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Using search engine optimization and content marketing for recruitment

Understanding digital marketing when developing employer branding
Employer branding, recruitment

By Brian Kreissl

I am currently finishing off a course in search engine marketing as part of a short certificate in digital marketing. I also recently acted as a panellist for a Canadian HR Reporter webinar on employer branding and becoming an employer of choice.

As a former HR practitioner and recruiter and current product development manager, I’ve also done quite a bit of recruitment, blogging and content marketing in my time. Because of that, online recruitment branding and advertising is something that is top-of-mind for me at the moment.

I believe HR practitioners should learn something about search engine marketing and optimization and content marketing if they’re going to develop and implement an effective employer branding strategy.

Employer branding is about so much more than just establishing an organization’s online careers website and creating appropriate logos, fonts and taglines. Nevertheless, effective online communications are vitally important in helping to promote an organization’s employer brand and its overall employment value proposition.

It is therefore important to work closely with the organization’s marketing team and likely other stakeholders such as corporate communications in developing employer branding. Nevertheless, recruiters, talent management specialists and senior HR practitioners should understand certain aspects of digital marketing in order to help communicate the organization’s branding message.

Social media and content marketing

Having a meaningful social media presence is an important part of employer branding these days. However, it isn’t enough just to post a few jobs on LinkedIn and develop a careers page on Facebook. Employers need to establish two-way conversations with candidates on social media and be prepared to respond to questions about job vacancies and negative comments about the recruitment process or even the organization as a whole.

But recruitment content should move beyond short social media posts and comments to include actual content marketing promoting the organization as an employer of choice. This can consist of videos, blog posts, white papers, podcasts, newsletters and other digital content, and can be posted on the organization’s website or elsewhere such as its corporate recruitment page on Facebook or a company YouTube channel.

The key to effective content marketing is providing content that establishes thought leadership and is of genuine interest to the audience without being overly promotional or “salesy.” Nevertheless, you may want to consider including some type of subtle (or not so subtle) call to action in your content.

From a recruitment perspective, content marketing should be transparent and authentic and establish a realistic job preview while also promoting the organization as an employer of choice. Examples could include video interviews of employees talking about what it’s like to work there, blog posts about the recruitment process at the organization or even general advice for jobseekers on updating their resumés, searching and applying for jobs online and preparing for interviews.

Search engine optimization

One of the most important considerations in creating content marketing is ensuring your audience is actually able to find the content. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play.

Because most people tend to find content online through search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, it’s vitally important to ensure the content in question ranks highly on a search engine results page (SERP). SEO is the process of ensuring content is found easily by search engines and is ranked highly on the SERP.

A fundamental consideration in any SEO strategy is determining what keywords (words or phrases) users are likely to use when searching for your website. This should be validated through your own research and various keyword research tools which determine the popularity of different search terms.

It is important to ensure your website and any content marketing includes the identified keywords, but SEO is about much more than just that (and “keyword stuffing” is actually a no-no). One very useful tool to consult in evaluating your website for SEO is Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors.

There are various on-page and off-page factors that impact SEO, but some of the most important are new, unique and regularly updated content, reputation, proper headings and internal links, the presence of keywords, links to and from your site, geographic factors, social media shares and the performance of your site (including speed, “crawlability” by search engines and mobile optimization). It’s also important to track web traffic and performance of your website using analytics tools like Google Analytics and make tweaks where necessary.

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Brian Kreissl

Brian Kreissl is the product development manager for Thomson Reuters Legal Canada's human resources, OH&S, payroll and records retention products and solutions.
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