3 Ways to Rank Your Employment Ads Higher on Google for Jobs

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer September 14, 2017

CHICAGO—Employers will have to relearn how to write job postings to leverage Google's launch into jobs advertising, according to HR thought leader Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, speaking at CareerBuilder's Empower 2017, a conference for recruiting professionals held by the recruiting software company.

Sackett, president of HRU Technical Resources, an engineering and design staffing firm based in Lansing, Mich., told attendees that the June launch of Google for Jobs will "completely change how candidates find jobs" and that "major shifts in thinking will have to happen in talent acquisition."

He explained that Google for Jobs was built for candidates. "It's the first talent acquisition technology built primarily for candidates, not for the end users—recruiters. It was developed so that candidates can have a better and easier experience finding the jobs they want."

That means employers will have to adapt to Google's job posting rules if they want to get the most from the search engine. "That changes the way we think," Sackett said. "Behavior will have to change."

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Three Ways to Rank Higher on Google for Jobs Searches

First, the location of the job is very important. Not just the city it's in, but the exact street address. "You can't just say you have an engineering job in Chicago," Sackett said. "The Google for Jobs schema, which determines how high to index a certain job post in search results, will rank a posting with a specific location much higher than postings without a specific location."

Google is currently working on a solution for jobs that are remote or mobile, like truck driving.

Second, Google looks down on the practice of padding job postings with keywords. "It used to be that you could stuff keywords in job posts," he said. "You could have 'developer' and 'Java' 150 times in your post. Google will drop you in the search results if you do that now.

"Google wants a structured set of data," he continued. That means industry-standard job titles and no more abbreviations. "Stop with the cute job titles. No more 'recruiting ninjas.' And don't use 'Sr. VP of HR.' They want to see 'senior vice president of human resources.' "

The biggest change will be around posting salary and benefits information. CareerBuilder research shows that about 80 percent of employers do not disclose salary in job postings.

"Corporate TA hates advertising salary," Sackett said. "But not doing it will hurt your company. Google is saying that, if you want your jobs to show up higher on search results, you better have a salary in a structured data field."

The reasoning behind this shift is that it's what candidates want. "If you neglect to add salary to your job posts, and your competitors do add it, they will rank higher on Google listings" he said. "It's that simple."  

For anyone thinking that they can ignore Google for Jobs and mainly rely on Indeed, currently the top source of external hires, Sackett responded: "Not for much longer. Indeed will be around for another decade or so, but the reality is that what they did better than anybody was they owned SEO on Google. Now Google is saying 'we can do it better–a lot better, and with the candidate in mind.' "

He recommended employers call their applicant tracking system (ATS) vendor and find out if the vendor is working with Google for Jobs to get its content into Google's database.

ATSs will be the prime conduit for showing up in Google searches in the future, experts agree.

"No ATS worth a damn is going to get left behind the Google for Jobs phenomenon," said Joel Cheesman, a recruiting technology industry veteran and the founder of Ratedly, which monitors anonymous employee review websites.

"Google prefers showing searchers pages of original content. Duplicate content is a big no-no in their world, so sending users to a company page, powered by an ATS, is preferred to a job board, which is typically just an advertising medium for a posting, driving traffic back to an ATS," Cheesman said. "As more ATS content becomes available to Google for Jobs, less and less job board content is going to show up. Unless, of course, job boards pay for the exposure."

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