It doesn’t take a marketing professional to understand that SEO – search engine optimization – drives traffic to your website. Search engines such as Google are structured to capture text and sort it, creating search results and ranking them by the most commonly used and clicked on. Leveraging SEO can mean the difference between your job posting appearing at the top of search results lists or showing up on page 13.
For recruitment professionals in the healthcare industry and beyond, the rules of SEO can apply to get a better ranking and higher viewers for your vacancies. Whether you’re posting jobs here at HospitalRecruiting, on other niche boards, or just hoping to drive job seekers to your own recruitment page, search engines look for keywords; keywords create clicks, and clicks lead to candidates for your job.
Understanding the basics of SEO doesn’t take a marketing or IT genius. As web usage has grown, so have the nuts and bolts of optimizing a search for users and optimizing results for posters. The easiest way to leverage SEO is by giving it a trial run. When you’re posting a vacancy, start off with a basic internet search. What are the job titles of the most popular search results? You’ll want to start your posting with the same title, or one that’s very similar, to reach the most readers.
Another way to go about creating a good title is to combine your keywords in way that would best answer a common search engine query. For example, a job seeker might search for “find family practice job in Albuquerque New Mexico.” For this example, a job with a title of “Family Medicine Position in Albuquerque” would have a great chance of turning up in search results and getting clicks. On the other hand, a job with a title of “Enjoy 310 Days of Sun in Fantastic Albuquerque” could be confusing to search engines and would not have a great chance of turning up in search results.
Search engines look for relevant keywords when a user types in an inquiry, but they needn’t be absolute. A search for ‘physician jobs’ will cull hundreds of millions of results, but many of the results will be under a search ‘jobs for doctors.’ The engine looks for specific words, but it also looks for commonly used synonyms. These may be ranked lower or may be equally ranked, depending on the search engine. “Physician” and “doctor” are essentially interchangeable and will likely net the same results, just as will “RN” and “Nurse.”
The challenge is to assure your posting is at the top of the results by using the most common keywords for each vacancy. Use the highest ranking title you can find for a position similar to your opening for the title of the job, then add more detail, including alternate titles, in the body of the posting.
Don’t stop at the top
Starting with a strong keyword in the job title is only the beginning in optimizing search success. Adding additional keywords near the top of the posting will cull results even further. If you’re posting for RNs, make sure to include the department if you’re looking to hone in on a specialty. Add these keywords, like “Pediatrics,” “ER,” etc., in the title of your posting to refine results even further.
Adding additional keywords to the body of the posting helps drive results as well. Search engines don’t just look for the main title of the posting to create results. It looks for keywords throughout the body of the text to assure a good match. A pediatric nurse job title will only rank highly on search results if the same words appear several times throughout the body of the posting. You’ll want to restate these terms at least twice in the first one or two paragraphs to give the algorithm what it needs to rank the posting.
Be careful not to overdo it. The same algorithms that monitor for keywords to help improve search results will lower the ranking of the post if the keyword is too repetitive. Once or twice per paragraph is enough. If your job post keeps referring to the title, look for alternate ways to say the same thing for a work-around. For example, use the term “Emergency Room Nurse” once or twice, then “RN” or “RN/ER” for recurrences.
Use your good name
Remember the reputation your institution holds is another selling point and SEO opportunity for your postings. When your listing names your facility specifically, search results will pop up for postings you’ve listed on job boards as well as directly to your career pages. Using the SEO for your institution as well as your posting can increase traffic and applicants.
Many of the positions you’re looking to fill will be searching for local candidates. Including your facility’s name in the title of posting can help target applicants in your area either looking for a specific position or guide them to your website’s career pages to see what else may be available. For example, you may post a job for an ER nurse that results in a link to your career page; pediatric nurses may follow that link to see if there is anything available in their specialty as well.
Fortunately, SEO isn’t terribly complicated, unless you’re writing the algorithms it follows. For the majority of recruitment professionals in healthcare, a quick search of commonly used terms and titles can easily boost results for every position you post. Just remember to use the most generic terms at the top, include the name of your facility, and keep any institution-specific language lower in the post.