4 SEO Best Practices for Your Job Descriptions

By Beth Kempton,
December 11, 2018

Given the record-low unemployment rate and competitive job market, today’s job seekers are doing extensive research and are highly selective when it comes to making career moves. In fact, 75 percent of job seekers research and take a company’s employment brand into consideration before applying to open roles.

One of the most critical aspects of your employment brand is your job descriptions. If your job descriptions don’t portray why your company is a great place to work, job seekers will be less likely to consider joining your team. And just as important, if your job descriptions don’t appear in search results, you’ll be less likely to attract job applicants. This is why you need to follow SEO best practices to ensure your job descriptions appear at the top of search results.

SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of your website traffic achieved from organic search engine results. And having an SEO strategy in place is key to attracting quality applicants, as 75 percent of clicks go to the first page of search results. If your job description doesn’t appear on the first page of search results, you’re already likely losing a significant piece of your potential candidate pool.

To help you optimize your job descriptions and, as a result, drive quality candidates to your open roles, we’ve outlined several SEO best practices below.

Keep Job Titles and Descriptions Short and Sweet

With so many opportunities at the tips of job seekers’ fingers, most scan job descriptions quickly to see whether or not open will be a fit, before moving on to considering other roles. To capture the attention of quality job applicants, it’s important to be concise with both your job titles and descriptions.

While you might want to include as much information as possible in a job title – such as salary information, sign on bonuses and your company’s location – to get prospective applicants to click on your job postings, longer job titles can cause your apply rates to take a hit. In fact, job titles with one to three words see apply rates of 7.6 percent and this number drops to only 2.9 percent when job titles have 16 words or more. And mentioning relocation or signing bonuses in the job title can cause your apply rates to be 1.5 percent lower. 

Also avoid using symbols in job titles (%, $, &, and !), as they can be distracting and lead to lower apply rates. Removing symbols from job titles drive a 63 percent higher apply rate than jobs with two or more symbols. Once job seekers see your simple job titles, you can embrace the rest of your job descriptions to get them excited about joining your team.

Length is just as important for job descriptions as it is for job titles. When it comes to search, job descriptions between 300 and 800 words in length see the highest results. Additionally, job descriptions between 300 and 400 words tend to see the highest apply rates.

Share What Makes Your Team Stand Out

Your job descriptions should include a strong company overview, list of responsibilities and requirements and an overview of company benefits. Job descriptions that include information about your team and culture can see 3x higher applicant conversion than if you don’t include this information. 

In the company overview section of your job descriptions and on your career site, highlight your location, company history, community involvement, training resources and career growth opportunities. Also provide an overview of your culture – such as what it’s like to work on your team and any core values you follow. And if your team has won any employment awards – like best places to work – make sure the awards are outlined in your job descriptions as well.

For responsibilities and requirements, break these sections out into bullet points, so job seekers can easily scan the bullets to determine whether or not they would be a fit for the role. Also include “you” statements throughout these sections, like “As a member of our team, you will…” so prospective applicants can picture themselves on your team.

Outline Your Benefits

Mentioning four or more of your benefits in your job descriptions, as well as on your career site, can yield better results when it comes to attracting quality candidates. Ultimately, benefits answer the “What’s in it for me?” question for job applicants when they’re looking for new opportunities. Benefits can include medical insurance, paid time off, employee discounts, retirement benefits, professional development and travel perks, to name a few.

If you find that your business doesn’t have enough compelling benefits to share in your job descriptions, you might want to rethink the benefits you’re offering employees in order to attract top talent in today’s competitive market.

Add an Equal Opportunity Statement

One part of job descriptions employers often make the mistake of overlooking is the Equal Opportunity Statement. Simply including this statement at the bottom of your job descriptions and on your career site can help you improve search results and stand out as an employer. Here’s an example of a statement you can use: “We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

Strong, SEO-friendly job descriptions can hook candidates and get them excited to apply to your open roles. But following SEO best practices in your job descriptions is just one piece of a compelling employment brand. Read our resource, “The Hireology Employment Brand Playbook,” to learn more about how to build and maintain a compelling employment brand that will keep top talent engaged.

About the Author

Beth is the content strategist on Hireology’s marketing team, responsible for creating compelling blog posts, eBooks, marketing materials and other content. Her background includes five years of experience at a B2B digital marketing agency, where she crafted content for a variety of clients, including several in the HR technology space. Before beginning her career, Beth attended Loyola University Chicago, where she studied advertising and public relations.

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