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How SEO can genuinely attract and retain talent

The world of talent attraction is changing rapidly, and keeping up with these shifts can be a daunting task. Falling behind could mean the difference between managing to attract and retain talent or losing out on your star, ideal candidate.
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SEO is rising to prominence quickly within the recruitment sphere, and for good reason too. The truth is, most companies still don’t fully understand why SEO is so crucial to their success – especially when they want to attract and retain talent.

It’s not just some mystical art that involves creating an elaborate code to make websites load faster. In reality, it’s one of the most fundamental drivers in increasing your website ranking, page noticeability and traffic.

Ok, let’s take a step back. Think about it this way… what’s the biggest job board in the entire world?

Google!

Yep, that’s right. People start job searches and research companies from Google. And with Google’s RankBrain, the focus is now on the context and intent of a user’s query.

Experience has been thrust into the spotlight. What do we mean by experience? Well, when it comes to your careers website, the experience needs to live up to standards set by the industry.

If your candidates are buying products from Amazon, you can bet they’re used to extremely high levels of customer service and satisfaction. So when they visit your careers website, does the experience live up to the same standards?

To make sure it does, you really need to think about engagement, bounce rates, depth of visit, time, and speed (analytics). Content is crucial as well. You need to make sure you’re populating your careers website with unique, fresh and continuous content that adds value over time.

All of these elements, when done properly, coalesce and interact to boost your page ranking and discoverability.

Let’s take a quick look at how these components can reengineer your digital recruitment strategy for success to attract and retain talent.

Speed and performance

For every second your careers website takes to load, you lose 20 per cent of your traffic. That’s because people are impatient! They just don’t hang around anymore.

Google and other search engines reward websites for performance because it greatly affects user experience. This means that your careers website needs to be optimised for speed. Slow loading speeds could literally be costing you millions in lost talent over any decent period of time.

Pro tip: Try typing your website domain into this useful little tool and see how you fare: https://tools.pingdom.com/

(P.S. – anything under a score of 90/100 is unacceptable!)

On-page candidate experience

When candidates visit your careers website, we’ve already seen that you need to make a strong first impression to attract and retain talent. If people leave straight away, search engines see these on-site behaviours as signals of poor performance.

Bounce rate and dwell time are good initial indicators of experience satisfaction. Ideally, you’d want to see your bounce rate below 30 per cent and your dwell time over one minute.

To increase dwell time, you need to move beyond the archaic job listing with a header and bullet points beneath. Please, it’s not 1998 anymore! Get fun, get original and get creative.

If you’re having trouble making your job pages interesting and engaging, look to any well-known ecommerce website for advice (made.com, for instance, has six different types of content on one page – all designed to sell you a beanbag!).

Individual job pages

Another problem when it comes to the mission to attract and retain talent is that many careers websites fail to optimise job detail pages. In fact, it’s important to create permanent pages even when you might not have any jobs to advertise.

What do I mean by this? Well, say you’re working on a web page for ‘Graduate Trainee Solicitors in New York.’ It might take you 12 months to rank that page, but once it’s there you can benefit from a much higher volume of regular traffic.

Even if there are no immediate vacancies to display on that page, you can still encourage candidates to express an interest so you can notify them once there is a live vacancy to attract and retain talent. This is where content comes in handy – because it keeps people coming back to your site over a sustained period of time.

Content

When it comes to creating a lively and engaging content hub, credibility and trust are crucial for candidates. As a brand, you need to show that you’re invested in the talent communities you want to influence. This means helping and supporting people by adding real value to their lives.

This isn’t a platform for you to talk about how great you are. Keep the focus on your candidates and what matters to them. If you don’t know what this is, don’t be afraid to admit it. You can use persona and empathy maps to understand the emotional and rational drivers that shape your candidates’ decisions.

Pro tip: Check out a website called www.answerthepublic.com – all you need to do is enter a keyword of your choosing and you can see the main search queries related to that word.

It’s a really useful tool to find out how people are thinking, and more importantly what information they’re looking for. You can then engineer your content to answer these questions, which not only keeps your candidates happy but boosts you up Google’s rankings.

Remember, awareness is the basis of all change. Use these insights to build a content platform that shows you’re invested in your people.

Image: Shutterstock

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About Author

Bryan Adams

A strong leader with a background in communications, Bryan Adams is the CEO & founder at Ph.Creative. He is a social media addict and inbound marketing strategist with a passion for contagious content and disruptive ideas.

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