Jessic McFadden, Stories Inc.’s Head of Marketing, is a veteran of traditional marketing. She’s sharing key ways recruitment marketers and employer branding pros can create content that stands out from the pack. First up: the top tips for improving SEO and getting your content ranking in Google.
Taking a page out of traditional marketing best practices can seriously revitalize your content, recruiting success, and employer brand. Of course, there are literally thousands of traditional marketing tactics that you could apply to your recruitment marketing content plan. But, you don’t have to do them all. You’re already strapped for time and resources! I get it. No, really, I do!
I am a 20-year veteran of the traditional marketing world who’s spent the past few years 100-percent-focused on employer branding and recruitment marketing at Stories Inc. I’ve served as a content creator and marketing campaign strategist for major websites, helping them break through the noise and become the leading channels for their target audiences. And, at large agencies I’ve developed and led integrated marketing campaigns to help big brands reach seemingly unattainable goals.
Friend, I am very familiar with the feeling that there’s not enough time or people to get everything done. (Side note: That feeling is something we at Stories have the pleasure of taking away while serving as extensions of talent marketing teams.) With apologies to Liam Neeson’s character in Taken, I have developed a very particular set of skills for determining the fastest and easiest fixes for revitalizing recruitment marketing.
So, without further ado or botching of overused movie quotes, I’m starting a series of articles detailing ways recruitment marketers and employer branding pros can implementing traditional marketing tactics and create content that stands out from the pack.
The first place to start: optimizing your careers site so it rockets up the Google rankings. It’s not as exciting as developing employee story videos, I know. But it’s the easiest and most effective place to start making an impact today. You can bring more active and passive candidates to your site via organic search. And, most of your email, social, job postings, and other communications will include links to your career site content.
Yes, you need a blog. Consistent addition of new content and updates on your website is the best way to reach people looking to learn about your company via online searches.
Your goal for each blog post should be three-fold:
If you’ve avoided starting a blog or updating a dormant one, it’s time to move this task to the top of your list. Don’t worry: it’s easier to produce compelling blog content than you think!
According to Backlinko.com, organic search results that rank on page one of Google contain an average of 1,890 words. And, that ideal blog post word count (1,500-2,000 words) mirrors the natural length of an employee story.
The number one thing you can do for your recruitment marketing is to begin finding and sharing employee stories to your blog. Plus, stories are the most compelling content to your audience, who is looking for the inside scoop. Make sure they’re not garden-variety testimonials, and have the essential elements of an employee story!
Before you recreate the wheel, put air in your tires. Start by checking which web pages and articles are providing you with the most traffic and conversion rates, and then bring that content fully up to date. At Stories, we use Google Analytics to easily identify the pages and blog posts that get the most traffic.
Make sure that all links work and all information is accurate. Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices (more on that below!). You can retitle it, but be sure to keep your original link. Then, republish it with the current date and bring it to the top of your blog.
This strategy has two big benefits. Firstly, Google likes a long game: the more traffic links get over time, the higher they rank. Secondly, the pressure is off you and your team developing brand-new pieces from scratch.
In your search to find which content was performing best, did you see any topic trends? And, do those hot topics mesh with your current recruitment marketing goals? If yes, then prioritize capturing more stories and developing more content in those areas.
For example, if you see that a blog post about flexible work at your company is popular, it’s because people are searching on that topic or your piece is resonating with your audience. So, create more content on that topic, perhaps sharing individual stories from employees who are benefitting from this aspect of your culture in different ways.
It’s important for all of us to stop being afraid of the SEO acronym. Instead, recognize SEO is simply a set of best practices that are easy, accessible and worth every second of our time. We all make sure that our content has correct spelling and grammar, and no special certifications are required for that, right? Sure, we can hire expert copy editors or software, but most of the time we handle it ourselves. General SEO is the same—it’s something any content creator can do.
Internal links throughout your content is the easiest improver of SEO. Consistently linking to other content helps your overall careers site rank higher. And, those internal links really help your most important pieces get seen. A lot of internal links help search engines recognize your most high value articles. So, you should especially be linking to those pages that you’d most like to rank high in Google.
At Stories, for instance, adding relevant, intentional internal links to our post 7 of the Best Company Culture Videos has helped it rank first in Google for “company culture video” and “company culture videos” — search terms that are important to what we offer. In your case, you may be trying to rank for “best places to work for women in tech”, for example, so develop that content and build internal links to it.
You should also link to open positions and related information in each blog post. Beyond helping search engines, this also helps candidates. You’ll guide them to taking the next step, be it applying, opting-in to your talent community, or clicking to learn more about your company. No need to overdo—add links that are truly relevant and bring your visitors to the most action-oriented pages. Additionally, present your links as clear calls to actions for candidates.
The keywords your target audiences use when looking for new positions and information about your company should be the building blocks of your website. Conduct keyword research of your own website and your competitors. Look into keyword research tools and take advantage of their free trials to find out as much information as possible about the words that drive your traffic and recruitment needs. Don’t be intimidated—a lot of this is common sense. Combine your new findings about keywords with what you already know about your ideal candidates’ personas.
Then, use those keywords when developing and updating your content. Use your keywords for your website pages, navigation, and titles, and add keywords to your body copy and headers. However, make sure that the use is natural and reads well. You don’t want to lose a reader because your content is so overly-focused on keywords that it doesn’t make sense.
Another critical place for your keywords is the meta description of every link on your site. This is the blurb that shows up in Google describing each page. In order to show up high in Google search, this needs to be filled out with descriptive, keyword-rich information.
Unfortunately, a lot of corporate and careers sites miss the meta descriptions step and let Google choose what to show here—a missed opportunity to reach candidates! At Stories, we use the Yoast plugin for WordPress which makes writing custom meta descriptions easy-peasy.
Unfortunately, a lot of corporate and careers site miss the meta descriptions step and let Google choose what to show here—a missed opportunity to reach candidates!
Every header or embedded image on your site is an opportunity to capture a candidate’s web search! Although it’s tempting to skip this step and hit the publish button, don’t! Instead of leaving those photo fields blank or named “DSC-1147.jpg”, think of every image title and alt-text space as an ideal place to add keywords that relate to your article title and topic.
You’re armed with the tools to develop, update and optimize your website content, yes! But, you may need some blog topic inspiration and a few more helpful hints. We’ve got you covered in our Best Practices for Your Careers Blog one-pager! You’ll get formatting tips and inspiration for stories that bring your blog to life.
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