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How to Use SEO for Job Postings to Increase Visibility

open laptop sitting on a desk with a job description pulled up on a website. On the desk there is a blue flower bouquet and an open notebook

One of the best ways to increase the visibility of your job postings is to leverage a tool you already use on a daily basis: search engines. With some strategic optimization, SEO for job postings can capture more organic traffic, connect with more relevant applicants, and increase the online presence of your employer brand. 

You don’t have to be an SEO specialist to apply these techniques to your job listings. We’ll cover a few of the top things any recruiter can do to make their job openings more visible in search results. 

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of strategically creating and improving a website’s content to improve its visibility within search engines. 

SEO best practices are constantly evolving alongside search engine algorithms. These algorithms aim to serve relevant, high-quality content to the search engine’s users. So, content creators–in this case, recruiters–must stay abreast of the latest trends and guidelines in order to achieve desirable placement in search results. 

Benefits of Using SEO for Job Postings

Increase visibility

The primary objective of using SEO for job postings is to ensure your listings appear in search results. When a person is looking for a job, one of the first things they do is go to Google and type in what they’re looking for. SEO helps those searchers find your opening. 

Capitalize on free traffic

Search engines are a huge driver of organic (read: free!) traffic. Optimizing your organic search performance allows you to spend less on paid channels like advertising to get the same number of views. 

Connect with the right candidates

One of the main signals Google uses to rank a website is the relevance of its content. As a result, specific content performs better than generic, broad content. This encourages recruiters to create more tailored job descriptions, which can weed out unqualified candidates and simplify the screening process. 

Improves overall website quality

Google likes high-quality web pages that keep people on them, which is exactly what you can achieve by optimizing your job listings. This boosts the presence of your entire website, not just your Careers page, which benefits your employer brand. 

How to Use SEO for Job Postings

1. Use an effective page title

In this case, we’re talking about the title of the webpage your job listing will be placed on, not the title of the job itself (though the two will be similar). The page title is what appears in bold in search results, like this:

Google search results of a Cintas Inside Sales Job Representative in Tampa, Fl that ranks number one

Clear, simple titles work best. Don’t lead with your company name since it’s not as likely a person will be searching for jobs with a specific company. It’s much more common to search ‘job title + location.’ So, make sure both of these are prominently featured in your title. Here are a few good examples:

Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Denver (Job title, location)

Assistant Store Manager, Stewart’s Shops, Poughkeepsie (Job title, company, location)

Pharmacy Intern, Part Time, Philadelphia (Job title, type of position, location)

2. Write a compelling meta description

The meta description is the short caption that’s displayed under the page title in search results. The meta description gives searchers a quick summary of what they’ll find if they click the link, and it gives the search engine additional context that supports prominent search placement. 

Your meta description should be under 160 characters. It should summarize the key job requirements, incorporating the most relevant keywords–more on those next. 

3. Leverage Keywords correctly

The keywords you use for SEO purposes differ slightly from those you look for when screening a resume

When reviewing resumes, you’re looking for keywords that describe the most important skills and qualifications for the job. While these are important to incorporate into your job description, you need to think like a job seeker for SEO purposes. What terms are they most likely to be searching for?

In addition to the job title, company name, and location, SEO keywords for job posts include:

  • Alternative titles that can be used to describe the same job, like ‘receptionist’ and ‘administrative assistant’ 
  • Descriptors of core job duties, like ‘organizing files’ or ‘scheduling meetings’
  • Key benefits candidates are likely to be seeking, like ‘health and dental insurance’
  • Credentials like CPA, MBA, CNA, etc.

Incorporate these keywords throughout your job description–but not too much. Search engines recognize and penalize keyword stuffing. Your keywords should only make up around 2 to 3% of your total word count. 

4. Write a succinct job description

Aim for around  250 words summarizing the position’s primary duties and requirements. Clarity is key, both for search engines and for real humans who are reading the page. 

Try to avoid “walls of text” and instead break your description into short paragraphs of no more than two or three sentences. Bullet points are encouraged to break up large chunks of text and make the listing easier to skim. 

Use straightforward language. Avoid phrasing that’s meant to make your listing seem clever or creative, like ‘marketing Jedi’ or ‘sales wizard.’ These types of descriptions have become so commonly used that they’re cliche and can cause confusion for search engines. 

5. Include a company description

Secondary to the job description, include a company summary of around 100 to 150 words. This should briefly describe what the company does and the key benefits of working there.

6. Incorporate rich media

Video, images, and interactive content hold a visitor’s attention longer than text alone, and Google knows this. Keep interested candidates on your page and entice them to want to apply for your opening by engaging them with rich media. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • A slide show walk-through of your headquarters
  • A video mash-up of testimonials from happy employees
  • An infographic that highlights your employer value proposition 
  • A chatbot that allows candidates to get answers to frequently asked questions 

Don’t overdo it–choose only one or two of the above to ensure the page is user-friendly and keep the primary focus on your job description. 

7. Use search-friendly URLs

Your URLs aren’t just the online address of your page. They’re an additional chance to help search engines understand and categorize your content. 

Instead of using generic URLs like this:

Use URLs that incorporate your keywords in a readable string separated by hyphens, like this:

Your URL structure can be configured within your website’s CMS. 

8. Link to other site pages

Well-established websites are structured like complex websites. They link out to other sites, link amongst their own internal site pages, and have other websites linking to them. This builds credibility in the eyes of search engines. 

Achieve this ‘web’ effect by linking from your job posting to other website pages, like your Careers and About Us pages. Likewise, link to your job posting from other pages of your website. 

9. Share your listing on social media 

Another way to achieve the ‘web’ of links that search engines favor is to share your job listing pages on social media. Share them soon after they’re first published to begin driving traffic to the pages, which search engines view as a signal of interest. After that, share them regularly and any time the listing is updated. 

10. Update job postings regularly

While high-quality content is arguably the most important ranking factor, search engines also like content that’s fresh. The good news is that regular updates are also a best practice for effective job descriptions. 

Any time you’re hiring for a job you’ve previously posted, refresh the listing by changing up the content. You might try leading with a new value proposition, revising the description of job duties, or updating the post to include recently added/changed requirements.

Additional Tips to Improve Your SEO

Here are a few more technical factors to help your site rank higher in search results. If you’re serious about using SEO to gain more visibility, enlisting expert help with these items may be worthwhile. 

Accelerate site speed

In 2021, Google made website load speed one of its Core Web Vitals–the metrics the search engine uses to measure a site’s performance. Google is always looking to prioritize sites that provide a superior user experience, and fast load times are a big part of that. Slower sites may be penalized with lower search placement. 

Optimize usability 

Usability is another big factor in how long a visitor stays on your site and how good the experience is. Are your site’s pages easy to navigate? Are they mobile-friendly? Do all of the links, buttons, and features work as expected? All of these contribute to optimal usability. 

Build domain authority

This tactic can’t be achieved with a few simple page edits. In fact, it can take years to build a high level of domain authority. Still, it can greatly boost your site traffic in the long run. Gaining backlinks from other high-quality sites, creating frequently shared content, and having a well-structured site map can all improve your domain authority. 

Employing the SEO strategies we’ve covered here will increase your visibility and lead to a better experience for candidates. Optimization helps search engines correctly categorize your content, promoting higher search placement and more targeted visitors. Ultimately, leveraging SEO for job listings optimizes recruitment, saving time and resources while ensuring the right candidates discover and apply to relevant opportunities.

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the President of 4 Corner Resources, the staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. 4 Corner is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance, and the top-rated staffing company in Central Florida. Recent awards and recognition include being named to Forbes’ Best Recruiting Firms in America, The Seminole 100, and The Golden 100. Pete also founded zengig, to offer comprehensive career advice, tools, and resources for students and professionals. He hosts two podcasts, Hire Calling and Finding Career Zen, and is blazing new trails in recruitment marketing with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn