The field of digital talent attraction is evolving quickly, but many believe recruitment overall lags behind other more sophisticated digital industries.

As CEO of a mature digital marketing agency, which specializes in recruitment across a vast array of sectors, I'm inclined to vehemently agree.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is hailed as the tour de force of many digital businesses. While it is frequently bandied about the recruitment industry, it remains elementary by comparison. Many companies recognize its value in making direct hires but do not have the expertise to take full of advantage of it.

In 2017, however, I predict this is going to change.

As digital recruitment marketing continues to advance, here are six reasons SEO will soar to the top of the agenda for many in-house recruitment teams:

1. Significantly reduced cost per hire

What's the biggest job board in the world? Google, right?

Businesses that succeed in ranking high on Google above competitors, job sites and recruitment agencies will attract a much greater volume of applications directly to their website.

Consistently receiving these direct applications will translate into continually reduced cost per hire. SEO will help businesses own broad terms, such as "banking jobs London", as well as specific terminology, while ranking regularly and reaping the monetary rewards.

Using just basic tools to track where your website traffic is coming from such as Google Analytics will also make it easier to measure cost per hire too.

2. Sustainable talent pooling opportunities

As businesses begin to rank for hard-to-fill roles, or positions they hire for time and again, they will also start building their own sustainable talent pool. This will further decrease costs and time spent searching for suitable candidates.

3. Increased reach and impact of social media content

That there has been widespread uptake of businesses using social media and branded content to attract direct applications, is nothing new. Content, for example, is a tried and tested method of engaging new candidate personas and drawing them into opportunities.

However, the SEO for recruitment value is often either overlooked or simply not carried out well enough to maximize its full potential.

Businesses need to optimize these assets so that they rank highly, are easily discoverable, and will continue to add value for many months--and even years--to come. This process will also assist in attracting external links straight to a business's own careers section, boosting the effectiveness of its overall strategy.

4. Greater control over candidate experience

The more in control businesses are of what their potential candidates see at every step of the candidate experience, the more they can design the experience to be positive, on-brand and purposeful.

World-class candidate experience starts the moment a potential candidate is introduced to the employer brand; if it's via a job board or third party, it can be less than impressive.

5. Not knowing the basics is a big risk

Even if SEO is not part of the wider talent attraction strategy, not having a handle on the basic SEO components can harm the performance of a business' career website.

Take duplicate content, for instance. If other, more authoritative competitors or job boards are using the same content (like job descriptions), search engines might issue harsh penalties and even deny ranking future job vacancies.

6. Opened doors to SEO opportunities

A growing volume of search engine traffic comes from people using mobile devices. Recruitment businesses that ignore SEO are therefore risking losing out on exposure to new candidates - and exciting new formats that engages them.

The recent introduction of Google AMP, for example, means simplified content that is specifically submitted in Google's new 'AMP' format will stand a much higher chance of ranking above traditionally coded web pages.

Competitive search phrases that for many businesses seem like a pipe dream could therefore become much more achievable.

Of course, sometimes these marginal gains don't last long before competitors catch up, however the short-term benefits could make a real difference to recruitment challenges and goals across the year.

So you see, there are more reasons to seek advice with your SEO than not. In fact, to ignore it means risking being left behind. With subtle expert changes and the addition of regular SEO resource, even in small quantities, hiring challenges could be dramatically decreased.

It would bring the entire industry in-line with the rest of its digital cohort.

My advice is to undertake an SEO audit of your careers website to see how you rank amongst your competition. Start to give serious consideration to factoring SEO into your plans for 2017 or risk losing valuable ground within search engines.