Yes we all know Google and we all use Google, but nobody really “knows” how Google works. SEO experts are working full-time trying to understand Google and then, just when you think you've got it all figured out.. BAM!!! Google strikes again with an algorithm update, throwing all your theories into the garbage. The same thing happened to us just the other day with Google for Jobs.
How it all started
It all began with a presentation by Google, introducing Google for Jobs. The long awaited job search within Google was announced and is being rolled out in the United States. The speculations started immediately. How do you get indexed in the job search? Just regular SEO, Sitemaps etc? We knew straight away that Schema.org job markups were going to be used to index the jobs.
Test case in the US
We started implementing the Schema markup as a test case in the career platform for Rituals US and we were right. Yeah!! A few days later Google published a new documentation page on their developers platform stating exactly what was needed to get indexed by Google for Jobs. And guess what? Schema.org markup was there as the essential base for indexing your jobs. Along with the documentation Google came up with a fancy tool to test your rich markup (as they call it). Great, we got it in place at Rituals so let's run it through the test.
No errors, just 4 additions missing (information we don’t have, so can’t provide). But these aren’t mandatory either, based on Google's documentation. Going through the rest of the documentation by Google we checked all the boxes; we’re allowing frequent crawls, the sitemap is uploaded and regularly updated, the site is indexed by Google, urls are accessible by Googlebot etc. So we’re all fine. Now let’s check Google for Jobs!
Rituals is there, but not the career website we’re testing. Only Glassdoor job postings are shown in the results. Since Glassdoor is one of the announced launching partners not a real surprise. But then again we got everything right, but we are not there? Let’s just wait a few days. Days go by, weeks go by, 2 months later... Still no results for Rituals career platform. Different reasons are discussed, we can't figure it out. People are talking about it, creating their own conclusions as all SEO experts do. Is it the domain structure, is it the authority, is it just Google partners showing up at this moment? No one knows, except for Google. We thought we'd figured it all out, everything is in place for this website, and still it is not published on Google for Jobs.
And then the unexpected happens again!
As mentioned, we ran a test with Rituals following all the guidelines and steps in Google’s documentation. Much to our disappointment, no success. Now, all of a sudden, a few of our other clients, among them Agoda, Stork and Booking, with jobs in the States pop up in the Google for Jobs search results. With a direct link to the recruitment platform we’ve built. Not through a third party like Glassdoor or Linkedin. For the first time we had established a 1:1 connection with Google For Jobs and our customers.
But guess what, we didn’t implement any structured data on these websites. Yet they do show up in Google for Jobs... Wasn’t it, according to their documentation, you needed structured data via Schema.org to show your jobs in Google? But Google wouldn’t be Google if it all was that simple. Again they left us hanging, sweating and searching for the right mix to show up in Google for Jobs. Just like they've done in regular SEO for years now, you think you know it all, well you don’t!
What we know now
For now we know a few things about Google for Jobs:
- It’s up and running in the US and not only indexing launch partner sites anymore.
- Google provided documentation on how to improve visibility. But it’s definitely not the complete story, most likely there is a more complex algorithm behind the indexation. Just as there is for regular organic search results.
- Google for Jobs uses machine learning to show the most relevant jobs for your search query.
- Google is planning to expand to other countries later this year, but hasn't provided any details on when and where.
How to prepare for Google for Jobs
Although we found out following the complete documentation by Google doesn't necessarily mean you will get indexed by Google for Jobs, we still recommend to at least have everything stated in the documentation in place. But as we know now that’s not all Google takes into account.
Since Google’s mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” One of the core values for Google is to provide quality & usefulness for its users. We all know Google ranks websites by authority and quality of content. And they will do the same for Jobs. So apart from following the guidelines in Google’s documentation, a few of the following items will most likely have an impact on findability in the job search:
- Domain authority, as for regular SEO the value Google provides to your domain will probably impact the results.
- Site en url path structure, readable/understandable urls like careers.domain.com/jobs/title/ will rank better than domain.com/2017/221zZz?postid=112.
- No duplicate content, Google hates duplicate content and wants your content to be unique, write unique vacancy texts and don’t publish duplicates of your vacancies.
Not all bad news
The good news is we now have clients in the Google for Jobs search results. Which means we can start gathering data! We've already spoken about the impact that Google for Jobs might have on traffic via Google, but also traffic via Indeed and other ‘middle men’ that might be cut off by Google. Over the upcoming weeks we will keep a close eye on the data and see what happens, and of course we'll keep you posted about our findings!
Google for Jobs Q&A session
Do you want to know more about the impact of Google for Jobs on your recruitment strategy? Then visit our Google for Jobs Q&A session at September 14.