creating your information packed blog post with a video inside it can easily fall flat if you don’t get it out there.
Simply posting your blog post across your social channels is a great distribution strategy. But that’s not the best way to use blog content as an instrument for your SEO success.
As an established recruitment firm you’re likely to have contacts in the industry, contacts who would find your content useful or who’s audience would love your content. Which is why you should be reaching out to other websites within the recruitment industry to let them know about your new article and asking them to link back to it from their websites.
Gaining backlinks for a recruitment agency
Backlinks are the lifeblood of website SEO. If you made it this far down our guide then we’ll assume your familiar with backlinks and the risks that come with poor quality backlinks.
Google uses links between websites ‘backlinks’ to crawl between different sites on the internet and decide what each one is about, and how relevant they are to each search term. By building a good ‘web’ of backlinks from other recruitment related websites, you’re telling Google that your agency website is the right one to show on the first page
Types of backlinks for recruiters
A citation is any link back to your website from somewhere that mentions your business name, address, phone number and other details. These are used for local SEO helping your agency to rank when people in your service area are searching.
These backlinks are great for not only improving your ranking in Google but they’re also an online PR opportunity. Posting articles on other relevant recruitment and business blogs is a great way of displaying your expertise within the industry while also showing Google that your website is relevant to business and recruitment.
High-quality guest posts are the hardest links to gain, but the most rewarding by far.
Anchor text Links
When other websites are writing content they’re likely to do research on the topic so that they can include external information to support their piece. When they find useful information and quote it in their content they’re likely to reference it and link back to where they found it.
Although it’s hard to seek these backlinks out for your recruitment agency, they can still be earned by creating engaging content that provides expert information.
Possibly the easiest links to gain, directories allow you to submit your business information including a link back to your website usually free-of-charge. The power of these links in the eyes of Google is always decreasing but they’re still a necessity for any SEO campaign, especially if you are looking to rank for local search terms.
“Premium backlinks – Backlinks which are of high-quality, coming from hyper-relevant websites, using suitable anchor text.”
The aim of any backlink building is to gain premium backlinks. These are the types of links Google loves, which is why they should be your focus. Low quality, spammy backlinks are easy to gain but carry no authority and are more likely to harm your website than help it.
Finding backlink opportunities
As a recruitment agency your goal should be to gain backlinks from website that feature articles and content around the recruitment industry, the job market, business, and career guidance.
You’re likely to know where to find these types of site already, but if not you can scroll through your LinkedIn feed or have a quick Google to find thousands of relevant sites that could feature a backlink to your site.
3 ways to use your content to get backlinks
Blogs and other content aren’t only great at helping new candidates find you, they also serve as assets when reaching out to gain quality backlinks.
- By displaying your expertise and sharing information through content your blog becomes a useful resource for other people in the industry. Which means when someone else is creating content they may quote your content and include a link to it. This is even more likely if your content is already ranking high in Google.
- Searching for content that’s similar to yours on Google then reaching out to the creators is a more lengthy but worthwhile backlink strategy. Simply find the right article, get in contact with whoever created the contact and let them know that you’ve created a similar piece which could be useful to their audience as well. Then proceed to ask for a link back to your content.
- Once you’ve found some premium backlink opportunities you can also reach out to them and offer to create some content for their blog in exchange for a link back to your website. Armed with your catalog of previous high-quality content these other website owners are likely to welcome the opportunity. Be sure to show them your previous relevant content to sweeten the deal!
Recruitment Agency SEO Guide Roundup
SEO is a long process, that involves many layers in an ever-changing landscape as Google continues to update their algorithms daily. But our guide above outlines the core principles that when followed are the basis of any great SEO campaign that will stand the test of time.
Want to speak to an expert recruitment SEO agency? Contact us today