Most people start their academic job search by using a search engine. If your job doesn’t rank well in the results, you’ll be behind your competitors right from the start. The process of increasing your page’s ranking in the search results (and consequently the amount of quality traffic your job ad gets) is called SEO or search engine optimization. In this article, we will highlight some of the most common SEO mistakes that negatively affect your recruitment.
1. You don’t edit the meta description
A meta description is a short summary of your content that appears below the title in the search results list. Candidates decide whether to click or not based on the meta description so it’s crucial that the text is interesting and tempting to click on. If you don’t bother to customize your meta description, the search engine will just automatically take the first 155-160 characters of your job ad. Think about the opening sentence or two of the last few jobs you’ve published. Would they entice you to click the ad? Are you willing to take that risk and lose desirable candidates because you don’t edit the meta description?
2. You haven’t shared the content
Search engines use several parameters to evaluate your content from a relevance and reputational perspective. One aspect of reputation is popularity, meaning that the more people interact with your content, the higher it ranks. Now you understand why it’s a mistake to not share your content and increase the number of people who interact with it. Boost your SEO by sharing your content in paid or organic social media posts or on academic jobs boards.
3. Your title is too long
Just like with books, a well written title is key to attracting readers. Your job advertisement needs a title that is eye-catching but also contains the words that you think people will search for. This isn’t the time to innovate. When it comes to academic job adverts especially, many people make the mistake of using titles that are too long. Search engines have a limit of 70 characters. If your title is too long it will be truncated and, as a result, potential candidates will miss out on key information that might encourage them to click.
4. You’re using too many keywords
Keywords were a hot topic in SEO a few years ago. But then people started to oversaturate their content with keywords so search engines changed their parameters. Now using too many keywords does not help your SEO. On the contrary, your content can actually be punished for it. Use your keywords sparingly and strategically. Remember, you are not writing your ad for a search engine, you are writing it for a human reader.
5. Your HTML is not Google-friendly
Most people think SEO applies only to your content and your page layout. Unless you work in programming or web development, you wouldn’t know that a big part of SEO is structuring your HTML in a Google-friendly way. HTML is the standard markup language used to create web pages and it tells your browser how to display a website’s words and images. In order to have a Google-friendly HTML you need to be sure you have all the important tags in place, like title tags, meta description tags, robot tags, header tags, alt tags in images, responsive site meta tags and more.
Now that you know what SEO mistakes to avoid, download our SEO guide to go beyond the basics and learn more about how it really works. In the guide, you’ll find tips about how to structure your recruitment texts, use keywords, and work with links to improve your search result rankings. SEO best practices are constantly changing so make sure you’re subscribed to Recruiter Advice to stay up to date on the latest trends and guidelines.