When a company undergoes a career site redesign, it hopes to improve the candidate experience and, as an added benefit, hopes to improve its search engine rankings. CKR has compiled a list of 12 steps you can take to make sure your site is fully optimized.
- Career website structure: How is your website structured? Do you have separate pages for all of your key job areas? Doing so will give you an opportunity to create specific content and also gives you the chance to include specific keywords that job seekers would use to find jobs. For example, a healthcare system might have career pages specific for physicians, registered nurses or maybe even allied health. Make sure all of your pages — especially your job-specific landing pages — use semantic page URLs. If possible, add the location, category or any other unique identifier in the format of “real words.” This also applies to job description pages.
- Website load speed: Since 2010, Google has factored website speed into search rankings. The reason? The faster a website loads, the better the user experience. You can check your career website load speed here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. The test will also give you actionable ways to fix your career website speed. If you’re interested in improving your load speed, you may also want to check out AMP; setting your website up with AMP pages will give you good visibility and quick, viewable content.
- Mobile optimization: Google has made mobile an important piece in search engine rankings now that mobile devices are used to access websites more than desktops. Test your career site here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. Google also highly recommends that websites use the responsive web design pattern and will soon start giving preferred ranking to mobile-first indexed websites.
- Secure website: CKR recently wrote a blog about Google changing the way the Chrome browser recognizes website security. How does this impact your career website? Your typical website is most commonly accessed in two ways: HTTP and HTTPS. HTTP is the standard and default form used when accessing websites. HTTPS adds an additional layer of security by encrypting in SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and sharing a key with your browser and the server, thereby making your career website much more difficult to hack. In 2014, Google tried to persuade webmasters to switch to HTTPS by giving it a stronger ranking signal as motivation. Google said they would give preference to sites with a secure cert. Since then, HTTPS sites have seen a definite boost over HTTP sites. Now, Google is upping the ante and forcing the issue: Instead of incentivizing HTTPS, Google may even penalize HTTP sites, similar to what happened with #mobilegeddon and mobile-first indexing. Check out the blog to find out when you should make the switch to HTTPS.
- Domain canonicalization: According to Google, “The preferred domain is the one that you would like used to index your site’s pages (sometimes this is referred to as the canonical domain). Links may point to your site using both the www and non-www versions of the URL (for instance, http://www.example.com and http://example.com). The preferred domain is the version that you want used for your site in the search results.” It is important to make sure that your career site is indexed, so if you see a message that your site is not indexed, it may be because it is indexed under a different domain. This isn’t an issue with subdomain based URLs.
- Fix broken links: Links to and from your career website that are broken create a bad user experience and also interrupt the path web crawlers are on as they travel link to link to get data. It can be difficult to keep track of content that your website links to, so you should be regularly checking your links. You can add this Chrome extension and check links at www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/. This is especially important when a website is in transition; if you’re building a new website, your existing and indexed links may change, so it is critical to evaluate those new links and provide proper redirects.
- Avoid duplicate content: Duplicate content is described as content that appears on the internet in more than one place. Why is this bad? Site owners with duplicate content might notice a loss in rankings and traffic because when there is duplicate content, search engines don’t know which content to choose — which hurts both versions. Check www.siteliner.com for duplicate content on your career site. If you discover that your site has duplicate content, consider editing the content or removing it to help improve your results. Original content that promotes thought leadership is close to 25% of what matters in SEO ranking.
- Google My Business Profile: The Google My Business Profile product is free and essential for local SEO. This will enable you to appear in local search results, so make sure to add each of your locations to the profile. This is important for candidate experience from the minute someone searches for a job in their area through to when they are looking for directions to an interview. You can set up your Google My Business Profile here: https://www.google.com/business/.
- Google Job Posting Schema: If done correctly, the job description page can be one of the largest sources of targeted traffic for a careers website. Make sure your job listings are posted to your website and have individual, optimized pages dedicated to each post. Ensure quality content when crafting job descriptions. Unique keywords and relevant metadata — such as the job title, location, and career area — displayed in both the page title and URL are a must. Additionally, Google extends a job posting schema that helps optimize jobs content for organic search results. By formatting JSON feeds and HTML microdata properly, the chances of improved visibility in search results increase.
- Integrate Your ATS: It’s no secret that ATSs have a reputation for providing a mediocre front-end experience; increase candidate conversion by incorporating your brand, delivering an easier search option and better user experience, and including multi-device support and usability on your career website. Owning the front-end experience also benefits SEO. Bringing your jobs into your website adds more relevancy and unique content. If you choose to go this route, you should ensure that your job descriptions are frequently updated in your XML sitemap to reflect the circulating content.
- Backlinks: This is probably one of the important factors in your SEO ranking. Links to your career website via social media to your job content, event or career content are credible backlinks for your website. So rather than making your ATS feed your job data hub, your website should be the place that job boards and media link back to.
- Page Titles: It is incredibly important for all website pages to have well-thought-out page titles. A page title serves two purposes — it tells Google what the topic of that page is and because it is the first thing users see in search results, it should entice them to click.
If you still have questions about how you can optimize your career site, please contact us to learn how we can help.