When I first met TempWorks founder and CEO Gregg Dourgarian it was to discuss Staffing Talk and his reasons for wanting to put some more resources into it.
“I don’t want to just be in the staffing software and payroll funding business,” he said, “I want to be in the publishing business. I want to create content.”
That was a prescient insight a year or so ago, but as functions such as sales, marketing, advertising, customer service and public relations all converge into a cacophony of text, photos, graphics, audio, video and code, it is even more important today.
Google recently changed the algorithms that interpret all of that stuff for the purposes of search rankings. Those changes, known as the “Panda updates,” rejiggered the rankings of websites as Nicole Bodem, director, search marketing at Bernard Hodes Group, pointed out at the recent Minnesota Recruiter’s Conference.
“User experience and engagement and how well people ‘like’ your content just got a whole lot more important,” said Bodem. “What Google can do now is take a bunch of sites that quality raters like and rank those high in the search results. And then they took those sites that don’t have unique content, were designed strictly for search engine optimization purposes, or that visitors don’t think are of good quality, and decrease their visibility in the search rankings.”
So why should you care about this? Because Bodem says 90% of buying decisions begin on the web, and that websites and other online content are underutilized in the recruiting and staffing worlds.
“The industry needs to provide content in multiple formats that resonates with what candidates think are important. Three million searches for ‘jobs’ and ‘careers’ are conducted on Google alone every single month. So employment brands need to be marketing themselves online.”
“Three million searches for ‘jobs’ and ‘careers’ are conducted on Google alone every single month. So employment brands need to be marketing themselves online.”
Bodem listed some specific ways the behavior of visitors to your websites impact ranking results.
- Time spent on your site
- Number of return visitors
- Number of page views
- Bounce rate – landing on your home page but not going further
“Are they bouncing or are they browsing? If you have a good browse rate, people are browsing 2, 3, 4 pages on average on a content site, that’s decent,” says Aaron Wheeler, who works on the help team at SEOmoz, and has an excellent video primer on Panda. “But if they are browsing like 1.001 pages, like virtually no one clicks on a second page, that might be weird. That might hurt you.”
Also, if you so far have resisted getting into the social media game, that can also hurt your website rankings under the new Google.
“Social media participation is extremely valuable!” says Bodem emphatically. “Google now factors social signals into how they rank sites. Content created by you and shared in your social circle will likely appear in search results. When someone with lots of Twitter followers retweets something of yours for example, it can increase the credibility of your content. Who you are in the social media universe matters.”
Besides having a good, user-friendly website with content that is regularly updated, Bodem recommends blogging and tweeting and having a Facebook page.
She also encourages recruiting and staffing companies to claim their local listings that target a specific geographic area on Google, Bing and Yahoo. She is a growing fan of Google+ business pages, which just opened up. And why not? They’re all free.
“Everything you do online impacts your SEO and your company’s search rankings,” said Bodem in closing. “Create content that is valuable and user-friendly. If it works well for your visitors, it will work well for Google.”