When most people think about online marketing, they think about the straightforward side--the one that makes them money directly. They think about earning more traffic from their target demographics, and earning more conversions from the pool of that traffic. This leads to more sales (or leads), which then translates to bottom-line dollars for the company.
But there's another way that online marketing can help your organization--by promoting an open position and attracting more qualified candidates to apply.

SEO for Human Resources

SEO (search engine optimization) is a marketing strategy, plain and simple. By leveraging it, you'll get more visibility for the pages that matter most on your site. The delusion that most optimizers have fallen into, however, is that the pages you promote should be directly tied to your bottom line. It's equally possible (and sometimes better) to promote pages that have a chance of benefiting your brand instead, such as human resources pages or individual open positions.

Strategies for Success

Knowing that, you'll need a handful of specific strategies if you want to use SEO effectively for your hiring campaign:

1. Include a general human resources page.

This should be a main navigation "housing" for your subsequent open position pages. Here, you'll detail your company's human resources department, optimizing for keywords related to your business as a place to work rather than a place to do business with. For example, a SaaS company may use a phrase like "a leader in software engineering," as opposed to a phrase like "a leader in task management software" to cater to software developers over paying subscribers.

2. Create a dedicated page for each position.

Creating a dedicated page for each open position you have provides the opportunity to optimize a page for each of those keyword phrases. Title the page with the job title near the front, and include at least one or two synonyms for that job title in the description. In the body content, describe job responsibilities in detail, and be sure to include at least a handful of instances of the job title.

3. Target individual locations.

Even if your company is a national level organization, and even if you're hiring multiple people at multiple locations, it's a good idea to segment your open positions by location. This will allow you to optimize for geographic keywords in your titles, descriptions, and of course, your body content.

4. Use referral links to drive more traffic.

The more links you have pointing to your individual position pages, the stronger those page authorities will be (and the more likely you'll be to rank for keyword terms relating to that position). Build links on as many different sources as you can, and don't forget the power that referral traffic can lend to your site. Choose content and publishers that have the highest likelihood of passing qualified candidates your way.  For example, you may want to produce content or make your position available for outside content detailing open positions for job hunters. This is especially effective when localized to one area, such as open jobs in New York City.

Key Challenges

Despite the advantages that SEO for an open position can offer, there are some key challenges you'll need to bear in mind:

• Competition from job boards.

There are tons of online job boards, and they pretty much have a lockdown on general searches like "jobs in Chicago." If you want a chance at ranking for any search queries, you're going to have to find a niche. That means seeking highly specific candidates, or using specific variants of job searches as your target.

• Split resources.

As you optimize for a human resources campaign, you'll probably be splitting your SEO resources between that and your marketing campaign. For most organizations, this is only a temporary investment (until the position is filled), but if you're planning on running this as a long-term campaign, you'll need to carefully strategize so you don't end up neglecting either side of your campaign.

• Keyword targeting

Obviously, you'll need to target keywords for your open positions, but finding the right keywords is tougher than you might think. There are dozens of synonyms for your job title, and the job title you give may carry different connotations than you intend. At the same time, there are only so many "alternative" job titles you can include in your body content. The best approach here is to pick a direction and stick with it as best you can; if you try to optimize for too many different keywords, you'll end up splitting your efforts and ranking for none of them.

If you can incorporate these strategies and overcome these challenges, you'll be able to attract far more traffic to your open positions, and wind up with far more qualified candidates to choose from when you're ready to follow through with hiring. That means your organization will run smoother, and you'll become more profitable.
April 28, 2016

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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