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The SEO Series: Choose your Keywords Wisely

by | Jul 21, 2010 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

When you get right down to it, at the root of all this Search Engine Optimization stuff are your keywords.  That is, what words and or phrases do you want to be found under?  This may seem easy on the surface, but you should analyze what’s going on in and around those keywords.

Some of you may be saying, “I don’t have any choice!  I work electrical engineers exclusively, so I’m locked into competing with thousands of others for web traffic.”  Well, while you’re partially right, you already know that you have to include those words in your pages (using our on-page tips article), but you don’t have to (and I probably wouldn’t recommend it) competing directly with all the firms vying for those words.  But you can look into implementing some alternatives.

But first, I would encourage you to look at the sites you are competing with.  To do this, just go to your favorite search engine and type in your keywords.  Chances are really good that because you are in the recruiting industry, the keywords you just used probably contain the words job, opportunity, or position.  That also means that the results that come up are some pretty big players… namely job boards.  That alone is enough to make you just want to throw in the towel and give up, but if you keep digging and start trying some other words and or phrases, you can probably find a means to get to the desired end.

Competing with the masses that target on “engineering jobs” is pretty tough.  So instead, try to think like your audience (either a candidate or a client) and think of how they would go about looking for a job.  Usually it’s going to be a bit (maybe even a lot) more specific.  For myself, if I were looking for work, I wouldn’t just do a general / vague keyword search like:

“tech support” or “help desk”

I would do something more specialized like:

“tech support” and canton and oh and “online software”

Sure, I’m a geek, so I know some of the Boolean tricks that maybe that John Q. Public may not, but we also have to remember that word Googling didn’t become a part of the English language because no one  uses it.  People know how to do this, and even if they don’t know actual Boolean logic, they know that if they type “plastic manufacturing jobs in Syracuse” it will get them results that is closer (skill set wise and geographically) to what they want.

To that end, you can utilize an assortment of more descriptive keyword selections throughout your site which are less competitively sought after by other players in your niche.   This is referred to as long-tail keywords.  The idea comes from the graph below and basically says that the bulk of your traffic will come from various long tail keyword variations.

Search engine giant Google has a free Keyword Tool that lets you analyze keywords and see what keywords and phrases (long and short tail) are most heavily searched by internet users and are therefore heavily sought after.  You can use this tool to try different combinations of words and phrases that will bring you the type of traffic you really want (candidates looking to make a move, clients ready to hire).

So to begin building your SEO strategy on a recruiter’s budget, don’t get discouraged by looking at the opponents you have to compete with for traffic to your site.  Instead develop a keyword and phrase list that will bring you laser precise traffic… let the the “big boys” pay lots of money for the general ones.

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