Many brands have yet to fully realize the significance of Search Engine Optimization,(SEO), when looking to implement their latest talent attraction strategy. In many cases, this boils down to two reasons; not focusing enough on their candidate experience, or more likely they have been relying on more traditional methods of talent attraction such as using job boards or recruitment agencies.

Simply put, this is a mistake. I sat down with Marc Spear, the head of Inbound Marketing at my employer brand agency, to discuss the reasons why SEO is such a key activity when it comes to finding and building a great team. Here are Marc's five benefits of using SEO for talent attraction.

1. Reduced costs and improved candidate experience

Making sure that your careers site is making good use of SEO reduces your dependency on recruitment advertising and other outsourcing. Marc comments, "Recruitment advertising and agencies can be expensive, and getting it wrong is even more expensive. But instead, investing in good SEO on a careers site means you'll be reducing costs and, importantly, you can keep close control over your candidate experience in the process, with more flexibility to make changes and experiment with content."

2. Reduced time to hire, and better quality talent to your website.

Job boards and recruitment agencies bring high numbers of applicants but are they the right applicants? "Optimizing your careers site content will reduce your time to hire by achieving sustainable online visibility for niche or hard to fill roles that have caused headaches in recent recruitment efforts."

With a higher quantity of the right traffic, you'll stand a far greater chance of attracting the ideal, high calibre candidate you may have missed out on before to job boards or competitors. Marc comments, "Most careers websites rank much lower in search engines than job boards or recruitment agencies, and as a result, they fail to attract sufficient volumes of prospective candidates looking to change their jobs. In restricting yourself to a smaller pool of talent, you are making your selection process much more difficult."

Making changes such as improving the content of a job-type page to increase its relevancy for the roles advertised on it, altering how the careers website appears in search results, or reviewing the user experience of a job page and implementing changes all adds up to more and better candidates.

3. Achieve better visibility for your careers site

Candidates access your career site content in different ways, and mobile is dominant. As mobile traffic increases and as competition gets tougher online, the use of Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, (AMP), schema tags, technical SEO and optimized social signals and external links can all deliver the marginal gains you need to increase the visibility of your careers website. "There's no additional code required to employ schema markup. It gives the search engine more information about what the content on your website means, and not just what it says. It makes it possible to add a stack of additional information to show in your search engine results".

4. Keep pace with candidate expectations

Behaviours and expectations of candidates are changing, and the role a careers website plays in a well-rounded talent attraction strategy is becoming ever more important. Just as with your social channels and your Glassdoor reviews, candidates will assess your employer brand in diverse ways. Employ SEO and other digital talent attraction tactics that drive traffic directly to your careers website, and make sure it performs to the standard candidates now expect once they land on it.

5. Stay competitive

As time goes by, if SEO is ignored, it will become increasingly more difficult to rank against competitors and mature, well-ranking websites competing to win the attention of top talent. Since Google and other search engines change their guidelines frequently, SEO is a continual, ongoing process. It's necessary to build backlinks, generate high-quality content and to continually test user interaction, in order to provide the best possible user experience. As Marc says, "The industry is quickly becoming more and more savvy to the use of SEO and other digital tactics, meaning that it has never been more important to ensure that you are doing the same."

By effectively using SEO for talent attraction, you'll be equipped to compete with similar brands and agencies. You can ensure that you always stand a strong chance of attracting the most suitable and high-quality talent to your careers website. This is not only the most cost-effective way to approach your recruitment; it's also the best possible candidate experience because you're able to control and measure each and every step of the process of delivering this traffic to your careers website.

Published on: Apr 19, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.