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March 05, 2015 Job board SEO tips: How to break through the noise Stephanie Mills, Communications Manager

Job board SEO tips: How to break through the noise

Today there are more online job boards than ever, which has led to an increase in competition for attracting the right jobseekers. With so many job boards available, ensuring that your job board can be seen by search engines is vitally important for its success.

Research has shown that 74% of jobseekers start their job hunt on search engines like Google and Bing. So without a well-planned and sustained SEO strategy, it could prove difficult to achieve your desired search engine rankings. With organic search being such an important channel for new user acquisition it requires constant focus and flexibility.

For many, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can seem like a daunting task to manage when writing job listings. But here are a few simple guidelines to follow to help you optimise your job board, ensuring that you have the best possible chance of being indexed in search results and breaking through the noise of the internet.

Choose Your Page Titles Wisely

Page titles, often referred to as Meta titles, are essentially the names of your pages. These will appear within the page tab as well as within search result page listings. You’ll notice them as the blue clickable link headings in Google search results.

As a general rule, these Meta page titles should be up to about 60 characters long. Google will display typically 50 – 60 characters, or more precisely, 512 pixels! Attempt to place your keyword within the first three words of the page title for maximum SEO value.

Perfecting the Meta Description

Meta descriptions appear in search results as a description of the page, just below the Meta page titles and they are an opportunity to tell the user (and the search engine) what your page is about.

You have between 150 - 160 characters for your Meta description, so ensure that you include a relevant keyword in the first three words and work your page description around that phrase.

These Meta length recommendations are frequently altered, so it’s a good idea to keep up to date with SEO changes.

Making the Most Out of Heading Tags

H1 Tags have also proven their weight within the search engine results, ensure that you enlist a relevant, searchable keyword to ensure visibility to search engine crawlers.

It is important to review these aspects of your pages on regular intervals to ensure that they stay relevant to your industry. But don’t forget H2’s and H3’s, which can be included in the body content of your page.

Optimise Your Job Listing Pages & Board Structure

Compiling relevant, optimised information under one URL, which a user can access in as few clicks as possible, dramatically improves your chances of conversion because it creates a positive user experience.

Ensure that you name and add content to your listing pages based around what your users are searching for. These are the keywords and phrases that will help you to rank higher in search engines.

You can achieve this in the form of sector hubs for example. These allow the opportunity for your job board to specialise in particular areas by compiling similar roles or industries with relevant information on separate optimised pages.

Another option is to create dynamic job titles; these are pages containing listings of popular job titles outside of your taxonomy and can enrich the taxonomy exposed for job searchers and SEO without over complicating your job board taxonomy.

Content is King

If you think of the structure and page elements as the bones, then the content could be described as the meat of your job board. Keywords, just like in the page titles are extremely important when writing the content for your job board and listings.

SEO has seen huge changes over the past few years, but the one factor that has emerged as un-changing in its effectiveness is quality articles and blog posts.

In fact, the majority of your impressions will usually come from blog posts and articles and they’re a simple way of keeping your job board fresh and updated. Well-established blogs have been proven to increase traffic by up to 55% and indexed pages by a massive 434%. Content can also include images and graphics.

It is important to remember the success of your site now directly relates to the quality of your content. Unoriginal (or duplicate) and un-useful content can actually serve to harm your site. Learn about your users and ask yourself some important questions. What do they search for? What do they need to know? How can you improve their knowledge of your subject?

It’s also important to think socially and produce content which your users want to share. Madgex article pages have social bookmarks to encourage this process, allowing users to share your content without even having to leave the page.

If you have a blog run on a separate URL ensure that you link articles to a relevant landing page on your job board, to guarantee you benefit from your content within the search results pages.

In addition you can add your Google+ company profile page as the publisher of your job board direct in the CMS of Madgex. This lets Google know that your job board site is part of your brand. Any +1’s from your websites are aggregated to your brand page, and it increases the possibility of getting a ‘knowledge panel’ for branded searches.

Considering Mobile SEO

With mobile devices playing an increasing role within the average job search, there are further considerations that can be made to target a mobile audience.

Google blend search results with where the mobile searcher is at the time. Therefore pages with rich location data are more likely to appear in mobile searches. This is made easier with the Madgex geo location search, which generates browse URL’s at a localised level to aid your mobile SEO efforts.

So we’ve covered the dos of SEO, but what about some of the don’ts?

Keyword Stuffing & Unnatural Backlinks

The best advice when considering SEO for Job Boards is to write for humans, not robots.

Like we’ve said before, search is constantly evolving. Several tactics that were once utilised to help the crawl up the search results are now causing more harm than good.

Avoid keyword stuffing your content. This involves loading your page with keywords in order to try and manipulate the search rankings. This has a negative impact on user experience, which is a factor Google is trying their best to preserve. By focusing on providing useful, quality content and writing in a natural way, your page should gain rank organically.

Backlinks are still one of the most relevant ways of gaining page rank, but they are a tool that has been heavily abused in the past. Sites that naturally link to each other due to content or industry are helpful, but chasing sites to link to your content or paying someone to generate links is becoming risky practise. Sites with unnatural links are being heavily penalised by Google updates, with whole sites being stricken from search results without warning.

Create content which is relevant to the site you are writing for. Think of naturally linking topics and ideas, to share on sites relevant to your industry. Building good quality relevant content that other relevant sites want to link to increases your authority and help you stay high within the SERP’s.

If your content has already been penalised for unnatural links, this can be rectified either using webmaster tools to identify the links and using the link disavow tool to ask Google to not index that particular link, or you can contact the site directly and ask them to remove the troublesome link. This is a lengthy process and should not be taken on lightly.

SEO can seem like a daunting task, but the main idea to remember is that Google’s focus is user experience. They want to ensure that their users are being directed to the most relevant and useful sites from their searches. Their main focus aim is to answer their user’s questions.

Good SEO is always preceded by thorough research to pin point your sites most relevant search terms. After that great content should be your main goal and primary focus.